By many accounts, Mirabal's offensive line has blossomed, even surviving the loss of two regulars.
"I'm happy for Mario that he's at Alabama, but what I'm really happy [about] is that little guy over there [points to the diminutive Mirabal] is here with me," Legg said.
And for any number of reasons, the FIU line is not doing so well. The basic numbers are grisly - 2.1 yards per rush, 37 sacks yielded.
That doesn't help any other offensive number, especially the scoreboard, where the Panthers have been blanked three times and barely average 10 points per game.
Heavy losses from last year have taken a toll, on the O-line and everywhere else. The Panthers lost 21 starters from a year ago (10 offense, eight defense, three specialists). Two true freshmen, left guard Jordan Budwig and tight end Jonnu Smith, have started all 10 games.
Smith and his fellow tight ends stand out to Marshall coaches, and they are a bright spot in an otherwise poor passing attack. Smith leads the team with 31 catches for 298 yards and two touchdowns.
"They play multiple tight ends in ways people don't typically use them," said MU defensive coordinator Chuck Heater. "Those guys are functioning well. They struggle to have consistent wide receiver play and consistent quarterback play, so those are things they're trying to get a handle on."
Defensively, FIU is more respectable, even after yielding 327 rushing yards last week at Texas-El Paso. The Panthers are 12th in C-USA in passer rating defense but a few spots higher in other categories.
The two defensive tackles, 6-foot-2, 280-pound Greg Hickman and 6-5, 300-pound Isame Faciane, have a combined 20 tackles for loss and 4.5 of the team's 12 sacks. Middle linebacker Markeith Russell easily leads the team with 82 tackles, 55 unassisted.
The problem? With little depth, they play too many snaps. Hickman has been playing on a bad ankle since the third game, and he has had to move outside and back inside.
Legg also singled out cornerbacks Sam Miller and Randy Harvey as standouts. Miller is tied for the team lead with two interceptions, though he has yielded the job to true freshman Wilkenson Myrtil.
Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.