For the better part of a month now, there has been plenty of teeth-gnashing over who the starting quarterback at Nebraska will (should) be when both Jeff Sims and Heinrich Haarberg are healthy. It appears that (for the time being) we now have an answer. Haarberg will again get the start this weekend when the fake NU (Northwestern) comes to town Saturday. Plenty of arguing has occurred, valid points made for both starters to get back/keep the job and valid points made for both starters to lose/get back the job. The overriding word however by naming Haarberg starter this week is this: consistency.
The old adage “when you have two starting quarterbacks, you have zero starting quarterbacks” has been thrown out there, so with Haarberg starting despite an allegedly healthy Sims implies that Coach Rhule likes what he sees, despite the potential limitations in the passing game. For me, keeping Heinrich as the starter only helps Nebraska, as it keeps the momentum rolling within the offense that hasn’t turned the ball over as much (except for Illinois in an ugly ass win).
Consistency within an offense, especially in the first year of a new install, is absolutely crucial. It helps build trust and continuity, which in turn improves the overall performance (theoretically). Injuries have destroyed most of what was already seen as an offensively weaker unit, but the recent play of the quarterback position has led Nebraska to wins and a more positive outlook on the rest of the season.
Consistent play from the quarterback can help turn a team that looks dismal into a decent one really quickly. Before anyone starts yelling at me (too late, I know) look at how bad the quarterback play has been in the B1G West. Only Iowa has been able to overcome it’s truly atrocious QB play, but in its defense, it has been consistently bad for years, thus proving my argument on consistency being crucial. If you want good, consistent QB play, look at the B1G East, particularly the top 4. Even Maryland has a decent QB in Taulia Tagovailoa, which is why the Terrapins have been better the last couple of years.
Heinrich Haarberg hasn’t been spectacular, but he’s doing the one thing you can ask of your starting quarterback to do consistently, which is find ways to win ballgames. In a previous article, I wrote how fans only care about two types of results, but the performances of teams are categorized in 4 ways. Consistent QB play will lead to more wins than not, so as long as it keeps improving, more wins are sure to follow. Just allow for some growing pains, as ugly wins are still wins, just as you can also play well but still lose.
Consistency is the word of the week, and it starts with the QB. Haarberg will again lead Nebraska out on Saturday, looking to keep improving. By improving from week to week, it shows another level of consistency that has been sorely lacking for nearly a decade at Nebraska. So, if this is the corner finally being turned, then it will be fun knowing rock bottom has finally been hit. Coach Rhule says to go 1-0 each week, and Nebraska has done that 3 of the last 4 weeks, which means consistency is starting to come along. A bowl game is still well within reach, and even dare I say a B1G West title, but a little more consistency will be required.