Allen's return helps Holliday in his mission to create a deep receiving corps. He hopes to have 10 to 12 receivers capable of playing effectively.
"I'd love to have that many that can play," Holliday said. "I think we have the potential to get there with some of these younger kids."
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STEFAN HOUSTON didn't play a ton of linebacker at Fork Union Military Academy. He mostly stuck with the free safety spot. But when the freshman arrived in the spring, he got a crash course at linebacker in new coordinator Chuck Heater's scheme.
"It was hard," Houston said of the transition. "Usually, I'm back there eyeing the ball, just seeing where the ball goes and covering it. Now I have to get a feel for down in the box and just learn how to play faster and physical."
That doesn't mean the 6-foot-3, 220-pound newcomer has tossed his safety skills aside. He said they still come in handy.
"I use most of my safety instincts - keying the ball, keying the receivers that are outside of me and positioning myself to make a good play," he said.
And they especially come in handy in Heater's nickel package, a look Marshall's defense has used a lot this preseason. The fifth defensive back replaces the third linebacker, so Houston finds himself in familiar surroundings.
"It gives the two linebackers more support from the outside and it gives the linebackers more room inside the box," he said, "so we can move around a lot, see the ball a lot and attack where it goes."
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.