LEWISBURG, Pa. – During one-on-one drills against Bucknell's wide receivers, Colin Jonov kept asking assistant coach Eli Wicklund for more reps.

It didn't matter if the receiver was running a deep route or a slant route, Jonov wanted to take him on and shut him down. After missing the 2016 season due to injury, he's excited to be back on the field and wants to make every minute he's out there count.

"I took it one step at a time and attacked the rehab hard so I could get out here," Jonov said. "It's an amazing feeling to be back, that's for sure." 

One teammate who's especially glad to have Jonov back is Bryan Marine. Marine, who emerged as an All-Patriot League player in Jonov's absence, said he's excited to see what they can accomplish together.

"I've got my duo man back on the field," he said. "Me and him, we bounce off each other. We're both really good at man-to-man coverage, and I ask him a lot about press drills, off zone. He knows the defense in and out; he knows the safeties, the linebackers, the corners. He was here before me, and I like to pick his brain because there's always room to improve."

The Bison defense thrives when it shuts down the running game and forces opposing quarterbacks to pass. Susan said Jonov and Marine will be key in stopping the deep ball.

“With Bryan Marine and Colin Jonov coming back, we have two corners who can shut down the best receivers,” Susan said. “That will make it a challenge for anyone to move the ball through the air.”

As a sophomore, Marine became the first Bison cornerback to earn All-Patriot League honors since All-American Bryce Robertson in 2011. Earlier this summer, he joined Abdullah Anderson and Ben Richard on the Patriot League Preseason All-League Team.

In 20 career games, Marine has posted 107 tackles (82 solo), 24 passes defended, six interceptions and three forced fumbles.

“Bryan basically takes their boundary receiver and puts them out of the game,” Susan said. “He’s one of the better corners we’ve had here and one of the hardest workers.”

Jonov entered 2016 as a starter but was injured in preseason camp. Between 2014 and 2015, he started all 16 games he appeared in, recording 44 tackles (34 solo), 14 passes defended and four interceptions.

“It will be good to have Colin 100 percent healthy,” Susan said. “He really came along in the spring, and he’ll be of great help to us this year.”

Beyond Marine and Jonov, Trey Johnson is expected to be a difference maker. One of two seniors who has played in all 33 games since arriving in Lewisburg, he has been a regular on special teams. In 2016, he saw more time at cornerback, earning starts at No. 9 Charleston Southern and against Lafayette. Against the Buccaneers, he made a career-high six tackles (five solo).

NOTES: Bucknell has six cornerbacks on the roster: two seniors, two juniors, one sophomore and one freshman ... Wicklund, who worked with the running backs last season, will oversee the cornerbacks in 2017 ... Marine is one of only two juniors who has started at least 10 games, joining tight end/fullback Andrew Owers ... Jonov was especially vocal during practice, giving advice and encouragement to underclassman cornerbacks Eric Butler and Mike Caruso ... Johnson consistently flashed his speed during one-on-one drills against the wide receivers ... Marine said he liked what he saw from the relatively young Bison defense in the first days of camp: "These young guys, they may bust a couple coverages, but the effort is there. You can teach them where to go, but effort is uncoachable. And they're flying around out there."