CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's never easy remaking a classic. But, by golly, Marshall offensive coordinator Bill Legg and his new corps of assistant coaches are going to try.
The Thundering Herd's 2012 offense often approached the sublime. No Football Bowl Subdivision team in America threw for more yards. Only five gained more yards per game and only six averaged more points. Be it by Rakeem Cato's arm, Tommy Shuler's hands or Kevin Grooms' legs, few opponents could corral it. Only Central Florida held it below 24 points, and it often left foes and fans alike shaking their heads at its almost unstoppable ability to march down the field.
Yet while much of that cast - Legg, Cato, Shuler and Grooms, among others - returns from that group, the Herd replaced all but one offensive assistant. And now Legg, alone as coordinator after sharing the role with Tony Petersen, leads a new crew of coaches. On paper, it looks as formidable as the old cast.
There's the familiar companion, new offensive line coach Alex Mirabal. There's the former defensive assistant cast in a new role, new tight ends coach Todd Hartley. There's the former SEC star, new running backs coach Thomas Brown. And there's the former NFC receptions leader, new receivers coach Mike Furrey.
It isn't easy replacing a good non-automatic qualifier coaching staff with pieces of the same caliber. The specter of an AQ school poaching its football offices looms constantly. But this group has the resume to pick up where the previous regime left off.
Looking like you can do it and actually doing it are different, though. Just look at Hollywood.
Will Marshall's 2013 offense shape up like the Cohen brothers' remake of "True Grit?" The Cohens didn't have long-gone John Wayne to cast, but Jeff Bridges was fantastic as Rooster Cogburn and the supporting cast plus the gorgeous cinematography made it one of the best films in recent years.
The Herd could have that in them. Legg and his new lieutenants employ a formidable gunslinger in Cato. He returns his top red zone target in tight end Gator Hoskins, his top target everywhere else in Shuler, a legion of blazing fast young running backs and the majority of his offensive line.
The coaches already have mentioned that "complacency" will be a dirty word this spring, so Marshall will work toward getting even better - and the idea of "better" with this offense should terrify opposing defenses.
Remakes don't always outdo the original, though. Remember Gus Van Sant's shot-for-shot remake of "Psycho?" It's OK if you don't. Most folks who did see it have purged it from their memories.