Herd's Smith ready inside or out
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Playing Devon "Moo Moo" Smith outside at "X" receiver really wasn't an experiment cooked up in the latter stages of Marshall's preseason camp.
The 5-foot-7, 145-pound senior looked comfortable at the "new" position in the Thundering Herd's 52-14 mauling of Miami (Ohio), and he confirmed as much. After all, he has done it before.
"I played outside when I was at Penn State, so that's what kind of helped me," Smith said. "I think if I didn't play outside at Penn State I would have been kind of shaky out there, but it's something I already know and I got it clicking real fast."
After redshirting in 2012, Smith returned to action in spring drills, being used almost exclusively in slot positions - whether backing up Tommy Shuler or lining up in the other spot in four- and five-receiver formations.
That continued until later in camp, when coaches followed that "best 11 on the field" motto. The solution: Move Smith to "X" to share snaps with Davonte Allen.
With Miami cornerback Dayonne Nunley making catches tougher on that side, Smith had three receptions for 75 yards, including a highlight-film 54-yard bomb. Allen had a potential short touchdown throw miss him, and didn't catch up to a Cato bomb, one the quarterback thought he should have caught.
So does Smith get more snaps outside, or is something else in store? Offensive coordinator Bill Legg a few (dozen) ideas.
"Actually, I would have loved to have left him inside," Legg said. "But with where we're at experience-wise and with where we're at in depth, I didn't see how much we were going to be able to put four and five wides on the field at the same time, because I've only got about six [wide receivers] right now that I really think can go out there and help us win.
"I think there's some young kids that, hopefully, by the middle of the season will get their feet underneath them, be able to help us and maybe we can do a little more of [extra-receiver sets]. So we moved him outside so we could get him on the field at the same time with Tommy and the same time with Craig."
Then Legg smiled and confirmed the obvious: "He can run."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5140, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.