Long before he helped develop Dak Prescott at Mississippi State, Dan Mullen was working with Alex Smith at the University of Utah.
Mullen, who has been the head coach at Mississippi State since 2009, spent two years working under then-head coach Urban Meyer at Utah (2003-04) as quarterback's coach. During that time, Mullen helped develop Smith into the player chosen No. 1 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
During his three years at Utah, Smith completed 66.3 percent of his passes with 47 touchdowns and just eight interceptions, and he added more than 1,000 yards on the ground with 15 rushing touchdowns as well.
And on Sunday, Smith and Prescott will square off as the Chiefs travel to take on the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.
Prescott spoke with the local Kansas City media Wednesday afternoon about that connection.
"Often times, Coach Mullen in coaching or just trying to give a reference would mention Alex," Prescott explained. "I just know a lot about him and his game through [Mullen]. Half the plays we ran were brought from Utah and he would just show clips of Alex running them—stuff from the shovel pass to the option—that I honestly in college was just trying to mimic what Alex was doing at Utah."
Before Mississippi State, Mullen spent four years at the University of Florida (2005-08) under Meyer as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
"Coach Mullen's influence was huge," Prescott added. "He taught me a lot about the game that I don't know if anyone else could have taught me—different ways to study. I mean, I went to college not knowing anything about x's and o's, and then to leave college and be ready to play as a rookie in this league, I give all the credit to Dan Mullen for that."
Prescott, who was named Rookie of the Year last season after being selected in the fourth round (No. 135 overall), said he doesn't know Smith well, but did say they met at the Pro Bowl last year.