CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- You know the descriptions of Marshall's offense by now: up-tempo, hyper-tempo, uber-tempo, nearly impossible to substitute against, etc.
And these: nearly 400 passing yards per game, an offense largely placed in the quarterback's hands with many run-pass options.
Here is one description you might not consider: unsophisticated. Almost simple.
"They execute a real fast tempo, not a lot of complicated runs and blocking schemes," said Southern Mississippi coach Ellis Johnson. "They'll change up their route packages and formations, but it's really [just] a fast-tempo, quick-hitting passing game and running game."
Shoot, Johnson almost sounded relieved he would face this scheme for the upcoming game, and in several to come. In Huntington, Herd offensive coordinator Bill Legg fully understands.
Legg knows Johnson and his defensive coordinator, Tommy West, have just about seen it all in the Golden Eagles' first six games. Here's the rub: Legg wants to see how the Eagles have handled an offense similar to the Herd's, but hasn't gotten a clear picture.
"The closest thing [to MU's offense] is East Carolina, but that was so early in the season," Legg said. "Boise [State] does some stuff, they're shifting and motioning and they're in and out of every frickin' personnel grouping and every formation, and they never snap the ball from the formation they start in. So you play that differently.
"Louisville, I thought, was going to be the one that was a little bit later then East Carolina, which would have been a lot closer to us. Unfortunately, it was [played in] a torrential downpour, standing water on the field. You could throw it, but there was no way anybody was going to catch it; everybody buckled down and grinded it out, and that's the way the game went."
Certainly, Southern Miss didn't see an up-tempo passing attack last week at Central Florida. So, in preparation for this week, Herd coaches had to punt.
OK, bad choice of verbs for an offensive staff. Rather, they had to adapt.
"So we're a little bit blind," Legg said. "But, they've done a little bit of everything through their first five, six games, so we're practicing against a little bit of everything."