Chuck Landon: Legg likes what he sees from MU offense
So far, so good.
That is Bill Legg's viewpoint on Marshall's recently concluded spring football practice.
The Herd's veteran offensive coordinator felt good about several aspects of his offense's performance during spring drills.
But is Legg ready to anoint Marshall's offense as a high-powered, high-scoring, high-octane unit that's ready to run roughshod over opposing defenses?
It's like refinishing furniture. It takes a lot of sanding before the final coat of stain or polyurethane is applied.
Right now, Legg is still sanding.
"I feel really good about our starting offensive line," he said. "I feel really good about Cato (senior star quarterback Rakeem Cato) continuing to get better and continuing to progress and continuing to expand his knowledge and understanding and awareness of what is going on around him.
"I feel that Tommy Shuler (senior star slot receiver) has gotten better.
"I feel like we've got a couple of tight ends who between the two of them, we have a chance to replace the productivity of the guy we lost (Gator Hoskins). I feel really good about our running back situation right now. And I think we have taken huge strides at the outside receiver.
"Now, are we there yet? No. But I feel good that we are headed in the right direction."
That's about the best anyone could hope for from 15 spring practices. Several concerns were addressed, progress was made and established stars didn't rest on their laurels.
"The concerns," said Legg, "obviously were replacing a couple guys on the front, Hoskins and Taliaferro (running back Essray Taliaferro) and getting more consistent productivity outside (at wide receiver).
"But, yet, the guys that are back, like Chris Jasperse who has started for three years; Tommy Shuler, who has started for three years; Rakeem Cato, who has started for three years. ... not let them just rely on what they've done."
Legg feels good about those issues.
"All those things," he said, "I think we've been able to accomplish during the course of spring. Now, we've got to use this as a launching pad to continue to improve physically during the summer.
"And use it as a launching pad going into fall camp to continue to improve."
Are there tweaks that still need to be made?
The running backs have to improve on pass blocking. The backup quarterbacks must get a whole lot better. Wide receiver Angelo Jean-Louis has to build on the eye-popping progress he made during his first spring. And outside receiver Rodney Allen, who sat out this school year as an academic non-qualifier, has to be a quick study this summer.
But the biggest issue is depth -- at quarterback and in the offensive line.
"We've got to continue to work on depth -- without question," said Legg. "In the offensive line, we've got some really young, talented guys that right now have shown us a lot more than what -- to be quite honest -- we anticipated them showing us."
The list includes tackles A.J. Addison, Sandley Jean-Felix and Chris Huhn; center Cody Collins; and guard Tom Collins.
"They've got us very excited about the possibility of their ability to come in and provide depth," said Legg.
Now, after this good start during spring practice, Marshall's offense needs to take the next step.
So far, so good.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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