One thing we should take away from the first two weeks of Matt Rhule’s tenure is that you can do a lot of great things as a football coach but if you do not get the quarterback position right then it does not matter.
This week against Northern Illinois we might end up seeing Heinrich Haarberg or Chubba Purdy start for Nebraska. As Coach Rhule said on Monday, if Jeff Sims is healthy then he is the starter. At this point I do not believe that Sims has practiced this week.
Rhule is still going with Sims to be the starter. I agree with him. I know there are many who would disagree.
Moving on. Kind of.
I want the Nebraska Football program to be successful. I am rooting for Matt Rhule to figure this out because from where I am sitting he has done a lot of good things. I will name three of them.
The first thing that has jumped out to me is that the tackling and physicality of this team is beyond what we have seen during the Frost and Riley era.
That’s a good start.
A great start.
Second, is that there has already been development along the offensive and defensive lines. Against Colorado last Saturday there was a time where there were three true freshmen on the field on defense at the defensive line positions. That is insane. A good omen if you ask me. Nebraska is currently 8th in rushing defense in the country. That will change as the season goes on but I’ll take it at the moment.
There are freshmen in the two deep on the offensive line as well.
The future at both the offensive and defensive lines sure look good.
Third, his demeanor on the sideline and at press conferences looks like somebody who has a plan and knows what he is going. He isn’t defensive. He answers questions. As Rhule said, “these are only words” but I think it goes much deeper than just answering hard questions. It’s a sign of leadership and his players should know what to expect.
There are other things that Rhule has going for himself I could list but that is as far down that rabbit hole I feel like traveling today.
Still, with all of that said the tale of Nebraska Football and Matt Rhule will be an unfortunate one until they figure out the quarterback position.
The plan for the rest of the season, at this point, is Jeff Sims. We can argue back and forth about it all day long. As far as Corn Nation writers we are almost evenly split on whether Sims should be benched.
There are ten games left and unless Sims is injured it appears he will be the starter. He could end up breaking out of his turnover slump or he will continue to be the player he has always been leading back to his time at Georgia Tech.
But what about the future?
Sims is not a senior and can choose to come back to Nebraska for another year. Or he could jump to the NFL (which at this point does not look likely). So next year the quarterback room will look the same except for any quarterbacks that come in from the 2024 recruiting class or the transfer portal.
Nebraska chose not to take a quarterback for it’s 2023 recruiting class.
It appears to me that if they don’t think Purdy or Haarberg will make a big jump and that Sims continues to underperform that Rhule might be forced to go to the transfer portal again to get a quarterback.
That is not ideal but again Rhule could do nine things right but if number 10 is him getting the quarterback position wrong then those first nine things do not matter.
Right now for the 2024 recruiting class they have a commitment from Daniel Kaelin out of Bellevue West. This past summer he skyrocketed up the charts for Nebraska fans. After Nebraska missed out on Donovan Raiola’s nephew they jumped right to Kaelin (as was the plan). Kaelin then went to the Elite 11 camp and impressed.
Unfortunately, through the early part of the season Kaelin and Bellevue West have struggled. They are currently 2-2 with a 45-12 loss to Westside. Kaelin has not put up great numbers. With that said we need to be honest and fair to remind ourselves that there could be many reasons why he has not performed as well as we hoped. Apparently, there significant issues outside of Kaelin on the offensive side of the ball at Bellevue West.
What else for the quarterback position from the 2024 recruiting class? It sounds like, from Bryan Muson of on3.com, while Nebraska still has Daniel Kaelin as the guy, they are also looking into Westside’s Anthony Rezac at quarterback. From Bryan Munson:
The Huskers may be keeping another Omaha quarterback interested and warm. Anthony Rezac, from Omaha (Neb.) Westside posted on his social media that he was invited to the home opener this weekend.
Rezac, whose Westside team just beat Kaelin and Bellevue West last weekend, is widely considered to be the best quarterback in Omaha, if not the state of Nebraska. His Westside team is crushing opponents, and he has played a significant role in their success.
Could Nebraska take two quarterbacks in 2024? That could be a definite possibility.
The question we need to wonder is should we expect either of those quarterbacks to contribute and help during the 2024 season? That likely will not be the case.
So next season it might look like this in the quarterback room: Jeff Sims. Heinrich Haarberg. Chubba Purdy. Daniel Kaelin, Anthony Rezac.
Put a gun to my head and I think that unless Jeff Sims shows some signs that he can run the offense and can put his turnover issues behind him that Matt Rhule and Marcus Satterfield might be looking to the portal for next season.
Hopefully it does not get to that point as there are still 10 games left in the current season. Whatever Rhule does, I hope he gets this right.