Here's why Dak Prescott's transition from college to the Cowboys is going so well
The playbook was much more similar than anyone could have expected
No one could have foreseen the success Dak Prescott's had in the NFL. When Tony Romo went down, the Cowboys looked doomed because they were hinging their hopes on a rookie fourth-round pick. Instead Prescott's made a very good case for rookie of the year and is borderline in the MVP conversation.
The transition he made from Mississippi State, where he rushed 504 times in his final three years, to Dallas, where he's rushed 20 times in six games and completed over 68 percent of his passes with just one interception, has been remarkable.
Maybe it should have been more obvious. Because according Prescott, in an interview with CBS Sports for the latest edition of the Roughing the Passer Podcast (subscribe on iTunes here), the playbook in Dallas is surprisingly similar to his playbook at Mississippi State and it's a misconception that what he ran with the Bulldogs is different than what he runs with the Cowboys.
"Our passing game in college was pretty much the exact same that it is in the NFL. The only difference is I go under center sometimes. I was very fortunate to come in and get the playbook and just look at the plays and being able to connect them to plays we ran in college. So that worked well for me. Working from under center, doing things I wasn't asked to do in college, is just a testament to how hard my coaches -- Coach [Jason] Garrett, Coach [Scott] Linehan, Coach [Wade] Wilson -- from the time I got here, just planting the things in my head that I need to focus on getting back away from center, staying balanced in my throws ... great coaching."
Prescott, who appeared on behalf of Buffalo Wild Wings for his work with the Boys & Girls Club of America (see video below), also said flatly that "lot of our plays now are plays we ran at Mississippi State" and pointed to a crossover between Mullen and his current offensive coordinator Linehan.
As it turns out, the similarities should have been more obvious. According to Urban Meyer, in a 2012 interview with 11 Warriors, he and Mullen, back when Meyer was the wide receivers coach for Notre Dame, went and studied John L. Smith and Linehan's offense at Louisville.
Meyer said he was "enamored" with the offense.
In 1999, Dan Mullen was my GA at Notre Dame. John L. Smith was the coach at Louisville and Scott Linehan was the offensive coordinator. I started watching them on film and said I want to go study them. He said sure go ahead. We ended up staying four days and had to go buy a toothbrush. I was so enamored with the style of play.
So Prescott, the self-proclaimed "smartest quarterback" in the 2016 draft class, is spot on when it comes to his NFL coaching history.
What's fascinating about this is that there are often times situations where NFL teams implement plays from a college quarterback's college playbook in order to make him more comfortable. That hasn't been the case with Prescott, who just worked his way into the Cowboys offense seamlessly.
"No it's just how it worked out with where I landed," Prescott said. "From Day 1 when I go into camp, as the third-string guy, the plays were very similar and a lot we did in college. So I just lucked up on that behalf."
Listen to the full Prescott interview below and subscribe to the Roughing the Passer Podcast on iTunes here.
And here's the video of Prescott and Buffalo Wild Wings helping the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dallas by giving them a newly renovated field and transporting in a bunch of BWW customers in to watch the kids play a game of football.
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