A Q&A With MSU QB Coach Les Koenning

A Q&A with Mississippi State quarterbacks coach Les Koenning.

What is your impression of the quarterback position going into the upcoming season?
"The strength of our quarterback position is obviously our experience with Tyler (Russell) and Dak (Prescott) coming back. Both of them have played in SEC football games. We started off last season 7-0, then drop off in the end. But the experience level is high in that area. We can give them a little more flexibility than we have in the past with quarterbacks because of what they have seen and their understanding of the offense. We are very comfortable with either one in the game."

Talk about each one of them individually.
"Each one of them have their own positive attributes. Tyler spins the ball really well and can really throw it. Dak can really throw it as well. Dak is a little more versatile in the run game than Tyler but Tyler can run the ball if he needs to. It was really good for Tyler to go through this last spring. Dak was hurt and because of that couldn't go through the spring. And I think that hurt him a little bit because he didn't get to see things that he would have during the spring.

"The only way you can get better at any position is by playing. You don't get better when you aren't playing. Due to that, we will really have to press it during pre-season camp with Dak with all the reps that he will take.

"Anything dealing with the Xs and Os on the board he is ok with. And in the film room he is absolutely great. Now, he has to see the live reps."

You have a freshman coming in, Damian Williams. What are your thoughts about what he will do this coming season?
"We are very excited about Damian. There is one common denominator with all three of our quarterbacks; all three took their teams to the state championship. So, leadership is a strong quality at that position. And they understand what it takes to win.

"So often, when young quarterbacks come into camp they might have one good day and really impress you. But when you go back and watch their film they didn't lead their team to a championship. The ultimate responsibility of a quarterback is leading their team to a championship. They get far too much credit and far too much blame but you play that position for a reason. That's why they get paid so much money at that position in the NFL.

"We lost (signee) Cord (Sandberg) to the (MLB) draft. And I'm happy for Cord. But we are really excited about Damian. He is about 220 pounds and over 6-foot, so his durability factor should be really good for the SEC."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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