“I need to be great from game-one, from play-one, all the way to the last play of the season.”
Clear enough. For all the achievements last season; all the records set with an offense operated by Dak Prescott; and all the individual honors earned, 2014 simply sets a standard. Prescott now plans to take his senior team farther.
“I mean I played OK throughout the year. I played good at times but not great all the time. That’s exactly what Coach Mullen means.”
Now understand. This comes from a reigning All-Southeastern Conference quarterback. From the eighth-leading vote getter in the 2014 Heisman Trophy balloting. From a Bulldog who already owns a dozen season and career records after just one full fall as the #1 quarterback.
If that counts as just ‘OK’ then what could Prescott and Mississippi State be capable of if both play great football for one complete campaign? He certainly wants to find out.
And there’s only one way to do it.
“I can’t take a game off, can’t take a play off. Just got to be focused each and every game. And like I said, be consistent with everything at the position in leading the guys around me. And I’m right there with (Mullen), excited to have the best season of my career.”
A better 2015 than 2014 would be literally one for the books. Though, as Prescott said this week, the only statistic that matters now is how many victories Mississippi State musters. Still it is a natural question, after his winter professional evaluation, whether Prescott feels pressured to raise his game for other reasons.
Does he need to throw more and prettier passes? Raise his touchdown total and reduce interceptions? Score a better quarterback rating? For his NFL future the answers are obvious.
Yet as Mullen also said, there seems no signs of distraction from his star quarterback. The coach is content Prescott is locked into the upcoming senior season only without interference from future ambitions.
Prescott said it more strongly. “I like to think in the moment. I’m living for right now. This press conference, I guess! And I’ll worry about going and getting taped and ready for practice after this.” OK, so meeting with media is now just about as routine as trainer attention. That’s the price of stardom. So is temptation to think down the career-road too soon.
Thus far, that trap is avoided.
“So I don’t really look ahead too much, I worry about the day, how I can get better. How I can make the guys around me better.” Succeed there, and wins and new records and likely the mantle of all-time best Bulldog quarterback will come.
So will the scouts, for that matter, allowing Prescott to take that expected next step. All that matters now is getting everything started right so Mississippi State can finish on top.
Or as Prescott puts it, “Hopefully I can leave with a smile.”