"You get used to certain things and there are only so many things you can do schematically to certain sets and formations. Basically, you have to retrain your brain to think a totally different way. One coach may call black white. Another coach may call black white."
Marshall said Smith has to forget some of the things he used to rely on and make sure he doesn't revert to his old habits. He might have been taught one thing by Mullen - a read or a check-down, for example - that was automatic in that offense.
The same tactic could be different or dangerous in Holgorsen's scheme.
After Smith learns the offense and what he's supposed to do, Marshall said the next task is to figure out how the defense will align and attack. If the Mountaineers pass more and run less frequently, the defenses will look and act different. There may be, for example, more defensive backs on the field than Smith was used to last year. There may be fewer situations when the safeties approach the line of scrimmage to stop the run.
Smith has to be aware of that as he becomes familiar with Holgorsen's approach, Marshall said.
"Say the cornerbacks are playing Cover 2, you have to know that cornerback's job is to funnel everything inside," Marshall said. "You may think the corner is supposed to take an outside release, but nine times out of 10, that's not going to happen because that cornerback's only job is to make sure he goes inside. The cardinal sin is to let a guy get outside in Cover 2, so you don't want to get caught waiting on that. Understanding what the defense is going to do is as important as anything else."
Marshall has gotten to know Smith pretty well. They've talked about football and gone back and forth with ideas and Marshall watched approvingly as Smith grew as a quarterback the past two seasons. Marshall likes what he sees from Smith as he prepares for the season, which begins with the first practice Friday. Marshall said he's never seen Smith get too rowdy or slump too low.
"He doesn't lose his cool under presure and he doesn't get rattled under pressure," Marshall said. "Every quarterback is going to be rushed here or there and make a crazy decision, but that's not one of his flaws. It doesn't say in the defense's scouting report, 'Hey, we can rattle this guy because he'll make the big mistakes.'"
Marshall was good at that, too. He sat out as a redshirt in 2000 studying Nehlen's pro style offense and then tried to grasp Rodriguez's no-huddle spread the next season. Marshall played just five games though and had to miss eight weeks with a broken bone in his right wrist. The Mountaineers were 3-8, but a year later, with Marshall settled in, finished 9-4 with the biggest turnaround in the country.
"The quarterback has to say, 'I'm the person in a leadership position so I have to show it through body language regardless of the situation. I have to always be on top of things. I can't show too much emotion or negativity,'" Marshall said. "If something isn't going right, you have to be the guy, regardless of the situation, who is composed so people can look at you and realize you're the guy who has everything in control."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.