HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato heard the number leave offensive coordinator Bill Legg's lips, but he didn't want to believe it.
Did the Thundering Herd offense really have 19 missed assignments against Central Florida?
"It was shocking, just shocking," Cato said.
Cato said the offense averages in the single digits with missed assignments, but the unit more than doubled that mark against the Knights. Not coincidentally, Marshall struggled to its worst offensive performance of the season in that game.
The Herd averages 542.9 yards and 39.9 points per game. Against UCF, Marshall gained just 364 yards and fell 54-17.
Legg said the offense might have been too pumped up for the UCF game. Of course, he said, the unit needs to focus on its opponent. But defenses thrive on emotion and they crave the fire-and-brimstone energy that whips them into frenzy. Offenses need a controlled intensity.
Legg compared it to both driving on the NASCAR circuit and performing surgery.
"You've got to find that middle ground," he said, "where your focus and intensity is high enough that you're locked into the exact thing that you need to do and you have good enough energy that you're doing it in the manner you need to do it.
"But emotion can't take over you," Legg added. "That's why they don't let doctors do surgery on family members."
As Marshall (3-5, 2-2 Conference USA) prepares for Saturday's 2 p.m. clash with Memphis (1-7, 1-3) at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, Cato agrees with Legg that the offense needs to stay cognizant of its mission, but relax a little in doing it.
"We know we need to focus more and just have fun out there and not think about things, just play ball," Cato said.
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