Sophomore receiver Tommy Shuler has been a teammate of Cato's from the youth leagues in Miami, Fla., to Miami Central High School to Marshall. He was on the field with Cato for that first third down versus WVU and said it was impossible to hear the snap count. While some rookie starters' heads may droop when times get tough, Shuler said Cato kept his up.
"He stood in there the whole game," Shuler said. "He made bad plays and he made good plays, but overall, he didn't let it get to him."
Now Cato will walk into Morgantown with no surprises in terms of the atmosphere. The WVU crowd gave him a crash course in hostile environments, and he finished his inaugural year with nine starts in 13 games, throwing for 2,059 yards and 15 touchdowns and leading the team to a win over Florida International in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.
Cato said he learned some valuable lessons from that WVU game.
"Just go out there and have fun," he said. "Let nothing get to you, the fan base, the crowd. Just go play football, stick to the system and do the best you can do."
That's what he'll try to do this year. WVU's defense has switched to a 3-4 scheme from the 3-3-5, so there will be a hint of the unexpected. It just won't come from the stands. In fact, Cato said he can't wait to run into the stadium again.
"I'm looking forward to the crowd," he said.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall.