At today's "Pro Day", Joe Ganz opened up to the Journal-Star about the battle to replace him as Nebraska's starting quarterback and his future. He sees a lot of similarities between himself and Zac Lee, the leading candidate to be next year's starter: both are shorter, mobile quarterbacks who like to use both their legs and arms. He did say that Lee had a tendency to get "happy feet" and scramble instead of checking down to his other receivers.
"He’s learning. He’s still young. He’s a lot like me. Of course, I’m a lot smarter and a lot better looking. But he’s kind of got that ‘it’ you talk about with quarterbacks. He’s a confident kid and I think he’s going to be a good leader."
With lines like "smarter and a lot better looking", you had to imagine that team meetings with Pelini and Ganz had to be a riot at times. Both seem to have this way of getting their digs into the middle of a conversation.
Ganz is also impressed with how Green is adapting to college life and the transition to the college game. But his strongest statements revolved around the #2 quarterback from last season, Patrick Witt. Ganz couldn't believe that someone would essentially demand to be named the starting quarterback job, or else.
"First off, I would never go to Coach Pelini’s office and demand anything. I would never think about doing that to Coach. No way. I have too much respect for the guy, too much respect for his opinion and how he goes about his business and what he does and how he gets this team ready. I would never do that."
Ganz gets it. All you can do is ask for the opportunity to compete in life, and then let the chips fall where they may. If something doesn't go your way, take a step back, suck it up, and keep on trying. Running away at the first sign of adversity isn't the sign of a leader. That's why Joe Ganz was a successful quarterback. Look at some of the other guys who were going to take over at quarterback in recent years: Harrison Beck, Sam Keller, Josh Freeman, and now Witt. All highly rated physical talents. All ran away from competition at the first sign things they weren't the chosen one.
But who was the better quarterback? The two-star guy with more character than the others combined. I don't want to bag on Witt too badly, as he has two years of eligibility to learn something. But before Witt leaves Lincoln, he might want to sit down and talk to Ganz.
Ganz is going to give the NFL a shot. He won't get drafted; he doesn't have the measurables. Hopefully, he'll get a free agent deal. He might have to try his game up in Canada. Sadly, Arena Football and NFL Europe don't exist; those would be another way for him to work his game to the next level.
Once Ganz finally hangs up his helmet, look for him on the sideline; very possibly in a Nebraska polo or sweatshirt. He even says it's his "dream job":
"We’re all kind of cut from the same cloth, me and Coach Pelini and Coach Wats (Shawn Watson)," Ganz said. "We were never given anything, worked for everything we got. We don’t play favorites. That’s kind of how I would be as a coach. I have two great role models to model my coaching career after. Hopefully I don’t have to do that for a while."
Witt responded to the World-Herald yesterday, saying he hadn't selected a new school.
"Joe clearly has no idea why I made the decision that I did," Witt said in a written statement, "and I don't expect him to. There is more to my life than football, and that will be evident when I decide upon my next school."