Koenning Pleased With Quarterback's Camping

These early days of Bulldog bowl camp are as much about developing the next team as practicing the current one. That's how coordinator Les Koenning now finds he has an extra ‘assistant' on the offensive staff, Dak Prescott coaches up his own backups.

"Yes, we've just got him coaching because we're working with all the young kids," Koenning said. "So he just goes and coaches."

Not entirely. The sophomore is doing some drilling at this stage of campus practicing, participating in the one-on-one or pass/skel periods. And Prescott shows no ill-effects of the November shoulder nerve injury that numbed most of his left arm right up to Egg Bowl evening. So he will be back in the shotgun just fine when Mississippi State and Rice square off at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in just over two weeks now.

At the same time quarterbacks coach Koenning welcomes the hand Prescott is lending to his understudies, true frosh Damian Williams and December-arrival Nick Fitzgerald. Results so far have been as entertaining from both as encouraging in what Koenning calls a productive camp.

"It's been going good, getting a chance to work with the young kids has been really nice. Nick is in here, so it's been kind of a whirlwind for him!"

It looks as if Prescott is coaching more than quarterbacking so far? "That's what he needs to do. If you watch us, I'll give him the play and I'll tell him to go coach Nick. That's part of it, hopefully we can keep that progress going."

Fitzgerald was in high school last week running an option, now he's running a spread? "We knew about Nick from camp. We're very excited to have him, he's got a lot, a lot of ability. He can throw the football and he can run, so there's two things he can do really well. Again he's picking it up, it's remarkable how well he's been picking it up. Protections are a big change for kids coming out of high school, but he's getting the plays down. So he'll be that much farther ahead when he gets here."

As much as you've seen from Dak this season, what makes him a special quarterback? "Well, when he's your leading rusher and he's a guy that gets it in the end zone all the time? That has a tendency to people gravitate to that! He's doing things right, he's making plays. We try to put our kids in the best position to make plays, and they're gonna have to make plays. Either one on one, sometimes schematically you can put them in position where you might have them uncovered maybe one time. But defenses are so good in our league that doesn't happen very often, they're going to have to make plays."

How do you script these practices? "The first 16 periods we're working all our kids. Then the last part or practice we work the young kids and scrimmage them so they can get some full-speed reps. They haven't had the reps that those older guys have had. Those older guys have gone through a whole season getting beat-up pretty good. Now all of a sudden they get a chance to coach younger guys who are doing the same thing. And it's pretty fun."

With so much of the offense coming back next year how critical are these practices for them? "Very critical. It's really a tribute to your program and your kids because they get used to working more. You get those extra days. And I think that's so critical."

"Look at it, Nick was in high school and now all of a sudden he gets to come in and learn plays and go through meetings and get actual reps on the field. Damian gets more reps. I mean we force-fed him this year immensely and he grasped it really well. But as we keep going and getting those reps more and more and more it's going to make you better and better and better."

Have you liked what you've seen from Gabe Myles at receiver? "I sure have. I tell you, he's been impressive. He's got really great feet, comes in and out of a break really quick, catches the ball really well. It's natural, he doesn't fight the ball at all."

There was a shocking moment today when Jameon Lewis dropped a pass, he's been so good this camp? "Sure. Again those guys have been playing for a pretty good time now. I can remember when we had this conversation with Jameon a long time ago. And those younger guys are starting to step up. So it's really good for tnem."

What do you like with one of the two older backs working with Ashton Shumpert on the field together? "It's always good when you can get those guys on the field. And we endured some injuries back there too, we've had some people beat-up. So it's great to create depth, too."

Have these practices been the first time Prescott can get back in it since his injury? "There were about two practices for the Ole Miss game, there's been a lot of meeting time for Dak! I mean we went in the meeting rooms and went over and over and over and over again, tried to put him through it and isolate what was going on. He stayed so in-tune in practice, he was always there in practice and always watching and going through stuff mentally. We had him behind the huddle repping the reps he could with his arm the way it was. And it paid off for him at the end."

How much in those three weeks was he actually practiced? "He would always come out for the team segment. Earlier we were trying to get him well, we had him in there rehabbing and getting everything going, the doctors were working on him. Then he'd come out to when we started team segments and go through all our team stuff."

How far does that go towards people gravitating to him? "Well, when you coach Dak it's a great experience. He never thought he wasn't going to play, I mean he always thought he was going to play. That's the beauty of it. The same thing when Tyler (Russell) was hurt, he came and said I'm going to play. When they're wanting to play that's really, really good."

What do you want to do with tomorrow's scrimmage? "Just watch people play. It's not a schematic scrimmage, it's base offense; go out there, execute, if you get a chance to make a play let's see you make a play."

NOTE: Tuesday's scheduled scrimmage is 10:30 am, at Scott Field, and open to the public. It is the last open practice of this campus bowl camp.

Gene's Page Top Stories