Joe Dailey, Now a shoe-in at #2?

As the fallout from the Dukes departure continues, many will be the questions flung upon and around Jammal Lord as any pressure he had on him already has just seen a significant increase. He's it as far as most are concerned, followed by the often-forgotten, Mike Stuntz. Between these two, you have all the experience NU is going to have in actual game play. With the loss of NU's supposed second-stringer though, another question pops up that seems to keep popping up, what about Joe Dailey?

The second-coming, Curt Dukes ends up being the second-going out the door as Dukes goes the way of Glissman in departing NU for pastures deemed greener at some other place outside of the Husker state.

With that loss, Mike Stuntz became the instant second-stringer, but few have wanted to give him that title, this being strictly reserved for someone figured to be realistically in the mix for the starting spot this year.

That was Dukes..................Now, it's Dailey. So, what's Joe think about that? "I think it's sad." Dailey said of Dukes' departure. "That's another quarterback off the depth chart and that's not good."

You have to actually admire Dailey's initial impression. Some would expect Joe to possibly jump for joy in that the stiffest competition for the second spot just decided to leave, putting him as the probable front-runner for that spot or even better. Joe has a different perspective. "I look at it as it's one less guy (to beat), but it's sad because the kid came here for a reason. After all his ups and downs with injuries and everything, it just shoots you down mentally and it's sad to see."

Also, you have to respect Joe for not looking beyond the aforementioned Mike Stuntz, who most have all but eliminated as a contender to even see the field. "I don't know what everyone else thinks of him (Mike), but I think he can play." Dailey stated. "He's got skills and the kid can move."

Stuntz's legitimacy aside though, you have to think that something might have been lost, but it's not just a quarterback to transfer, but the simple luxury of knowing that if needed, Joe could be redshirted, offering him that year to learn more, acclimate himself more and get fully ingrained into this new system and then, hit the field running.

It's a luxury that doesn't appear to be there for the taking anymore, but Dailey remains consistent as he has been throughout the recruiting and post-commitment stage in that it's just something else to think about, however he doesn't worry how this will all play out in the end. "People make it out to be a big thing, because Nebraska is two quarterbacks down now." Joe said. "The way I look at it is, it's the best situation for me, because I have no choice but to be mature about it and come in and battle."

"It may be a big thing to the fans, but it's not to me."

The lack of it's significance isn't lost on Joe because he minimizes the actual event, but his perspective lies solely on it's affect on the person he has to deal with the most, himself. "It's sad, but those things happen." Joe said. "It's one less guy to beat, but I can't worry about that, because I can't look at it like, ‘Oh, this has happened and now the spotlight is even more on me' and stuff like that. I just have to be ready to compete."

The situation also wasn't a complete surprise, at least to the point when it hit the papers yesterday. "Coach Gill called me and told me about it." Joe said. "He said that Curt was leaving and you know, for everyone, one door closes, another opens. That's life."

Based on last year, fans have been holding that door open for Joe since about three seconds after the Ole Miss game, perhaps even sooner. And, because of Texas game, the Ole Miss game and possibly five more in addition, fans have been all too eager to turn what has figuratively been a cupboard door into something that could accommodate a Kenworth.

Not to be overly cliche' about it though, this is indeed life in big-time collegiate football. Within the dramas, the soap operas, the games and victories or losses that result from them, a myriad of stories arise, each losing or gaining life based mostly on the current mind-set of the fans.

And the current mind-set of the fan is that the heir apparent, Curt Dukes has left, so there must be someone to take his place. Joe is it and the battles he is facing on the field have dwindled down to two players, one an incumbent and the other, a player that is battling just about everyone simply for some respect.

The biggest change will be that in all actuality, nothing has changed at all. Curt Dukes has left, but think about it. For the average fan, that just means picking up a pen, crossing one name off the depth chart and moving the rest up a notch.

Now, as Joe said jokingly, it's the "Terrible Three" that take to the field to fight it out for the number one and number two spot on the roster. It's not a prizefight, but it's certainly the main event as all eyes will now be even more focused on the battle for NU's top signal-caller position this year. It's not phasing Dailey though, because he refuses to take anything but the best philosophy for him.

"I just want to win."

Steve Ryan can be reached at or 402-730-5619

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