Yesterday we went over where we are so far in the season, and the numerous reasons we are 3-3 (for better or worse). One of the biggest reasons we are where we are right now is due to QB play. The transfer QB we brought in to start was the active leader in turnovers for FBS players. And our coach didn’t believe it:
I talked to Satterfield and Coach Rhule during the spring, and they mentioned to me how Sims had less interceptions every year while at Georgia Tech, and had over 50% of them his true freshman year where he may not have been ready. Further, they talked about how “we haven’t see that while here”. I was skeptical, I knew of Sims as an elite running QB but mediocre throwing the ball. The two practices I witnessed in the spring I started to see what they were talking about. Minimal bad throws, taking care of the ball, I was sold.
But then the Minnesota and Colorado game happened. Sims throws an INT to end the first half of our first game that we just needed some points. He just starts completely dropping snaps against Colorado, and eventually he is responsible for 7 turnovers in his first 6 quarters of football for the Cornhuskers. It just wasn’t meant to be.
Insert Henrich Haarberg who starts against Northern Illinois, and we have won 3 of our last 4 games and the reality of the situation is that he just isn’t losing games for us like Jeff Sims was. We should be 4-2. Our defense is playing lights out, but our offense turning the ball over those first two games had us in a bad spot.
Here’s the deal on Haarberg… I think he’s done a remarkable job at not losing us games, but for me it’s unfortunate that we are in a spot we are just having to play a QB that won’t lose for us. Nebraska is a big enough name in college football that we can get QBs that will win games for you. The fact we are in this situation means the staff really messed up with who they brought in. Allow me to give a Rhule quote that I believe in:
While Rhule is talking about position changes there, I think that’s so important as it relates to transfers. The biggest predictor on how a player is going to do is how they’ve done against FBS teams prior. We can take a gamble on good FCS players like Kolarevic, or sit there and think that since Alabama wanted Kaine Williams we should want him to and take their backups, but for me I need to see it. With Sims we saw it, the staff saw it, but they said “we can make him something different.” That just didn’t work.
I bring up “should we bring in a transfer QB” because i’ve received a ton of mixed reviews. I was at a gathering this past weekend where everyone said “absolutely you do!” But then on certain message boards you have people that say they’ve heard the staff isn’t looking for an immediate guy. For me, with Haarberg starting the rest of the year (barring injury), you are going to lose Sims and/or Purdy for sure for 2024. You bring in Kaelin, will keep Haarberg, but this staff wants at least 4 scholarship QBs. You need to be developing someone behind Haarberg. I would take another guy like Sims or Thompson, that has starting experience elsewhere. The schedule gets much tougher next year and “just don’t lose games” won’t cut it against UCLA, USC, Ohio State, and others.
But the big name to keep an eye on that everyone is thinking may come our way is Lincoln Kienholz from South Dakota who is a true freshman at Ohio State:
But here’s my thing with that… go back up to that Rhule video, and you are again hoping he is something rather than seeing it. Further, Ohio State theoretically gave him a massive NIL deal, and if they really wanted him around they would keep him for sure. I have no problem if you bring him in as a Chubba Purdy type transfer, where you start developing him to be your next starter after Haarberg or your next transfer.
I think you have to keep Haarberg, bring in Kaelin, grab a Kienholz, and get an instant impact transfer guy there as well. Our position room just is not as good as it should be right now there.
But let’s circle it back to positive for the rest of this season. As many people forget, Haarberg basically was just sent down to the scout team while he was here under Frost and got minimal coaching. There are 6 games left, what if all of a sudden he goes from a 52% passer to closer to 60%? What if all of a sudden when we start beating teams we go from 300 total yards to 400+ and not just relying on our defense? That’s possible.
Let’s see how he progresses from here.
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