After smashing nearly every Magnolia State passing record in high school, Mississippi State's Dylan Favre faced a difficult transition in 2010. The St. Stanislaus native and Bulldog quarterback sat out last year as a redshirt and could only watch as MSU reeled off nine wins and a Gator Bowl trophy.
"It was rough," said the 5-foot-10 and 198-pound Favre. "After the Memphis game I called my dad and I wanted to be anywhere but in Starkville. But that's just my competitive nature and everybody here wants to be on the field. But Coach (Dan) Mullen and his staff felt it was best for me to redshirt and it gave me a year to learn the offense, which was good."
And his year of learning has already started to pay off this spring. There is a new level of feeling "comfortable" with the offensive sets and calls, said Favre.
"It's a little different and obviously spring ball is different than fall camp," said Favre. "I feel really comfortable out there right now after going through a whole season. When I redshirted, at the time I thought it was the most miserable time in my life. But now that spring ball has rolled around, it paid off cause of how comfortable I am with the offense.
"The speed of the game and things have slowed down a lot for me. And knowing things I can get away with and things I can't get away with like I did in high school."
His top priority this spring was to eliminate turnovers and risks, something that hampered Favre during scout team work last fall. Thus far in spring, Favre noted he's made progress in that area.
"From Day one to now, Coach Mullen has told me my only flaw is protecting the football and I've gotten better at that," said Favre. "I like to take a lot of risks. But as our spring has gone on and even though it's only been a few practices, I have been on myself about protecting the ball and I think I've gotten better at that."
Favre also threw a lot of credit in the direction of the Bulldog receivers. Over the past couple of years, the receiving corps has lacked quality depth and consistent play-making ability. But that trend started to change late last year and appears to have continued to head in the right direction this spring.
"The receivers, in my opinion, have been tremendous since we've started spring ball," said Favre. "Last year I wouldn't say it was our weak point but the depth wasn't one of our strongest points on the team. But I feel like our receivers are just as good as anybody's receivers in the SEC right now. A lot of depth now and a lot of good hands and playmakers."
Favre is one of four quarterbacks doing battle this spring and is part of possibly the best depth featured under center in Starkville in quite some time. Senior Chris Relf is the returning starter while sophomore Tyler Russell also got numerous reps last fall. Also new to the mix this spring is true freshman Dak Prescott, who graduated high school early and enrolled at Mississippi State this spring. So how much do the MSU quarterbacks help each other on and off the field?
"A lot and all three of us have totally different playing styles," said Favre. "In the meeting room, if I have a question I will ask Chris or vice-versa. One thing about it is we are all out here competing for a job but we are all pretty tight and we are all brothers. And with Dak coming in, we've all taken him under our wing. He is competition but we are also going to help him grow as a player."
But despite their team bond, it's no secret that every single quarterback wants to trot out there first when the Bulldogs open the 2011 campaign at Memphis.
"My expectation is to be the starting quarterback when that first game opens up," said Favre. "But you will get that same answer from Chris or Tyler or Dak. And that is how it should be, in my opinion."