clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Husker Quarterback: Zac Lee's Backup? Kody Spano - The Man No One Knows

While the Husker coaches haven't officially named a starter yet, there's little doubt that it's going to be Zac Lee. It doesn't leave for a lot of drama, and that's not such a bad thing considering the players the Huskers have to replace from last year's record-setting offense. Lee doesn't have much experience, having played in only two games and attempted two passes with one completion. Lee does have the benefit of having been around long enough to learn Shawn Watson's offense, and the buzz is that he's more athletic than Joe Ganz. Of course, that's easy to say - just like voting for the politician who doesn't have a track record. 

Kody Spano is the guy no one talks about. Ideally, Spano plays well enough to win the backup role.  He came into the program without a lot of fanfare after being the only quarterback in Bo Pelini's initial recruiting class. He sat out his freshman year, taking a redshirt season.  He suffered a knee injury in the spring so no one got to see him in the Red White Spring Game. He has had a year to learn the offense, while at the same time is somewhat of an enigma because he is the only Nebraska quarterback that fans haven't seen play. There is no buzz about him. Fans don't talk about his speed or his abilities as a dual-threat quarterback. They don't talk about his arm - hell, fans don't talk about him at all. 

Cody Green arrived on campus early to much fanfare last spring and LaTravis Washington received a lot of press because of his switch from linebacker. Both played reasonably well in the spring game, with Washington completing 21 of 31 passes for 190 yards. Washington is the wildcard here - recall the comments during spring practice about how strong his arm is and that the receivers were complaining about how hard he threw the ball. If we know something about the other three, we know absolutely nothing about Spano.

The key with Washington is that he doesn't need to learn the whole offense to be effective as a quarterback. Consider the "ducky" formation in which Ndamukong Suh lined up at fullback, or the Joker formation which featured Marlon Lucky lined up at quarterback and you get an idea of what I'm talking about. Plug in a few plays for Washington, and he'll be a contributor. Expecting a lot more out of him than that is folly. 

An ideal situation for Cody Green is that 2009 is a redshirt season, giving him time to further develop and fully learn the offense. Pelini has already shown a desire to hold players back until he needs them, but the question is whether or not the two potential backups, Spano and Washington are capable of running the offense between them. There is o the idea that recruits might find it attractive that Pelini would allow a freshman to play quarterback, but if it doesn't fit into Pelini's overall philosophy for his program, then it's a stupid idea, isn't it? 

Let's play devil's advocate and say Zac Lee has a bad day at Missouri. Will Bo Pelini let him play through it, knowing his young quarterback is going to have to make his share of mistakes to learn, or will he sit him and put someone else in to assure a victory in a critical game in the North.  If Pelini puts someone else in, why wouldn't it be Spano?