CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When Marshall's offense prepared for Gardner-Webb last month, it didn't have much relevant video to see. OK, so it didn't matter on that week, but it might have against a tougher opponent.
Fortunately for offensive coordinator Bill Legg, Texas-San Antonio has played a few similar offenses to what the Thundering Herd runs, most recently the game last weekend against Houston.
The Roadrunners' defense isn't as notable as their offense, but Legg must figure out how to exploit that unit just like any other opponent. This time, he has more to look at.
"More is better," Legg said. "Especially on a team that you really haven't played before and know very, very little about. More is better.
"We've seen, really, three teams that run some version of a '10' personnel [one back, no tight ends] and an '11' personnel [one back, one tight end] concepts in their offense. Seeing Houston gave us more insight into the variables they can use vs. those types of thing. One of them was Oklahoma State, and one was Arizona.
"Arizona is significantly different in concepts, the plays that they run, to what Oklahoma State and Houston run, [which] are almost identical in a lot of ways."
Translated: The Roadrunners' defense has played a few offenses that are similarly high-tempo, high-powered as that of Marshall. They went 0-3 against the above teams, and will try not to sink further on Saturday at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
UTSA (2-3, 0-1) and Marshall (2-2, 0-0) kick it off at 2 p.m. in MU's homecoming game and Conference USA opener. If the Herd offense hasn't become rusty from the week off, it may wear out the Roadrunners' defense.
That defensive unit gave up 21 points in the fourth quarter of the 59-28 loss to Houston, but those came on drives of 59, 54 and 15 yards. The 38-13 loss to Arizona was more lopsided, as Rich Rodriguez's spread offense ran for 264 yards. The week before, Oklahoma State piled up 605 total yards.
But against lesser teams, the Roadrunners have looked stronger. They blanked New Mexico for the final 41 minutes, 42 seconds in a 21-13 win and limited Texas-El Paso to 218 total yards in a 32-13 win.
So what will give Rakeem Cato and company trouble?
"They make you beat them," Legg said. "They're not an overly complicated group, very similar to what we've talked about in the previous couple of opponents [Ohio, Virginia Tech]. They're not going to try to trick you a bunch; they're going to try to make sure where they're supposed to be and when they're supposed to be there and what their keys and cues are.
"They keep the ball in front of them and tackle well, and two big ol' defensive tackles [315-pound Ashad Mabry, 290-pound Richard Burge] that anchor down in there and force the ball to the ends and linebackers, and make plays when given the opportunity. Just a sound team, tough team, physical team."
Free safety Triston Wade, the team's only first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection last year, leads with 47 tackles. The next three are rover Brian King (32), middle linebacker Drew Douglass (31) and "Hawk" linebacker Steven Kurfehs (30). Sacks have been tough to come by, as the Roadrunners have just six.
But the most debilitating statistic is takeaways - they have forced just one in five games. That's last among the five reclassifying FBS teams, and worse than the 123 full members. To add insult, that one recovered fumble came at Arizona, after the Wildcats took that 38-13 lead.
"We won eight games last year because we had  takeaways," Coker said. "That's one thing we've got to get corrected.