STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott engineered several key drives and tossed one touchdown as the Bulldogs went through their first spring scrimmage in full pads on a blustery Saturday afternoon in Davis Wade Stadium.
MSU worked several situations and tallied close to 120 plays as all three quarterbacks – Prescott, Damian Williams and Nick Fitzgerald – connected for at least one touchdown. Prescott found tight end Malcolm Johnson for a 38-yard breakaway touchdown pass against the No. 1 defense on the game’s second drive.
“I thought the timing was pretty good between those two,” said head coach Dan Mullen of Prescott and Johnson. “Offensively, I saw guys making a bunch of plays, and I really like that. There were guys in the open field making some things happen.”
Williams connected with Gabe Myles for the game’s first score on a 40-yard pass against the No. 2 defense. Fitzgerald’s two touchdown throws were to Fred Brown, including a 78-yarder against the No. 3 defense.
Mullen was pleased with the emergence of running back Nick Griffin, who scampered 52 yards for a touchdown against the No. 1 defense.
“I’m really proud of him,” said Mullen. “Nick is as high character of a kid as there is on the team. He’s a great student that does everything the right way. The football aspect has not always worked out the way it has due to the injuries he has suffered. We want him to perform at the level we know he can perform at.”
Defensively, linebackers Richie Brown and Dez Harris stoodout. Brown notched two tackles for loss.
MSU returns to practice at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday and will work out again on Thursday before its second scrimmage next Saturday in Davis Wade Stadium. The spring culminates with the Maroon-White Game on Saturday, April 12 at noon as part of Super Bulldog Weekend. For more information, visit www.HailState.com/SBW.
Head Coach Dan Mullen Media Session
March 29, 2014
On his thoughts on the scrimmage…
“We’ll watch the film on it. I saw some really good things. I saw some things that we’ve got to get fixed up and cleaned up. Offensively, I saw guys making a bunch of plays, and I really like that. There were guys in the open field making some things happen. I also saw some opportunities for a couple of big hits that we didn’t get. There were a couple of short-field opportunities that we didn’t score on, and you have to take advantage of those. There were too many penalties. There were six false starts on the offensive line, and that’s a lack of mental focus, but there were also a lot of positives. Defensively, there was some good and bad. There were some good plays. I think there was five three-and-outs for the first, second and third teams. I told the officials I wanted them to be strict and call a tight game. There’s a lot of stuff we get away with in practice that we might not be able to get away with in a game. We’ve got to get it taught out here. I let guys get away with things a lot more in practice because I want to see them in adverse conditions. There were a couple of penalties on the defense. We want to see turnovers, and creating turnovers is always a big thing for the defense. In scrimmage situations, you’re always kind of happy or really sad. You’re happy if the defense creates a bunch of turnovers or you’re mad that the offense turned it over. Overall, there was some good clean football and a lot we can teach off of.”
“I thought the timing was pretty good between those two. We have some pretty good corners. We may have to put some guys on some islands and protect the middle of the field more. It makes you see who’s going to win one-on-one on the outside.”
On Nick Griffin…
“I’m really proud of him. Nick [Griffin] is as high character of a kid as there is on the team. He’s a great student that does everything the right way. The football aspect has not always worked out the way it has due to the injuries he has suffered. I still see hesitation, but hopefully today helped give him more and more confidence. We want him to perform at the level we know he can perform at.”
On Dak Prescott’s performance today…
“I was pretty happy and pleased overall. There were a couple of big mistakes. I view a big mistake as a mistake that we’ve already made in game situation. You’re always going to make mistakes, but don’t continue to make them over and over again. Overall, he did a great job. His leadership is good, and he does a good job out here of understanding that we’re not going to put him in position to make a lot of plays with his legs even though he’s comfortable with that. I have to do it sometimes so the defense gets the practice against a running quarterback. I love when you take that away from him and he still manages the offense effectively.”
On confidence in the kicking game…
“I’m very confident in our guys. They’ve played games and been in pressure situations. They’ve been in rough situations. They’re not going to be perfect even though I want them to be. The great thing with it is when there not perfect now as older guys, they’re not going to get flustered. They’ve going to get it fixed like Devon [Bell] did today.”
On Gabe Myles at wide receiver…
“He’s adjusting. Like everyone at that position, he’s most comfortable when the ball is in his hand. We’ve got to get him comfortable when the ball is not in his hand. That’s going to come. He has a great work ethic. The key is patience. These guys are competitors that want to be great and do things right all of the time. Sometimes you have to walk before you can go run. You’ve got to learn the basics and fundamentals.”
On Brandon Holloway adjusting to running back…
“He was a high school tailback. He played some running back last spring. Honestly, it’s probably a bad coaching job by us because it’s his best position. I probably should have had him in that position much sooner.”