He made a mark. But this is Cato's opportunity to make a lasting mark.
"He's matured," Holliday said of his QB. "He's got a season under his belt. Physically, he's a lot stronger. Mentally, he's more confident. And he has a better understanding of the offense. He's a more mature quarterback and, therefore, a better quarterback at this point."
Cato, 6-foot, has bulked up to 182 pounds.
"I gained a couple of pounds over the summer," said the MU quarterback. "I'm just trying to get this thing going. I wanted to work on my body size and getting in better shape. I want to be able to take hits and run the ball a little more."
If you're trying to compare Cato to Smith, it's tough. The latter played sparingly as a freshman, hitting 32 of 49 passes (65.3 percent) for 309 yards. (There was that performance against Marshall, though.) Then as a sophomore and, especially, last season, Smith exploded onto the college football scene. As a junior, Smith passed for 4,385 yards, connected on 65.8 percent of his passes and put himself squarely in this season's Heisman Trophy race. He threw for 31 touchdowns and just seven interceptions last season.
Cato, however, is talented, and he's clearly Marshall's No. 1 QB. In the ongoing camp, there was absolutely no quarterback controversy. Zero. For once.
"I take it as a positive, but I still go out and work hard every day," Cato said. "I don't take it easy. I still compete with [Blake] Frohnapfel and Gunnar [Holcombe]. They push me hard and I make sure to push them hard."
He said to expect one twist to this Marshall team.
"Speed," said the QB. "We've got a lot of speed. Everyone can run, from the quarterback and running back to the offensive line and wideouts to the secondary and linebackers. We have a lot of speed. I feel we can play with anybody in the country. Personnel isn't an issue with us."
We'll see on Saturday. We'll see if No. 11 WVU can get off to a fast start. We'll see if Cato can keep the game close or spur an upset.
What we know for certain, though, is it's game week. And many throughout the state feel the same way as Marshall's QB.
"We," Cato said, "are very excited."
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.