Just a true-freshman, Hurricane quarterback Brad Kaaya has been serviceable in his first three starts, but will see an atmosphere in Lincoln unlike any other he’s experienced to date.
“I think he seems very poised. He looks like he’s in control of the offense,” said head coach Bo Pelini when asked about Kaaya. “The offense doesn’t really look much different than it did a year ago. I know they had a veteran quarterback a year ago…Obviously he’s done a good job of learning the offense and executing.”
In three contests of their own, Nebraska’s defense has generated just one turnover – a Hail Mary attempt by McNeese State that was intercepted. While Kaaya has seven touchdowns to his name, he has thrown at least one pick in all three of his starts – totally five on the year.
“Hopefully we can take advantage of the fact that he’s a young guy, but I don’t put it past anybody to come out here and play a great game and give their best effort,” said Nebraska defensive back Josh Mitchell. “I’m expecting him to come out here and try to not play like a freshman. So for us we have to do some things defensively to make him play like a freshman but his coaches are prepping him to play well and it’s up to us to play well too.”
It won’t just be on the defensive backs. Nebraska’s front four, who played their best game of the season on Saturday against Fresno State, will look to rattle Kaaya by getting constant pressure.
“That’s what we are hoping. Actually that’s not what we are hoping, that’s what we are going to do...
“We are amped and ready to go.” – Kevin Williams
Miami runs a pro-style offense according to head coach Bo Pelini and while Kaaya has shown the ability to run, he’s a pass first-type quarterback.
“He’s not going to be afraid,” said Pelini. “They’ll take him outside on some sprints, some boots and some things like that where he looks athletic, but I would say their philosophy is to throw first. He’s not a guy that can get out on the edge and pull the ball down and run a bunch of his own reads.”
On the season, Kaaya has thrown for 693 yards on 45-of-75 attempts, including over 342 yards on Saturday against Arkansas State. He was a four-star prospect and the nation’s No. 18 quarterback in last year’s class and is a former high school teammate of Nebraska running back Terrell Newby at Chaminade College Prep (CA).
“They have a good defense with a lot of returners,” Kaaya told reporters, including Scout.com on Monday. “They’ll give us a lot of looks but we just have to do our thing and execute our plays.”
Nebraska has totaled six sacks this season, hurrying quarterbacks 13 times.