"There are things that happen that are so small that can just kill a drive, just one play or one block," he said. "We're just focusing on those and trying to tweak those and make sure we don't make the same mistake twice."
From what Marshall has seen on film, Piland likes to throw in rhythm. One place where the Herd has improved late in the season is disrupting quarterbacks' rhythm. In its last three games, Marshall's defense has recorded seven sacks and five interceptions, including three sacks and three picks last week against UAB quarterback Austin Brown.
Those numbers represent half the Herd's season sack total and more than half of its season interception total.
Marshall Coach Doc Holliday said the team must keep that pressure up against Piland.
"He's really accurate with the quick-outs, bubble screens and those things that they do when he can stay in a rhythm," Holliday said. "People that have put pressure on him have created issues for them. It's going to be important that we try to get that done. We have to try to get him out of that rhythm and force him to hang on to the ball a little bit."
While following the most prolific passer in FBS history may be daunting for some, Piland welcomes the challenge, mainly because of the close relationship he has with Keenum. When Keenum tore his ACL against UCLA in 2010, Piland emerged and started eight games for Houston that year, averaging 330.1 passing yards per game.
Now, with Keenum on the Houston Texans' practice squad, the two talk at least once a week, and often about matters beyond football.
"He's been a good friend and an awesome role model," he said. "Everything that I've wanted to be in a quarterback ... he's broken all sorts of records and it's fun to think that he's the guy you're coming after because he's set the bar so high.
"If I need help with football, he's there for that, but it goes a lot deeper than that," Piland added. "He's a really great person and never lets me forget that's what defines you."
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall.