"This year, we're going to be able to drive the ball off different positions and create," Herrion said. "Put the ball in forwards' hands. We couldn't do that the first three years. We had good players with really good strengths in their games, but that wasn't a strength in their games."
In seasons past, the Herd had players like forward Dennis Tinnon, at his best crashing the boards and scoring second-chance points. There was D.D. Scarver, a jump shooter who patrolled the 3-point line for his chances to dent the scoring column. Now the Herd has Canty and forward Ryan Taylor, who sat last season as academic non-qualifiers but are good to go now, a maturing Manning and junior college transfer Chris Thomas.
"The fact that we could put, at one time, maybe four or five people who can do that is really important for offensive flow," Manning said. "I think it's going to be a big difference from last year."
Manning feels he can offer more in that department this year. As a freshman pressed into early duty, he deferred to the older players. He did what he could while the veterans stuck to their styles. Manning's just a sophomore now, but among returning players, only last year's leading scorer, Elijah Pittman, played more minutes.
It terms of Marshall's roster, he's a veteran, so he's more comfortable putting his stamp on the offense.
Something needed to change after last season's veteran-laden team stumbled to a surprising 13-19 finish. And in building a better offense, the Herd has taken more of a do-it-yourself approach.
"Now it's just more freedom in the offense," Manning said. "It makes Coach (Herrion's) job easier. He doesn't have to rush to make sure a certain person gets the ball. If I have it, Elijah has it, Kareem has it or Ryan has it, you can just say, OK, there's five seconds. It's time to score, so hurry up."
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.