Video: Dak Prescott

Mississippi State senior quarterback Dak Prescott talks about his preparations for the season opener at Southern Miss.

On the start of the 2015 football campaign …

“We’re excited about this game week. We’ve all been waiting for this. We had a great camp and transition week last week so we’re all excited. We’re preparing for Southern Miss. I just can’t stress enough to play someone besides ourselves finally.”

On dealing with fame and recognition on a day-to-day basis …

“People are going to want pictures. People are going to want autographs and things like that, so I just do what I can while still getting my business done. I just try to handle it the best that I can with a smile on my face. If that’s what it takes to go get groceries, I’ve got to do it.”

On the mix of veterans and young players on the offensive line …

“They’re great. They’re great leaders. They lead by their actions and the way that they perform on the field. The three younger guys coming in have the right attitude, the right motor, and they’re all going in the right direction. Between the six of us, we’re all comfortable. I think we feel fine with protections, run game, passing game, whatever it is. We’re good to go.”

On his role when a younger quarterback is in the game …

“I become a coach, I guess you would say, and a teammate at the same time. I’m going to lead them and make sure I’m doing it with a positive attitude, coaching them in the right direction. If a coach gets on him, I have to make sure to pick him back up. I have to make sure that they have all of the confidence that they can.”

On his receiving group this season …

“I’m very excited. We have a great group of wideouts. From size to speed and all other physical abilities, those guys can go make plays when the ball is in the air. We’ve got everything that I need. I’m just excited to go out there and throw the ball around and let them go make plays.”

On the lack of returning starters …

“I don’t think this team pays attention to how many starters we have coming back. I know I’ve heard coach (Dan) Mullen say that it’s a misleading stat. We have some new faces starting but all of them have played valuable reps in big time games. It’s the same with the defense. They may be starters now, but they were the 1B, the guys getting the second series last year. So there’s no difference. We’re just ready to go and prepare for everything that’s going to be thrown at us and make sure that we’re the best team that we can be each Saturday.”

On opening the season on the road instead of at home …

“It’s a little different. We have more of a game week atmosphere when the game is here. Later in the week, you’ll start to see things happen on campus, tailgating getting set up, and we won’t see that this week. But we still have to get our minds and bodies right, especially with the late kick off. It’s still game week though and it’s getting closer to Saturday. I think that’s when the leaders step in. We know that we’re going on the road. It’s not an SEC opponent but it’s going to be a big stadium. They’re going to fill it up and do everything they can to make it loud so they can get to us, so the leaders have to step up and prepare the team.”

On the importance of the in-state series with Southern Miss …

“It’s another game. It’s another game that I want to win, play my best in and make sure that my team does too. Yes, it’s a good rivalry for the state, especially the guys that are from Mississippi. They probably have friends and old teammates that play at Southern Miss so it’s exciting for everybody, but it’s very important and we have to win.”

On the 2015 team’s running backs …

“It’s a group that’s ready. They build off each other. They motivate each other. There’s always competition, and they’re definitely coaching up each other in between plays and in between series. They get excited when another one makes a play so that’s a group that doesn’t really matter who’s back there. (Ashton) Shumpert will probably lead them, but any of those guys can jump in there, and it will be exciting. The whole team knows that they can make plays.”

On correcting mistakes from last year’s Southern Miss game …

“We have to go in fast. Being the leader, being on the road in an in-state rivalry, we have to go and start off fast and slow the crowd down, quiet them a little bit and then make sure that we have the momentum to control the game from beginning to end. It’s going to start off from the first play and the first couple of series. In the red zone, we just have to do better than we did last year. It’s our first chance to change that stat and start off right.”

On motivation from last year’s slow finish …

“We started off good last year, but we didn’t finish strong. So we took that as motivation all the way into the offseason, spring ball, summer and then camp so we’re just excited to get back going. We need to start off fast and finish fast. We just need to be the best team that we can be week in and week out, starting week one.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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