Controversies aren't always good

I know everyone loves a position argument. Who will play here? Who starts? It's fun. It's something to pass the time. But sometimes it's better to actually know. You know what I mean? And in particular when you are talking about perhaps the most important position on the field. But we don't know, and nobody is saying. Is that a good thing? I don't know.

There's a quarterback controversy in Lincoln.

Anti-climatic? Obvious? Duhh?

Maybe.

I know, I know, ‘there's always a quarterback controversy', you would reply. And that's everywhere, not just Lincoln.

It's the nature of the game. It's the nature of fandom. It's the other guy who should be starting for the team.

But here's the difference with this quarterback controversy versus the stereotypical one: Everyone is the other guy.

There are a host of fans who think senior Zac Lee will be the guy. Not that he should be, but will be.  His performance last year was pretty ho-hum, and nobody is quite sure how much that injury impacted his overall performance. But he did start every game but two, and it seemed pretty obvious that the coaches looked at him as the safe choice as the season wore along.

Martinez' ability to run has apparently
trumped in many fan's minds, the need
to throw in this offensive system, which
doesn't seem to be clearly defined as
as of yet.

Well, you have what seems to be a growing number of fans that now say Taylor Martinez should be the guy. Not that he will be, but should be.

Why?

Because Martinez is actually the other guy.

He hasn't played a snap in a real game. Of course he should be the guy.

‘But Steve, did you see him in the Spring game? He looked pretty good.'

Yep, I sure did. And I saw a guy who could run like an option quarterback and he kind of threw like one, too.

Now don't get going on that as if I am bashing on the ability to throw when it comes to the likes of former legends at Nebraska such as Eric Crouch, Tommie Frazier, Scott Frost, Turner Gill and so on.

Heck, Turner Gill might be one of the best pure throwing quarterbacks Nebraska has had, regardless of the system.

I am saying that in an option system, you didn't have to be excellent. You had to be efficient. And passing brilliance was defined by completing it when it mattered versus completing every pass you threw.

In those days if you threw it 25 times in a game, that meant you were losing and were trying to make up ground.

In that system, you bet, Martinez would be the guy, and I would move on about my day talking about other things like two-week traffic jams in China.

But last time I checked when Shawn Watson has chosen to be at least somewhat open about what he wants to do, I haven't been inclined to think at any point that he's thinking of a run-to-pass ratio of about 3-to-1.

What about Cody Green?

Nobody seems to be even talking about him. Heck, some people are saying he should redshirt this year.

Redshirt?

Really?

Why?

One big reason was that Green committed the unforgivable sin of not being perfect as a true freshman. His passes weren't always on target. Sometimes he threw into crowds. He wasn't flawless. He wasn't the instant savior of a struggling offense.

He was a freshman, and a true one at that.

And now, apparently, he's become the symbolic name given to the last player taken in the NFL Draft.

Some have even supplanted his name with those of players who haven't even arrived. Bubba Starling and Jamal Turner, both very highly touted signal-callers, suddenly have more street cred than a player who has been here for over a year now.

That's kind of funny, because one might never make it to Nebraska, because he could get selected in the first round of the major league draft, and the other could end up at wide receiver.

Has Green become Mr. Irrelevant?

I'm just sayin'.

And then let's throw in a recent comment by Head Coach Bo Pelini saying that the picture at quarterback was becoming a little clearer. He wouldn't expand on that, of course, but my guess is that many fans have taken that, ran with it and named either Lee or Martinez as the starter with Green now being quietly pushed into the background.

But the coaches haven't done that. Point of fact, for me, that's the biggest reason why I think this QB race is as wide open as its been in years. Certainly more wide open than it was when Sam Keller was brought in off the waiver wire to take the reins at NU. The coaches insisted there was a quarterback battle going on the entire time leading up to Keller being officially named the starter.

Yeah, whatever.

Watson didn't take that approach the very next season when Bo Pelini came in and Joe Ganz seemed to be the guy.

He was the guy, and both Watson and Pelini made sure everyone knew it.

Coming out of Spring there was only one player on either side of the ball that Bo came out and said was number one.

Ganz

And Watson never hesitated to say it, and even gushed over Ganz as to why he was the guy.

It went to such an extreme that for a moment I thought that maybe they were doing this, because Ganz needed that kind of support to boost his confidence.

Then I remembered it was Joe Ganz we were talking about.

You know, Mr. two-minute Joe Ganz. You know, the guy who Nathan Swift said was in his element when the game was on the line. No, it didn't always work out, but how many times last year did you see situations with the offense and think to yourself that Joe would have made something happen – he could have gotten that team into the end zone.

That's not a quarterback with a confidence problem. And that means when Bo said he was the man as well as Watson, it was because they believed it, up and down.

You don't hear that now, do you?

I haven't heard a single word or sentence that would lead me to believe any one guy has the edge, even a microscopic one.

Watson isn't saying it. Bo isn't saying it. Even the fans aren't all coming out and saying one guy is the guy for NU.

If you can't help but look at the positive, that means there is competition at the position, nobody feels safe and this will ultimately make all of them better.

If you can't help but look at the other, if you have three quarterbacks who are still legit candidates, you don't have one.

All that experience they have on the offense this year, should make this group a completely different looking unit than it was last year. I won't say it's going from bumbling to brilliant, but this should be a very solid unit this season.

But if the quarterback doesn't work, all that experience isn't going to amount to much unless you are indeed running it almost three times more than you are putting it in the air.

How much can they really depend on the quarterback this year?

How much can they really do?

Do you know?

Does anyone?

I don't.

I guess for once we actually do have to wait for the season to begin and maybe even a few games in, before we have a clue who the starting quarterback will be.

Maybe this is just me, but as much as I love a quarterback controversy, this really isn't the kind of controversy you'd like to have. You would probably want to go into the year knowing who is going to help you the most versus trying to figure out who is going to hurt you the least.

I won't say that's where Nebraska is at right now, but based on last year, this isn't a choice between Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. You make up your own names in regard to where you think this situation is at. But there's a controversy all right.

And I honestly have absolutely no idea who will come out on top.


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