"I know some guys who missed previous games; it gave them the extra week to heal up too. It was definitely critical because it gave us a chance to mentally take a deep breath and get ready for the second half of our season."
As injuries have plagued the maroon and gold throughout the season, last week was a chance for the entire unit to rest both mentally and physically before they enter the second half their 2011 campaign.
Marshall suffered an ankle sprain during fall camp, an injury that has not yet fully healed. Although the junior has been able to successfully take the field on game day accumulating 545 rushing yards so far this season including nine touchdowns in just the first seven games.
"It's getting a lot better," Marshall said. "That bye week definitely helped. Being off of it was really good but from here on out I'm just looking forward to feeling better and better as the season goes on."
Many hoped that during the bye week Marshall would be able to mend his injuries and come back 100% against Colorado but the running back will be the first to admit that's an unlikely feat.
"I don't ever expect to be 100%," Marshall admitted. "If I'm ever 100% that's truly the biggest blessing that you can get. I would have liked to be healthier, it would have been great but on the other hand this is just what I was dealt this year. I was banged up early and just had to find a way to get through it.
"I like to keep my spirits high, I don't like to dwell on things I can't control. I can do my rehab and do everything it takes to get better but other than that it's outside of my hands."
The maroon and gold offensive line is another unit that has suffered from injuries, including center Garth Gerhart who was briefly sidelined by an ankle injury. Due to the loss of several key members of the group, the Sun Devils looked to their less experienced teammates to fill in, ultimately affecting the success of the Sun Devils run game.
"I think it has effected the run game a little bit just because some guys are playing different positions," Marshall said. "They're trying to get used to the other position and filling in for other guys. I think it's affected it a little bit but I don't think it's anything we can't bounce back from."
For Marshall it is essential to maintain an effective run game and so far this season, even with the persistent injury, the 5'11 powerhouse is by far the most productive of his unit.
"I always feel like I have to pick up the slack," Marshall admitted. "I just can't ever let myself be content with what's going on so if I have 200 yards rushing, I'm going to sit back in my head and wonder what I could have done to get 200 yards rushing so I think I've done a good job so far and I think the other backs have done a good job but I just think there's more out there and I definitely want to get some of it."
The Sun Devil offense has been faced with opponents that have attempted to capitalize on the maroon and gold's inexperienced quarterback by blitzing. One key responsibility of the running backs is to be able to pick up the blitz, something that Marshall believes he has been successful at.
"There have been games I've struggled in but I think overall I've done a good job," Marshall said.
On Saturday the maroon and gold will host the 1-7 Colorado Buffaloes at Sun Devil Stadium and despite being a heavy favorite to win, the Sun Devils will be cautious not to overlook their opponent.
"The challenge always lies in if you take an opponent lightly and we're not doing that here with Colorado," Marshall stated. "We know that they have a good football team. They have some injuries and some young guys but that doesn't make us respect them any less. They're still a good football team despite their record and we're going to come ready for them."
The Sun Devils approach to their 2011 season has been to take it one opponent at a time and now with a 5-2 record and the majority of their tough opponents out of the way, the Sun Devils will continue their path to a Pac-12 South championship… starting with Colorado.
"Coach E wants us to be focused for the five game stretch," Marshall commented. "He says every week in our team meetings, ‘one game at a time, don't take any teams for granted' because that's how teams get caught up, play bad and lose games they shouldn't loose.
"So he says just take it one game at a time and we'll worry about whomever else when they come up."