"It's part of who we have to be, especially if you're going up against what our defense is doing, which is a lot of man coverage. The quarterback's got to become a piece that'll hopefully diminish the volume of man coverage we see."
For a guy who never considered running a major part of his repertoire, Cato's pretty good at it. He's had a few longer runs this spring, working his way through the defense with a menu of jab steps and shoulder feints to force defenders off balance. His first two scrambles of Saturday's scrimmage went for nine and 10 yards, respectively.
"It's always been a part of my game," he said. "It's just a feel out there. I've got good feet and I know how to work my feet."
Granted, he's not playing in true game conditions. Cato is clad in a red non-contact jersey and anyone who took a legit shot the guy who threw for 4,201 yards and 37 touchdowns last season could guarantee he'd be sent to playing-time Siberia.
So we'll have to wait and see if Cato will continue to be as effective of a runner when opponents come barreling toward him out for blood.
If he does run this fall, he already has a pretty sweet first down celebration down pat. It's not the strong chop his longtime teammate Tommy Shuler uses when he moves the chains. It's smoother, more subtle, his arms gliding from one side to the other as he points forward. It's a move he first saw Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton use.
"I like Cam as a quarterback," he said.
If Cato's trying to become a better running signal-caller, there are worse players to emulate than the guy who, as a rookie, set the NFL record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season. Of course, it helps Newton that he's 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds. Cato stands 6 feet tall and weighs 184 pounds. It's a stronger 184 - and Cato credits new strength and conditioning coach Scott Sinclair for his increased speed and power - but it's still 184.
Don't expect Cato to morph into Newton's second coming or Marshall's offense to mirror Georgia Tech's. The Herd averaged nearly 41 points per game last season by focusing on Cato's arm. There's nothing broken to fix.
Yet that doesn't mean Marshall can't tinker. And maybe if Cato ever claims again he's not a running quarterback, defenses will have to pause and wonder whether he's telling the whole truth.
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.