Prescott Pumped For First Scrimmage Test

Dak Prescott glanced out the window and growled a bit. Afternoon rain had arrived with further forecasts for evening showers. Such weather is not welcome because, Prescott says, the Bulldogs plan to get on Scott Field later today. It’s time for scrimmaging.

“Just kind of get a little feel of where you’re at,” he explained. “You get put in game situations early, get some of those young guys that hadn’t played in the stadium yet a chance to step up and get the feel of playing an actual game.”

It’s interesting to hear how eager Mississippi State’s quarterback is to go scrimmage. One might figure by this point of his career such stuff wouldn’t get Prescott’s pulse going. He’s gone through the scrimmage cycle often enough already, right?

Ahhh, but this attitude is one further reason why Prescott occupies such a premium place in Bulldog ambitions for 2014. Not merely his ability to make plays and win games and generally lead a football team, much as those are what counts most. It is the way Prescott is setting a general tone in preseason, as one of the acknowledged leaders of the entire team and the undisputed top Dog on the offensive side of things.

So when a veteran like Prescott sets such stock in scrimmaging, everyone pays attention. All the more because none would question if he wanted to ‘coast’ a little this camp. Prescott doesn’t. Not only does he bear the burden of high Bulldog hopes this fall; he now finds himself something of a ‘coach’ to three younger quarterbacks in camp.

”I mean that’s good, I love to coach those guys. It’s a good chance for me to go back to the basics and re-learn some things and remind myself about them.” Note that last bit carefully. Instead of taking his status for granted Prescott is evaluating his own practice work the way Coach Dan Mullen or Coach Brian Johnson do. It is just a little more instructive and, well, entertaining to do it while coaching-up others.

Besides, Prescott points out, there are turns to be taken now that State has a well-stocked quarterback larder at last.

“I don’t think I’ve had that since I was a true freshman, the last time we had four scholarship guys. Yeah, it’s a little different rotating a fourth guy in there. But it’s good, it gives me a chance to learn and see other plays develop.”

As well as see players develop. True sophomore Damian Williams is well on his way having played and won last season, but still this is just his second year in the system so it’s not a finished product. Then there are the new kids on campus. Or one of them is new as Elijah Staley reported in summer. Classmate Nick Fitzgerald got a jump on Staley by participating in a week of Liberty Bowl camp and then a complete spring session.

Prescott himself was a mid-year enrollee back in 2011 so he knows what spring practicing can do for a new quarterback. ““You can tell a little difference between him and Elijah, it gave Nick a little heads-up on the offense and quickened the learning process. That’s where he has the advantage. You can tell the game has slowed down for him just a little bit.”

But Staley is not on any slow track. “He’s adjusting,” Prescott says. “He’s picking up the playbook, that’s the most important part. The game speed is completely different so you have to pick up the playbook first. Once he does that the game will slow down. But he’s been doing well.”

Doing well in practices that is, or in limited full-team settings so far. Scrimmaging for series after series and on the big field is a whole ‘nother matter. So Prescott has been prepping his cohorts for what they should show the coaches and the whole ball club at Scott Field.

“Just to stay focused, to know the mental basic things and make sure they know all their protections. And then make plays from there, but to make sure all the simple things are taken care of. When they take care of that everything else will come. Just make it a learning process.”

Speaking of learning… There’s still some of that in store for Prescott as he continues developing a working relationship with his new position coach. Not that Johnson brings any radical change in how Mississippi State’s offense operates, Prescott said. Especially with Mullen now taking the role of overall coordinator. The process has gone smoothly, which shouldn’t surprise.

“They’re very similar. Coach Johnson came from Coach Mullen so the way he coaches I think was learned form Coach Mullen. But they go hand-in-hand and there’s no difference talking to one guy and talking to the other.”

The scrimmage is closed to public and media alike. Which is understandable in today’s instant communications context…but still a little frustrating for folk eager to get an advance view of the 2014 Bulldogs. The offense in particular, because scrimmaging will put lots to a live test. That’s another reason Prescott is as excited as any rookie to get on Scott Field for the first August opportunity.

”We’re going to practice getting the one-on-one situations and trying to take advantage of it. Tonight in the actual live situations where the DB can make a full play on it, it will be a good chance for us to do that.”

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