Spring Practice Wish List: Quarterbacks


Nov 2, 2013; Columbia, SC, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott (15) looks to pass the ball during the third quarter against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks defeated the Bulldogs 34-16. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Spring Practice started March 18. The Bulldogs will start their preparation for the 2014 football season and it ends on April 12 with the Spring game, the marquee event of Super Bulldog Weekend. Mississippi State is poised to have one of their best seasons in 2014, but there are a number of things that need to be developed to get the most out of this team as possible. Today we look at the Running Backs.

The last two seasons, Mississippi State fans have experienced something that they have not been accustomed to: solid quarterback play. Between the time Tyler Russell and Dak Prescott split as starter in 2012 and 2013, the Bulldogs put up unprecedented numbers in the passing game for a Mississippi State offense. And the best news is that play should only get better with Prescott entering his junior year this season. Here is what I want to see out of the Quarterbacks this Spring

No Injuries: Injuries don’t happen too often to quarterbacks during practice simply because they have a red shirt slapped on them and no one is allowed to hit them. That doesn’t mean they don’t ever have injuries though. Prescott might have had an even better season in 2013 had he not been injured during the Spring last year and missed all of Spring practice. One of the main causes for optimism around Starkville is that the Bulldogs are going to have all Spring and all Summer for Prescott to prepare as the unquestioned starter. Any injuries to Prescott would put a major dent in those plans.

Improve Prescott’s Accuracy: Prescott is a very talented quarterback, but he could definitely improve his accuracy. He completed 58.4% of his passes last year and if we want to have a breakthrough season, that number needs to get a little closer to the 65% mark. There were also a number of throws that Prescott made that could have resulted in bigger plays had he been more adept at leading his receiver.

Who’s the backup: Damian Williams played as well as most would have expected for a true freshman who was thrust into some games in the latter part of the season due to injuries to Prescott and Russell. I’m very glad he was ready to go when called upon. The one thing I did not get when he played in those games was a sense that he is the apparent successor to Prescott. Williams was lightly recruited out of high school and was a backup option when Mullen brought him into the fold. I also am not sure that Mullen is 100% convinced that Williams is going to be our quarterback of the future because two were signed in this recruiting class. Both Nick Fitzgerald and Elijah Staley come from Georgia. Fitzgerald graduated early from high school this past December and made it to campus not only for Spring Practice, but he was an active part of Bowl Practice as well. Staley won’t be in Starkville until the Summer. I sense that the way this plays out is Williams goes into the season as the backup, but if our backup is needed for significant playing time at any point this season, Fitzgerald will eventually supplant him. Based on the way Mullen talked, I think Staley is the guy that Mullen envisions replacing Prescott, so look for the coaching staff to keep a red shirt on Staley in 2014 and using Fitzgerald and Williams as the backup to Prescott.

Tone Down the Heisman Talk: I am just as excited as everybody else about the potential that Prescott brings to the Mississippi State offense. I also believe that Prescott could put up some numbers that will at least get him some Heisman consideration. The reason I say we need to slow down this talk and do it during the Spring is that it will just become a distraction. As a matter of fact, this will be the last I write about it until after the LSU game. The first three games aren’t going to allow Prescott to do anything that will let him stand out amongst other candidates, so I don’t really see any point in mentioning it until after we play LSU. If Prescott has a big game against the Tigers, then lets get it out there in a big way.

The biggest reason why many Bulldog fans are excited about next season is that Prescott could have a break out year. I think there is a really good chance that he does, and if he does, the Bulldogs will make some serious noise in the SEC and in the country in 2014.