Prescott Procedure Limits His Spring Work

Mississippi State got through the 2012 season with just a pair of scholarship quarterbacks. They aren't as fortunate for the 2013 spring session, as number-two triggerman Dak Prescott will be sidelined from contact work after big-toe operation.

Prescott, third-year sophomore next season, had a procedure on the troublesome toe this week. No long-term issues are expected and he should be cleared for standard summer-session workouts and informal drills with teammates. He also could participate in some very limited drills when camp begins in late March, as MSU has done with hurting quarterbacks in the past.

But his spring practice efficiency would have been compromised even without the procedure, so taking care of the condition now allows Prescott to stay on-track for the 2013 season.

For the regular season Prescott rushed for four touchdowns in 30 carries, with 98 net yards; and was 18-of-28 passing for four more touchdowns and 194 yards. Put in perspective, whether playing specific short-yard and goal-line packages or in relief duty, Prescott produced points eight times in 58 of his plays. He rushed twice for 20 yards and was 0-of-1 passing in limited Gator Bowl snaps.

The recovery schedule means Mississippi State goes into its spring practice with one scholarship quarterback. Of course that one is a most exceptional piece to build the next offense around, after senior Tyler Russell's special junior season. In 2012, his first full schedule as starter, Russell threw a record 24 touchdowns, or one score for every 16 passing attempts.

His 2,897 yards and 231 completions last season were also single-year Bulldog records. He goes into the senior season with 4,566 career yards which ranks sixth all-time at MSU; and his 37 touchdowns are second-best, and just one behind the 38 by Derrick Taite. Still the letdown of his career-worst day at the Gator Bowl keeps Russell's edge going into his senior spring; even without competition now.

But Coach Dan Mullen is completely confident in Russell's maturity about this situation. As he said in January, "You're not going to find a coach, you're not going to find a fan, you're not going to find anybody more disappointed in the outcome of that game than Tyler Russell. I know he is disappointed, but I also know Tyler is the leader of our program. Everybody knows he's a great player and they know he has the complete confidence of everybody on the team."

During last season State had three walk-on quarterbacks who split dress-out duties but never played, with Jamil Golden the listed #3 man. The spring walk-ons are yet to be set as some of '12s have left for junior colleges or other schools. This year's recruiting class included two true quarterbacks, though whether All-Star Cord Sandberg reports for 2013 depends on the outcome of June's Major League Baseball draft. Louisiana championship quarterback Damian Williams will be enrolling.

But it is Prescott, with his proven run/throw abilities, who expects to both back-up and alternate with NFL prospect Russell when the '13 season gets going. "Dak has done a pretty good job for us with the reps he's gotten," Mullen said at the end of the 2012 regular season.

The Bulldogs are already working out for Coach Matt Balis' staff, both inside the splendid new Seal Complex as well as outdoors in the current chilled conditions.

The Maroon-White Game is April 20 at Scott Field, which itself is undergoing a major 'procedure' of expansion and renovation. Work is scheduled for August 2014 completion.

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