Our spring preview series is beginning. Really don’t care if it’s me or a media member, this is a bit ridiculous because none of us have any idea what Rhule and his staff will value. But we can talk about who is coming back and what we’ve added.
Returning Scholarship: Starter Casey Thompson, Chubba Purdy, Logan Smothers, Heinrich Haarberg, Richard Torres
Returning Walk-Ons: Cooper Hausmann, Mikey Pauley,
Additions: Jeff Sims (Georgia Tech)
This is an interesting one. We have 6 scholarship players with 2 walk-ons at our spring practices. Interesting how you ask? Logan Smothers committed to Troy Walters, Matt Lubick is here when he gets on campus, change to Whipple for last year, and now has Satterfield. 4 different OCs since he’s been a part of Nebraska in one form or another. Basically every single one of these guys were committed to a different offense and coaching staff except Sims.
We return Casey Thompson, who Nebraska fans saw just what we were capable with him when our offense looked extremely inept while he was out last year and Purdy came in. Will guys like Chubba get a new lease on their career with Rhule here? Or was it a glimpse of what we could expect there? Guys like Haarberg and Torres are just starting their development so there’s not a ton of information on them.
But let’s be honest, this comes down to the Sims and Thompson show. Rhule knows just how good our team looked when Thompson was starting. However, Matt Rhule has stated many time publicly that in college a QB run game is an equalizer and often a game changer. Casey Thompson rushed for negative yards last year. While I know some faithful Husker fans will blame the OL or tell you that he’s better than that stat, a viable rushing QB will never end the season with negative rushing yards.
I’ll go ahead and say it, I predict Sims to be our starter against Minnesota. As mentioned, Rhule wants a running threat, and then couple it with people he trusts saying this:
I mean… it’s tough to not think with Casey Thompson being limited at best this spring and people that Rhule trusts telling him to get Sims and he’s an NFL guy that Rhule won’t just hitch his wagon on his guy. Further, with Thompson not being able to show his full ability this spring, it gives Sims everything he needs to win the job or at minimum be the leader in the clubhouse heading into summer workouts.
But this situation reminds me a bit of when Tanner Lee transferred here from a lesser program and you heard “that’s an NFL talent” from all the talking heads. While i’d agree on his arm, everything else wasn’t. So will this be another case of us being told what an unbelievable QB talent we had transfer in, only to falter and go 4-8 again?
What I worry about
Look, when I heard Sims was coming here, one of the first things I knew was we were getting a dude that could run and had not a great arm. If there’s anything we learned from Martinez, McCaffrey, and Smothers the last 4-5 years it’s that accuracy is extremely necessary. You don’t have to have an elite arm you just have to be able to make great decisions in a quick manner and get the ball there. With Sims he’s unbelievably athletic, but is he just gonna sail footballs to our receivers? I think Sims is the guy but we will sacrifice things that are pretty crucial if he ends up our starter.
Why Casey could be the guy
It’s gonna be tough because he will be behind the curve. Everyone is learning a new offense and practicing and Thompson won’t have the reps. But I do think that eventually you have to complete some passes. If a defense can just pad the box against Sims and make him have to throw to beat them, his athleticism doesn’t matter at all.
If Rhule is going to make our OL as good as he is claiming, just roll with Thompson and have your OL open holes for our RBs and don’t rely on the QB run game. It’s easier in my opinion overall to do that when you can rely on a QB to complete the passes he should and already know running isn’t a great option with him. What gets difficult for OCs is when they call the correct pass play but a guy like Sims can’t complete it. You don’t have to worry about that with Thompson. That’s a huge advantage.
But make no mistake about it, a limited Casey Thompson has a long ways to go to get the starting job. Sims working with the 1s all spring and then leading summer workouts leaves a very big hill for Thompson to climb this fall once he’s back in front of the coaches. Remember, CT didn’t have an option to transfer anywhere else. It was go to the NFL or come back.
Again, i’m taking Sims with Thompson a close second. I feel we will lose 1 if not 2 scholarship QBs after spring which will be good since we need to clear some scholarship space. Who leaves will be interesting, and very telling for what Rhule and Satterfield are focusing on.
But with barely any returning production at the WR spot for 2023, any continuity Thompson had to bring a leg up to the competition basically isn’t there. And if Rhules people were telling him to go get this NFL talent transfer QB, I think he’s going to lean on them a bit. I just hope if it is Sims there is some sort of exemption for Thompson to be able to transfer and go start somewhere.
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4 thoughts on “Spring 2023 Position Previews: Quarterbacks”
I’m with you on the QB deal, if Sims can’t pass to save his life and if they can’t magically get WR’s open so much that it doesn’t matter, We will see CT out there but i think being asked to be more of a runner. he showed the ability to run but seemingly was able to pass enough to a certain really fast WR that it didn’t matter..
I think scrambles like CT had and actual called runs are very different situations. I just don’t see CT as that. That said, don’t see Raiola as that either and we are going HARD after that kid.
I’m still not sure that we’ve ever seen Thompson fully healthy. He looked really good last year at times but other times he seemed like he was just off. Casey is a capable runner but it seemed like he was very hesitant to take off and get the yards when they were there. It’s also hard to say if the previous staff basically instructed him not to run because they obviously didn’t feel good about what they had behind him. As far as the other guys go it could really depend on how the Sims vs Thompson battle shakes out. If Thompson wins QB1 and Sims is QB2 Purdy may want to move on. But if Sims wins out and Thompson transfers maybe he takes his shot at being QB2. (For the record I think Purdy is better than what he showed last year. Smothers seems like a great team guy and I really hate how things worked out for him here with four different coordinators as you alluded to. I fully expect him to move on to a lower level school to get playing time somewhere.
I’d agree with you there, so what would we be judging Thompson on? Further, he’s not fully healthy this spring. I wonder if Rhule would weigh him not being healthy that often into the starter situation?