Smith is coming off a season where he obliterated WVU passing records and is considered a Big 12 Player of the Year candidate and is being bandied about as a Heisman candidate. He had the top three games of total offense in WVU history and has four of the top seven single-game passing performance in program history.
And that 70-point Orange Bowl performance is lingering for pundits and opponents.
"He can always improve," Spavital said. "The 70 points was nice, but people forget we didn't put up a lot of points in previous games. We were putting up numbers, but not points. The Orange Bowl gave him a taste of it and showed him what he's capable of doing in this offense."
Spavital doesn't study the opposing quarterback, but he didn't hesitate to speculate on Cato's improvement through spring and the offseason.
"He's going to take a huge jump," Spavital said. "The more experience you get, the better you are going to be. Last year when Geno was in his first year with us, he had the experience but the game was fast.
Now the game is slowing down for him. The more you go out there and play the better you are going to be.
"The Marshall quarterback, Cato, he's going to be a lot better than he was as a freshman." Consider this, too.
After Cato regained the starting quarterback role, his game came together. In the regularseason finale against East Carolina and the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl against Florida International, Cato completed 50-of-68 passes for 567 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
Smith's numbers in his final two games, which includes the 70-33 Orange Bowl rout of Clemson: 55-of-78, 644 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.
Cato completed 73.5 percent of his passes in those two games; Smith 70.5 percent.
Cato averaged 8.33 yards per attempt; Smith 8.26.
And the best, for both, seems yet to come.