Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen feels sense of calm with Dak Prescott at QB
Every parent knows that sense of debilitating fear when their child becomes a brand-new driver and gets behind the wheel for the first time. There’s a similar sense of panic when a patient finds out their doctor just graduated from medical school.
“That’s pretty comforting, and you know he’s always going to be on the same page with the coaches as (to) why we’re doing things, because he’s involved in putting in the (game) plan,” Mullen said on the SEC teleconference Wednesday. “On game days it’s great, because you feel very comfortable as a coach in situations when you have a guy out there that he understands the situation and he’s going to make good decisions.”
Only two SEC quarterbacks — Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly (36.3) and Kentucky’s Patrick Towles (34.4) — throw the ball more frequently than Prescott, who slings it 32.5 times per game. While Kelly and Towles have 12 and 10 interceptions, respectively, Prescott’s only been picked off once.
LSU’s Brandon Harris (zero) is the only SEC passer with fewer interceptions than Prescott, but Harris has thrown the ball only 128 times this season. Prescott’s more than doubled those attempts at 260.
Sure, Prescott has 952 career passing attempts and a truckload of experience that four years in the toughest conference in the country brings. But there’s more to it than just being around.
Prescott’s a bright kid who’s already graduated from college and will earn a master’s degree in December, according to Mullen. He’s also shown such football acumen that he plays a huge role in putting together the playbook on a weekly basis.
“He’s very involved with the game plan that we do, and he has a lot of say in what we do — what he likes and what he doesn’t like within the plan,” Mullen said.
Add up all of that experience and immense knowledge of what the offensive coaches want to see, and mesh that with Prescott’s own stylistic desires, and Mullen gets a passer who can thrive in almost any situation.
“When you have that, it really opens things up for you offensively to be able to take some more chances while you’re out there on the field,” Mullen said. “You know he’s really not going to make a bad decision when we’re going to take a shot down the field. If it’s not there, he’s going to check it down, he’s not going to force things.”
Want proof? Prescott ranks fourth in the SEC with 43 passes of 15 yards or greater. And he has two running backs — Brandon Holloway (14 catches, 2 TDs) and Ashton Shumpert (10 receptions) — with double-digit reception totals.
No wonder Mullen feels he’s in good hands when Prescott is on the field.