MORGANTOWN - Jeff Casteel's job was already problematic in preparing West Virginia's defense for a Marshall offense that has had nine months to reinvent itself.
It became even more so Tuesday when MU coach Doc Holliday finally named his starting quarterback.
A year ago, the Mountaineers had a full book on now-graduated Brian Anderson. There's tape out there of his backup, A.J. Graham, too.
But true freshman Rakeem Cato is a complete mystery.
"We don't know anything about him,'' said Casteel, the Mountaineers' defensive coordinator. "Maybe Doc will drive him up here and let him work with us for a little while.''
Uh, no, not this week.
When No. 24 West Virginia opens its season Sunday against Marshall, Casteel and the Mountaineers can certainly expect some surprises from the MU offense. That was a given.
Now that Cato has been stirred into the mix, it presents even more of a mixed bag.
"I worry about him because I haven't seen him,'' Casteel said. "We don't know a whole lot about him.''
Well, the nuts and bolts are that Cato is a rather lithe 6-foot-1, 180-pound, 19-year-old from Miami who a year ago led Miami Central to the Florida 6A state title. He threw for nearly 3,000 yards as a senior and broke every Dade County career passing record while playing for Central and, the three previous years, Miami Springs.
He also has a big booster on West Virginia's roster - his counterpart at quarterback, Geno Smith.
"I'm proud of that guy,'' said Smith, who is from nearby Miramar and, while he never played against Cato, did compete with him in 7-on-7 camps and other workouts. "He's another Florida guy who grew up near my neighborhood. He texted me when he got the job. We talk pretty often.''
If there is one thing Cato does not seem to lack it is confidence. Still, while Casteel refuses to talk about what his defense might try to throw at the true freshman, the Mountaineers do have a pattern in that area.
"I've gone against freshman quarterbacks before and that's always one thing that the coaches try to emphasize - try to get them rattled, especially if they're coming to Morgantown,'' fifth-year senior defensive tackle Julian Miller said. "This is a hard place to play, especially for a freshman. I can only imagine how hard it would be playing your first college game. You definitely try to get pressure on guys like that.''
For his part, Casteel is justifiably more concerned with his own defense than with whom Marshall lines up behind center on Sunday. The Mountaineers are trying to replace seven starters from one of the country's top defenses and they probably can't afford to be throwing new wrinkles into a game plan at this stage.