Yes, time flies. But the only clock Dak Prescott hears ticking right now is the one counting down to the 2015 season. The past year was certainly great and all, full of victories and records and awards and recognitions.
This however is Prescott’s senior season. And any athlete worth the uniform wants the last year to be the absolute best. So instead of coasting through his final spring session Mississippi State’s all-SEC quarterback is going full-speed.
And speaking of time, or timing, football camp couldn’t have begun at a better time for Prescott. His well-publicized incident during spring break made headlines everywhere in college football. And, left a mark just below Prescott’s right eye, souvenir of the surprise beach fracas. The ugly bruise is gone and the cut just about healed by now, with no lingering physical damage.
Emotionally? Going just about directly from the dust-up in Florida to pulling on his helmet has successfully centered Prescott again, as he discussed Friday.
How have the first days of spring practice gone for you and the team? “It’s been good. I like the tempo that we’ve got going, we’re going fast and I think a lot faster than in the season. Young guys stepping up, guys making plays all over the field. It’s been a great few practices and I’m loving the attitude and everything we’ve got going out there.”
What is it like entering your final spring season? “It’s weird. I guess five years ago I was just starting off. It’s special. I mean Coach Mullen made a comparison the other day that the true freshmen that just came in were in seventh grade or so! So I think I’m that old, it’s a little surreal. But I’m enjoying every minute of it, just trying to make sure I lead guys and put everybody in the position they need to be in.”
Coach Brian Johnson said you’re not just working your game but trying to take on leadership of the younger quarterbacks? “Oh yeah, exactly. I mean I want to coach them. I think when I coach them on all the basis stuff and getting better as a player it only makes me better. It makes me sharper on my knowledge of the game and I’m just trying to make sure I know every aspect and be able to teach it to all the other guys.”
It has been a weird couple of weeks, what did you learn from spring break? “Ahhh, anything can happen, I guess. No matter what you’re doing or position you’re in. But I’ve moved on from that, I’m worried about spring football now.”
What’s it like not being able to be a regular college student? “It’s life. There’s perks to it, obviously there’s the negative side to it. So it’s just about being the best person I can, just live the life that’s handed to me and make the most out of it.”
How much does it help to come off that and go right into spring practice? “Oh, good. I feel peaceful any time I’m at football no matter what adversity or anything I’m going through. So I just come back out here, be with my brothers and get the ball in the air. It feels great.”
Talk about the receivers you have here? “We’ve got a lot of great guys. We don’t have Bear (De’Runnya Wilson) yet but we’ve got Donald Gray out there who is making a lot of plays coming in from juco. Fred Ross is looking as smooth and as good as ever, Fred Brown is looking great, Joe Morrow, I mean I could name every single one of them they’re all making plays. So it’s special to have a bunch of different guys like that and the versatility they bring to the offense.”
Does Fred Ross look like he’s gone farther? “Oh yeah, he’s gotten a lot better. That’s just the mentality and everything he took from the off-season he just carried over into spring football. And just how hard he’s been working it’s all paying off and he’s doing a great job. He’s a great receiver and a great player.”
How has the transition gone with Jamaal Clayborn at center? “Good. Jamaal worked a little bit of that in the bowl practice and we worked on it all off-season, just snaps and making sure he’s getting right in knowledge of the game. We’ve been good so far. And I like the o-line, I like everybody around me all the way through younger guys subbing-out. It’s been a good spring so far.”
With Damian Williams out talk about Nick Fitzgerald? “Fitz is doing good. He’s learned a lot, you can tell what he’s taking from the film room he’s putting out on the field. His footwork is getting better, he’s improving as a quarterback overall. It’s all working out.”
You’ve been throwing a lot to the running backs, the young ones especially? “Right. Those young guys, they call themselves ‘Thunder and Lightning’ and they’re every bit of it. I mean they’re very, very talented, they’re getting the knowledge of the game right now and trying to make sure they soak everything up. They’re just getting better. But I mean (Brandon) Holloway and (Ashton) Shumpert are the same way, making sure they lead them. It’s just great when you have a bunch of different receivers and got a good group of running backs you can throw to as well.”
Which is which? “Ahh, I think Thunder is Dontavian (Lee) and Lightning is Aeris (Williams).”
We haven’t seen them yet, what is your impression? “Like I said, they’re great running backs. They run the ball just very, very naturally. Dontavian is big and he runs powerful. Aeris runs real, real hard, a little bit like Shump, and has some moves here and there. They’re great young running backs.”
Do they both bring pass-catching ability Josh Robinson had? “Yeah, they all learned from Josh. Josh was their older brother teaching them things all through last year. So I’m sure they mimic his game in some shape or some form or fashion. But they’re all coming along.”
Sometimes between series you pull the offensive linemen aside and talk to them? “Oh yeah, just to make sure we all saw the same thing out there, we’re all on the same page in the protection. And maybe what happened on a certain play here or there what they thought. Just make sure everybody is on the same page from the o-line to the receivers and running back and we’ve all got one idea.”