LINCOLN, Neb. - Despite a fourth-year starter returning at the helm, the Nebraska quarterback spot will be one with extra attention put on it this spring by media and fans.
Freshman Patrick O'Brien hits Lincoln as an early enrollee and had tons of hype surrounding his recruitment.
On Wednesday, Nebraska head coach Mike Riley was asked how he would rotate the quarterbacks through the 15 spring practices.
“The quarterback deal is, Tommy [Armstrong] is going to obviously be with the ‘A’ group, and he will take the first turns and we will team him with Ryker [Fyfe] a lot, right away, those guys will alternate with their group," said Riley. "The other group will probably alternate the other three quarterbacks, AJ Bush, Zack Darlington, and of course our freshman Patrick O’Brien. Now, we also have the option to be able to bring one of those guys over to rotate with Ryker and Tommy when we want to. We haven’t really talked about when or how that is going to occur, but that is the hardest position. There is one spot and that is why it is very important and kind of a residual bonus to be able to practice with two teams because otherwise you are talking about five quarterbacks and getting them adequate work with one field and one team [which] would be hard to do. So we are looking at being able to provide five guys a pretty good number of turns that way."
The quarterback spot will feature five scholarship players this fall, with No. 6 hitting Lincoln in the summer - former Tulane starter Tanner Lee.
“I think generally [five quarterbacks] it is, and probably that would be what we would always try to keep it at," said Riley. "When you get a little bit smaller you might feel a little bit nervous at some times or you might be lacking in some part of the development phase of quarterbacks being able to take over whenever you give them the opportunity to do that. The other part is, I have really been guilty of this, is having too many guys, I think I might have told you before that, that room was full. They don’t get to do enough and it kind of waters down what you want to do with the quarterbacks that need to get ready to play in the games, and you really don’t get a chance to develop the people like that. Five, I don’t know if it is a magic number, but it’s close to what we have been shooting for.”