IRVING, Texas - Before the Dallas Cowboys drafted Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott in the fourth round, coach Jason Garrett and play-caller Scott Linehan wanted to make sure he was adept at playing under center.
That's because, like a lot of quarterbacks these days, Prescott spent much of his high school and college career in the shotgun.
He must take snaps in the NFL.
“It’s something that some guys can do right away and other guys it seems like it’s a little more of a transition,’’ Linehan said. “The one thing we felt great about with Dak is that, even in the Senior Bowl, it didn’t look like it was an issue. I’ve seen some of those guys come in there and bobble snaps and it’s like, ‘Man, it’s going to take a while.’ With him, it looked like he had always been there. I think that speaks a lot about how hard he worked and has been working on something he doesn’t do a lot. I also think he’s a natural athlete who gets how it works.
“We’ve got to work on it and spend time with it, but I don’t think it’s going to be an issue with him.’’
Prescott said he spent considerable time working on taking snaps during the four months between the end of his college season and the draft. He worked under center at the Senior Bowl, where he was named MVP, showing scouts and coaches that the transition from college to NFL quarterback would not be affected by playing under center.
“It won’t be anything here before too long, that I won’t have to think about it,” Prescott said. “I’ll just be out there playing and reacting more than anything. It’s more getting my feet together. I don’t even necessarily need a center. I can have somebody snapping me the ball, getting my drop, transferring my weight into my throws."
Prescott did play under center when Mississippi State used its goal-line offense. Still, he needed to get more comfortable. So he had friends, teammates and family members snap him the ball. Sometimes he practiced alone. Prescott can’t tell you how many snaps he took a day. Somewhere between 100 and infinity.
“I was taking a good bit,’’ he said. “If you want to count them, I don’t know. I mean, you’ve got to think about walking through the house doing those reps, too.
“Give me a couple of weeks, and you’ll forget I played in the spread.’’