Keller good for NU, NU good for Keller

The Nebraska quarterback situation next year was one that many were just left to ponder. Would Joe Ganz, Beau Davis or Brian Hildebrand step up this fall and next spring? Was Patrick Witt going to be ready to compete by fall? Well it seems that you can put those questions to rest because Nebraska has found an answer for not just next year, but for years to come.

If Nebraska fans were happy to see the entrance of Brian Hildebrand, a former Elite 11 quarterback in high school, when Harrison Beck went A.W.O.L. and ended up transferring to North Carolina State then the only way to describe the addition of Sam Keller is one of elation. Keller, formerly of Arizona State, has left the school following a bit of a starting quarterback controversy following him being named the starter only to have that changed two days later.

Call it fate for Nebraska or anything else that you would like. Looking at next year the piece of the puzzle on offense for Nebraska that was missing was at quarterback. Immediately with the addition of Keller into Nebraska's west coast offense along with Bill Callahan's NFL experience and preparing a potential professional athlete will allow Keller to come in and take advantage of a situation that will allow him to excel and prepare a little more for the next level.

The situation, before Keller came into the picture though, was at best a little cloudy when it came to discussing replacing Zac Taylor for next year's team. Joe Ganz seemed to be the frontrunner, but Beau Davis has been at Nebraska just as long. You should also take into consideration entrance of former Elite 11 quarterback Brian Hildebrand who is walking on as a potential suitor for the starting job. There was also talk about the possibility of Patrick Witt being a real contender for the position.

Putting all of the potential candidates aside, when you add Keller you get your piece of the puzzle in a big way. Nebraska offensively could be very potent in 2007. Adding Keller makes weapons like Terrence Nunn, Maurice Purify, Nate Swift and the stable of running backs that much more dangerous. Also, Nebraska is looking at relatively light losses across the offensive line which should provide Keller with the type of protection needed to take advantage of those offensive weapons.

Beyond the situation being perfect for Keller is how perfect this situation is for Nebraska. First, talk about Keller's credentials. Before getting hurt in 2005, Keller was 155-for-264 with 2,165 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Keller was widely considered to be a top NFL quarterback prospect as well. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and having good athleticism he is a prototypical type of quarterback for this system.

This also should quiet the questions about Nebraska "needing" a junior college transfer for this spring. It seems that you have now given Patrick Witt 1.5 years to really get ready to guide this offense. That buffer will be spent behind the proven signal caller in Keller, but also Witt gets to be his under-study, learn the system with Keller, develop mentally and physically in Lincoln and doesn't have to worry about not getting enough time before being asked to play.

This also gives Nebraska some good publicity. The type of publicity that should pay huge dividends when it comes to recruiting future quarterbacks and something that the current quarterback commit, Witt, has already realized. Nebraska is a great place for quarterbacks with NFL dreams to attend. With Zac Taylor, Nebraska will more than likely have the first quarterback from its west coast offense get drafted by an NFL team. With Keller, Nebraska will have back to back quarterbacks drafted into the league in consecutive years.

While Keller isn't a long-term answer on the surface, he helps Nebraska get to that corner in the long-run. Hopes are high about the abilities and intelligence of Witt to come in and really develop into a great quarterback. The buffer year that Witt now appears to be able to receive could allow Nebraska to really be staring in the face of having a four-year starter potentially starting in 2008.

There are also great hurdles that Keller could help Nebraska get over and be part of. First, USC comes to Lincoln for the second half of a home and home series which is a game that fans that can't travel to California will have circled on their calendars. Nebraska also gets a chance to head down to Austin to play Texas. Not many head into Austin and come out winners, but having a guy like Keller at the helm with the rest of the offensive firepower that he will have at his disposal won't hurt Nebraska's chances in trying to leave town with a win.

So call it fate. Call it a match made in heaven. Call it the answer to a lot of questions about the quarterback depth next year. Whatever you want to call it call it good for Nebraska and good for Keller.


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