CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- THE DECLARATION was unwavering, in true Bill Legg style, yet carried a tinge of cautious optimism with a healthy dose of disdain.
He's not ready to accept the "29-second rule" yet.
"There is no 29-second rule," Marshall's fifth-year offensive coordinator said last week. "There's no 29-second rule, so there's no reason to even worry about it until it becomes a rule."
OK, so it hasn't happened just yet. The most hotly debated rule change of the college football offseason won't be made official - or ditched - until March 6.
That's when the NCAA Rules Oversight Panel, consisting of four commissioners, four athletic directors and three senior woman administrators, decide whether offenses must wait 10 seconds to snap the ball. The rule was approved Feb. 12 by the Football Rules Committee.
By now, you should know the pros and cons. Many coaches - Legg included - consider this an unnecessary hindrance of the offense. Some coaches and administrators are concerned about defensive players' safety. Nick Saban doesn't want to defend against a "NASCAR" tempo for 60 minutes.
(Shoot, if the "Nicktator" wins this one, perhaps he'll try to legislate the field goal return out of the game.)
Legg isn't worried about the rule change yet. And you know what? He won't worry much about it if it does become the law of the land.
Don't let him fool you - he's thinking about it, just like he thinks of new wrinkles he can add with a fourth-year quarterback such as Rakeem Cato. Should the rules change, those two will adapt quite nicely.
The timing couldn't be better for the Thundering Herd. From the spring of 2012, Legg has molded Cato and this system into an exhausting, devastating force that has rung up 1,081 points and 13,416 total yards over the past two seasons.
The 2012 Herd attack shocked nearly every defense. At 90 plays per game, this team suddenly turned into Oregon minus the ghastly uniforms.
The 2013 Herd didn't use as many snaps. Let's put it this way: MU took six more snaps total in a 14-game season than it did in the 12-game season of 2012.
In some games, Legg and Cato simply didn't need many plays. For instance, the Herd held the ball for 65 plays and barely 21 minutes in blasting Florida International all the way to Cuba. Better defense helped, as the need to outscore the other offense lessened.
It is correctly noted that fewer MU snaps came with 30-plus seconds still on the game clock. But that didn't mean opposing defenses could magically slip in a sixth defensive back or extra pass rusher - the mere threat of a quick snap kept the same 11 defenders on the field.
Now, if the rule change sticks, defenses can change personnel on every play with impunity. The tempo can remain high, but now it's the offense's turn to adapt.
Marshall is in perfect position to do this. Cato, receiver Tommy Shuler, tight end Eric Frohnapfel, et al, have the 15 spring practices and the month of August to get things down pat. You can throw in the opener at Miami (Ohio) and the next game against Rhode Island.
The principles will remain: Stress the defense all around, exploit weaknesses.