It’s an excellent attitude for sophomore Prescott. In his six quarters as Mississippi State’s starter he has completed 27-of-47 throws without a turnover, for 387 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Combine that with the running production at Auburn last week, 22 carries for 133 yards and two more scores, and the younger quarterback is making a strong September case for himself.
At the same time Prescott understands both his and his team’s position heading into the weekend rematch with Troy (6:38, FSN) on Scott Field. Russell, out since third quarter of opening day with a concussion, has a better chance for medical clearance to return this week. But as Coach Dan Mullen hinted Monday, the upcoming open date after Troy might encourage keeping Russell out another two weeks just so the senior is full-strength by October.
It’s a wait-and-see that might rattle many young quarterbacks…but not Prescott.
What did you see on film from the Auburn game? “We did some good things. Like I said Saturday, we’ve just got to finish on the small things and finish the game out. But we did some good things in the game.”
How often have you replayed that pass to Jameon Lewis? “I mean, I’ve replayed a lot of the game over and over. But it’s a new week so I’ve got to let it go, put it aside and get ready for Troy.”
What have you seen from Troy? “They’re good. They’re sound. They’re a good football team, they’ve got some good players, they’ve got some experienced guys up front. And they’ll be ready to play.”
What do you remember from last year’s game? “That they played us tough. And it didn’t matter what conference they were in, the Sun Belt or the SEC, those guys played hard and they were ready.”
Some of the touchdowns by both teams were over 50 yards, is that exciting? “Oh yeah, definitely. Big plays, you’ve just got to take advantage of those. And hopefully we’ll get them again this year and do that.”
How do you feel about the aggressiveness of your coaches going for more fourth downs than anyone in the country? “Exactly, it’s good to be aggressive. That means that he trusts us. He trusts the guys up front, he trusts the ball carriers to go get the job done.”
Coach Mullen said he appreciated how the team handled the loss, how would you describe the attitude? “It was just a dagger. I mean it hurt. We were there so close and it to be taken away like that it was like no other, it hurt.”
Coach said the backs might have gotten more carries, but you had to make a lot of decisions in the instant? “I mean, there’s some things I could have done better. Better reads. But that’s all in any game, we’ll get better at those during the week.”
How has Joe Morrow progressed? “Joe is developing a lot. And like you said from the time we’ve got here I’ve told him it’s going to be me and him. I’m saying he’s going to the big guy on the team; I’m 15 and he’s 16, I tell him that all time he’s got to make those plays. And coming from a redshirt year all the way to now he’s stepped up.”
Coach said Saturday he probably should have run you less in the fourth quarter, is that part of your maturing as a quarterback? “Exactly. I felt fine though. That comes with Coach Balis in the off-season getting us ready. And I don’t feel like I was a little winded. But I could have done some things better though, I just put that on me with the reads and such things.”
With a day to digest it how did you perform? “I mean I did OK. But like I said I’m not going to be satisfied, it’s a loss. I put that on me, being the leader, being the quarterback. But there’s some things I did well but we’ve got to go back and fix the smaller things and I’ll get better at that.”
What specifically do you need to work on? “Just like I said, just the smaller things, just the little things in reads, the little things in carrying out fakes. Just small things.”
Are they things that you can only learn in real games instead of practice? “Exactly. Things don’t go the same in practice as they do in the game. But it’s getting a feel of the game and being comfortable and being relaxed and just going through it like it was practice.”
What’s been the biggest difference from coming off the bench to starting? “I mean you go out there and get used to the game, you’re not rushed that first play, everything is not as fast. The second or third play everything slows down and it gets easier and it gets slower. So it’s better than coming off the bench having a few plays to go and having to make the most of them at that.”
Are you more relaxed knowing you have the next drive and the next? “I wouldn’t just say more relaxed. I’m always trying to do the right thing and get the right play, make the right reads. It’s just the game slows down more than anything.”
Where did your composure, not worrying about getting the start, come from? “That comes from the coaches getting me ready. I mean all the way throughout the week they were getting me prepared to go, if I was starting or not. And that comes from my guys, my offensive line protecting me, my receivers making plays, the running backs doing their job. It’s just the guys around me making me comfortable.”
Coach Mullen said when he signed you that you had the ‘it’ factor a quarterback needs. Did you show some of that practicing last week as if you would start and not worrying? “Exactly. I try to make the most of my opportunity when my number is called. Whenever I’m needed I just try to go in there and make the plays.”
How important is controlling the ball without turnovers as you did at Auburn? “That’s most important. If you keep the ball you win the game, most of the time. So it’s controlling the ball, controlling the time, controlling everything.”
How much of that is up to the quarterback? ”Just about every bit. I mean, I touch the ball every play. And if I handed it off to a guy and throw the ball, it all comes to me at the end of the day.”