This Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys will arguably have their toughest test of the season for two reasons.
Not only will America's Team potentially have to play without their star running back in Ezekiel Elliott, but they'll also have to play against one of the best teams in the NFL in the 2017 season so far in the Kansas City Chiefs.
It will be one of the biggest tests in the young career of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, but he already knows a lot about his opposite number for the Chiefs, Alex Smith.
That's because while Prescott was in college at Mississippi State, he learned to play quarterback from Smith. Prescott's college head coach, Dan Mullen, would use tapes of Smith playing for Utah to teach him how to properly operate the offense. Mullen was Smith's position coach at Utah.
The Cowboys star said to ESPN: "Half the plays we ran were brought from Utah. He would show clips of Alex running them, stuff from the shovel pass to the option to stuff in the pass game. I was honestly in college trying to mimic what Alex was doing at Utah.
"I just know a lot of Alex through Coach Mullen. Oftentimes Coach Mullen, in coaching or just trying to give a reference, would mention Alex. I didn't know him before the NFL but I just know a lot about him and his game through Coach Mullen."
So if Dallas go on to win the Super Bowl this season thanks to the plays which Prescott makes in the pocket and with his feet due to having control of the offense, maybe Cowboys fans need to send a thank you to Smith as well!
Both Smith and Prescott are having incredible seasons for their respective teams in 2017. The Chiefs star is the NFL's top-rated quarterback, while the Cowboys star is ninth on that list.
Smith admires what Prescott has accomplished since joining the Cowboys last season.
"I keep track of him, for sure. We have mutual college coaches, so I definitely followed him all through college and the last couple of years. How could you not be impressed with what he's done up to this point? To step into that role, you're not expected [to play]; you've got big shoes to fill, obviously, with Romo going out.
"To come in and to make the plays that he's done as a young guy, that's hard, really hard. To be as consistent [and] to do the little things, that's the thing you see as well. You see both. He's got the big-play ability, but then coming in and also being so solid, doing the little things play in and play out, giving his team a good chance. I've been really impressed and obviously a fan of his. Just not this week."
The mutual respect is there and is clear to see, but it will be all be put aside when the two teams take the field to face one another on Sunday in what should be a very entertaining game.
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