CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- SO I POSED the question to Bill Legg, Marshall's offensive coordinator and mad scientist: With your personnel becoming more versatile, will you attach a few more pages to your voluminous playbook?
Already done, he said Saturday after Marshall's scrimmage, in which two men named Devon made a lasting impression.
The smaller Devon - call him Duh-VON or just "Moo Moo" Smith - proved himself ready for the slot receiver spot, ready to add substantially to his 56 career catches for 795 yards he compiled in three seasons at Penn State.
He replaced the still-healing Tommy Shuler, and proved he could do that, or complement the 110-reception star in certain formations. Smith proved that at 5-foot-7, he should be able to stand up to tackling - I mean, who's going to make full contact with this slippery, rocket-fast dude?
"He had a broken foot and we ended up redshirting him [last year]," Legg said. "He still wasn't 100 percent healthy in the spring, he was out here limping around but he made some plays, showed some burst and I was like, 'Hmm. We might have something here.'
"And now you're seeing the culmination of what he's able to do when given a chance. And it's wonderful and gives us another bullet in our chambers."
The larger Devon - call him DEH-vin Johnson or simply "sir" - played fullback in the few plays the Herd used one last year, but is broadening his horizons as well as he's broadening his shoulders. At 6-1, 240 pounds, the sophomore is becoming a near-unstoppable combination of athleticism and brute force.
Now he's getting comfortable with Legg's system, lining up tight, split out, in the backfield and every place else.
"Our plan - and unfortunately it got derailed when he had shoulder surgery in the spring - was to cross-train him and Gator [top tight end Hoskins], so that Gator would learn the fullback stuff and Devon would learn all the stuff that Gator already knew. And if we could do that, than it would open up our offense and create even more facets with what we're doing with minimal change to our kids.
"We're very, very pleased with both of them, and Devon had a really good day."
Saturday, Johnson he showed how entertaining "yards after catch" can be. First, he dragged about five tacklers to stretch a reception to 45 yards; some time later, he stiff-armed a defender to the turf, helmet-first. Hard.
And that defender was D.J. Hunter, probably the Herd's best open-field tackler.
So how, I ask, can you keep Devon and Devon off the field this fall? Smith is the No. 2 slot, which (conventionally) would allow him to play in four-receiver and empty sets; Johnson was getting more reps because backup tight end Eric Frohnapfel was watching in a red jersey.
Marshall ran 1,087 scrimmage plays in 12 games, a nation-leading average of 90.1. Even if that average scales back to 84 plays, there will be 1,008 snaps over 12 games, 1,092 over 13 and 1,176 over 14, should MU play for the Conference USA championship.