For Joe Dailey, Mike Stuntz, Garth Glissman and Zach Miller, when this time is an opportunity to show what you have if to climb or maintain your spot on the depth chart, it's rather a time where the depth chart is the last thing that any of them are pondering.
It's learning time.
A new offense and for some, a vastly new offense, something that
they haven't even glimpsed until the new Nebraska coaches took the field. QB
coach, Jay Norvell said that it's a time where there's very little time to
Joe Dailey looks to learn, while
still vying to keep the job as heir-
apparent to QB, Jammal Lord.
Spinning with new formations, new plays, new terminology, the entire process is expectedly slow, but Norvell is confident of the progress his signal-callers are making. "They are coming along." he stated. "They got a lot better today and they are learning some of the things we are asking them to do and we're pleased so far with their progress."
Much has been made of what the quarterbacks would know once Spring practice did finally start. Having had some looks at the playbook, would the quarterbacks have a leg up on at least understanding what was expected of them, fundamentally speaking? Norvell stated that while some knowledge about the system might have been there for them prior to actual practices, it's the practices themselves that really make the difference. "We can't really work with them until the first day of practice." he said. "It's not like we can work on schemes in the off-season."
"The very first day of Spring practice is when we started on their schemes and they are learning a lot of new terminology. It's like learning a new language. It's new to them but they are doing a good job of adjusting and learning."
From last year to this year, though the coaching regime has been different, the name that keeps popping up is that of New Jersey native, Joe Dailey. The apparent heir to the throne following the graduation of Jammal Lord, Dailey has been the odds-on favorite to take the starting spot come fall.
He like Stuntz, Glissman and Miller however is in the same boat according to Norvell and he's learning at the same rate as well. "Joe is just like everybody else." Norvell stated. "He's gotten a lot of things thrown at him. The game moves really fast when you don't understand the finer points of it and you haven't had a chance to run it."
QB coach, Jay Norvell looks to
acclimate his new group of QBs to
the West Coast offense.
While Dailey would seem to be the initial popular choice, Norvell stated that the choices they have right now are the four aforementioned QBs. And, the process of evaluation in trying to determine just who will be THE man come the Spring game isn't constrained solely to what they do on the field. "We evaluate them everyday." he said. "We evaluate them in meetings. We evaluate them in how they handle their film study. We evaluate them in practice, so everyday, every kid gets evaluated when they walk on the field."
Not amongst the current group of competitors for the job are incoming freshmen, Joe Ganz, Beau Davis and another favorite to compete for early time, Jordan Adams. Players, each from systems more similar to the "West Coast" offense than systems the current quarterbacks have played in, the only apparent disadvantage for each is not stepping on the field, but when.
Having to wait until at least May before any one of the new commits show up, these players will have to wait until Fall before they can practice as the current group already is, but time-frame notwithstanding, Norvell didn't see their learning curve any different once they are able to practice with the team. "They'll have some carry-over from their high school offenses and junior college offenses." Norvell stated. "But, they'll have some adjustments just like our guys are doing right now."
"Just like anybody coming into a new situation, just like these guys are learning right now."
The depth chart will no doubt change and then, change again. It's doubtful that even the final depth chart you see after the Spring game on April 17th, that's the last you will see of changes in where personnel are slotted.
It's not a concern to Norvell at this time, because he isn't even looking at the players as one or two, but as a group that all has to learn the same thing. "That really means nothing right now." Norvell said of the movements on the depth chart. "We want to see guys practice and try to execute the things we are trying to implement. That's what we are trying to do everyday and it's a work in progress."
The team will hold it's fourth straight practice tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. and get a one-day break before resuming the Spring session once more.
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-730-5619