Bad Quarterback, Good Team?

It's hard to recall a recent season where there's been less enthusiasm going in about the quarterback position.  In 2009, Nebraska probably saw its worst performances at quarterback and yet had its best season under Bo Pelini.  Is that just an odd fluke or might there actually be some strange benefit to a limited quarterback.


Former Ohio State quarterback Woody Hayes was credited with saying only three things can happen when you throw a pass and two of them are bad.  By that logic, if you don't throw the ball very often, you might win a lot.  That was certainly the case for Hayes' teams.  

If you think about it, a lot of the most damaging plays for an offense come on passing plays.  You've got interceptions, sacks, and fumbles by the quarterback to name a few.  When you're high on your quarterback, you roll the dice more often and dial up passing plays.  When the trust isn't fully there, you play it safe - which isn't always a bad idea.

Cody Green was never an explosive option at quarterback, but whether it was for Nebraska or Tulsa, he won a lot of games.  That seemed in part due to the recognition of his limitations.  No one asked Green to thrown the ball fifty times in a game.  Instead, they asked him not to lose the game and he was able to play smart enough to allow the players around him to make plays to win the game.

That's not to say you wouldn't want to have another Tommie Frazier.  But a tantalizing talent like Taylor Martinez could make a bunch of big positive plays yet manage to seemingly do equal or greater damage with negative plays.  Tommy Armstrong may not be the next Turner Gill or Russell Wilson, but the fact that his coaches know that may keep them from taking needless risks.  It may not produce the most exciting brand of offensive football, but it can be very quietly effective.

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Comments 30 comments so far

Woody Hayes was Ohio State’s coach, he never played quarterback there.

What a DUMB artilcal

Come on guys, its just one article, and I don’t think there is any reason to be over critical.  I for one am happy to read anything about the Huskers and if you don’t like the article, be nice about it and keep it to yourself.

Keeping things positive is always helpful for everyone!

I don’t remember Cody Green winning a lot of games at NU. I don’t recall him winning any. He through a total of 5 TD’s and 3 picks when he was at NU. I’m pretty sure you don’t win a lot of games with stats like that. 2009 was one of NU’s best QB performances, and the QB was Zac Lee. A good consistent passer that didn’t turn the ball over, and didn’t piss games down his leg.

Don’t be so cynical.  Steve’s thought process is to the effect that you don’t necessarily need an All-American at QB in order to win games.  If a team has the talent to offset QB deficiencies with execution of solid game plans and the avoidance of “no brainer” mistakes, a team like NU should do quite well.  NU has enough talent to compete with anyone in the B10 this fall.  BOP’s decision to hang with TM to the exclusion of anyone else, likely hurt recruiting.  As it stand right now, TA and Stanton’s presence on the team should not dissuade a legitimate QB candidate from coming to NU.

The 2014 regular season results will be impacted as much by how smart BOP and his underlings will have coached the games as opposed to whatever mistakes the players commit.

Highlights of this comments section so far:
“e through a total of 5 TD’s”

Woops threw   My bad Bill   will you forgive me?

I get the gist of the article, but I think you need a good-to-great QB to win a championship (Big 10 or otherwise).  Any QB can win a game, but to win the big ones, I think they need something extra, even if its great decision-making ability.  The biggest concern for most of us I think is that TA appears to be turnover prone.  We simply cannot have that and this problem did not appear to be rectified by the spring game.  We have shown over the last several years that we can’t overcome that problem enough.  It has bitten us against both good and bad teams.  If TA can be a good game manager, fine, but he needs to protect the football first and foremost.  That really goes for our offense as a whole…

Also, I don’t think Beck is afraid to take chances even with questions at QB.  Look at the 99 yd play against Georgia! TA was becoming stagnant in the game and had just gotten sacked at the time. I think we all love that play, but we also know we were pretty fortunate everything went our way on it…gutsy call sure, but lucky in some ways.  I’m just not sure Beck goes all conservative this year regardless of the QB.  He tends to overthink things at times too. At least this offense will have enough play makers where one can get a little creative and be ok.

Don’t forget, AJ McCarrin (sp?) at ‘Bama wasn’t a world beater for most of his career, yet his teams did quite well under his leadership.  Those teams were loaded with talent to compensate for the more average ability QB situation.

NU has enough talent (if coached up) to compensate for having an average QB at the helm.  Beck will need to play to TA’s strengths (by the way, can someone describe TA’s strengths?) and push offensively, what results in reliable ball control and play calling that minimizes unnecessary risks.

I think TA runs the option well, and he seems to have a strong arm.

I hate it that we have a relatively unproven, and not too impressive QB right now. Some excitement there would be great.
You can say you don’t need a great QB to win big, and that may be true in a lot of situations, but I think there are many more situations where a team is where they are BECAUSE of a good to great QB. How many great QB’s have you seen lead their team to glory…ala Tommy Frazier.

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that the style of offense plays a HUGE role in how many turnovers a team has.  Many of NB’s turnover problems in recent years stem from two things: running option plays which inherently carry a higher risk of fumbles; and the QB has also been asked to run the ball a lot, and QBs always have more problems with ball control than RBs.  It’s pretty easy to see why NB typically has more TOvers than say Wisconsin or Iowa, who never run option and never ask their QB to run the ball.  NB runs their offense, of course, because of the risk/reward factor—the rewards of the option and an explosive QB can be great and tough to defend.

I think Tommie’s success had more to do with everything he had around him than him being just a great QB.  You are giving him to much credit for where this team was, put a poor defense with him and we see different results, and a line that was so banged up we had 3rd string guys in there.  I am not saying he wasn’t a great QB.

Kno’ what?  For the love of Bo Schembechler, STOP quoting Woody Hayes and his stupid line that’s supposed to be ‘profound’, but no, it ain’t profound t’all.

“Former Ohio State quarterback Woody Hayes was credited with saying only three things can happen when you throw a pass and two of them are bad.”

Really?  Well, guess what, same shit happens when you run the ball, 2 of ‘ems BAD:  ya either gain yds, lose yards, or fumble.

Maybe it’s just me that has an eye for the cornpletely obvious, I dunno, its a fuhball blog, whaddya gonna do…..

Green barely got a chance @ Nebraska to show his stuff—so stop going there too—but no, he wasn’t as good as Tater.  He became somewhat of a beast @ Tulsa though, I wouldnt want to tackle him, and his throwing greatly improved.

As to TA, I’m thinking Mike Grant here, Jamal Lord type thing.  Good, not great, maybe, who knows, maybe he’ll be better than that, I hope so.

“Keeping things positive is always helpful for everyone!”

Another ‘positivity’ nazi, fresh from a Tony Robbins weekend seminar, I presume.  The Positive Thinkers are worse than evangelical Crustians, well, alotta the time they is one and the same person up in your face all ‘yuckity yuck’ and such.

How ‘bout a drone strike @ your daughters wedding, everyone killed?  Put a positive spin on that one for me…

NU Realista

“Don’t be so cynical.”

I must be hallucinating.  The absolute totalitarian Csar of Cynicism, criticizing others for their ‘cynicism’.

I am in awe of this degree of lack of self awareness.  In fact, you deserve a prize for that one, Senhor Realistinha, for real.  Respek:

“Woody Hayes was Ohio State’s coach, he never played quarterback there.”

WTF you come ‘round here botherin’ us with small details like that for, ‘J’?  C’mon it’s ‘N’uhbraska, Home of ‘N’owledge.  ‘N’owledge is like ‘Brasketball’, it resembles that which it pretends to be, but it’s diff’ern’t.  We puts our own ‘spin’ on it.

“I think TA runs the option well, and he seems to have a strong arm.”

Oh no you di’n't just say Tommy Armstrong ‘seems’ to have a ‘strong arm’.  Ain’t that cute.

You know what goes good with chicken and waffles TDawwg. I bet you do. It be watermelon, and after that it be some colt 45, and after that maybe ill smoke me some crack.


Can’t say as I’ve ever had a Colt 45 Malt liqour, they still make that stuff—from Passaic river water, right, Paterson, NJ?

Used to have Schlitz and Falstaff growing up, what my dad drank—since they were set up in Bugaha and such.  I can’t do anything less than a straight up Budweiser—which I think is a good beer, BTW.  PBR, naw, sorry, not that desparate.  But everybody ‘round this one horse hick town here is into the Bud Light thing, that is, they are:  FUCKING STUPID!

I like a cold Grain Belt every once in a while. Now that I think about it, its Colt 44, not 45. I think they still make it. I’m a big fan of the Chapel show. Ever see the episode when he did The Sam Adams commercial.


I will have to try this, ‘Grain Belt’, nvr heard of it before.  Yeah, 45, that’s the gun Uncle Sam want’s take from ya.

I nvr followed Dave Chappelle’s show that closely, but I thought he was great in movies, funniest guy on the set.

I’m out here in Sam Adams country and Saranac, Yuengling, Rolling Rock(meh)and many many fine micro brews of which I partake.  For stout, though, Guinness is still the one, have tried all the others and they don’t compare.  DogFish stout kicked my ass one night, wow, high ETOH content.

admirala, you’re a frikk’n dumbass. It’s 45. Let craptain out, he can teach you pussy’s about booze and slobber.

Triumph ruff~ don’t confuse “cynicism” with speaking the truth and the listener not agreeing with such truth.  Those who do not tolerate mediocrity or the bigotry of low expectations are surely not cynics. 

Ruff, T-Dogg—- Ruff, Ruff!!!

WTF..Now we’re all happy we have a QB that fumbles, throws picks, gets rattled easily, but can’t run very well?  Strong arm though.  Sounds to me like you’re expecting it might be a great year…. for the Beer and antacid Companys anyway.  I sincerely hope TA finds his comfort zone this year and settles into being a better and more confident QB, the players and Coaches all seem to have a lot of confidence in him and I’d really like to share in that “irrational exuberance”.


Yer idea of Truth is ‘ruff’, ‘ruff’ ruff’ ‘round the edges.  And PLZ, for the love of all that is good and holy, STOP with the, “bigotry of low expectations”, line.  We get it, we got it, like a million times—even though it’s weak and doesnt really make any sense t’all.  Come up with a new line, new material.

TDogg ~  now that you admit you have a problem (AA 12 step program???) that is the first step.  Now, raising the proverbial bar just a little higher (it’s okay to take ‘baby steps’) to expect and demand more from the University concerning its irrelevant NU football program would be a good start.

TDogg——Go For It!!!


Speaking of raising the bar, Admirala did an ‘admiral-able’ job of raising the bar in his, like you, highly suspect ability to perceive the, uh, realistissimo.  ‘Ghetto is a lifestyle CHOICE’, I paraphrase.  Haha, still shaking my head and laughing about that one, in fact, I dont think that one can be topped, I couldn’t even have come up with that one in one of my satiric flurries.  However,  maybe, if you give it your all, you have a chance, even a decent chance.  I’m pullin’ for ya…

Admiral ~ Chappel’s bit when he was the blind bigot who hated African Americans and he was African American.  He shows up at a Clan rally bad mouthing minorities wearing a hood.  Suddenly, he pulls his white hood off and those in attendance go speechless.  Gasp!!!  One audience member’s head explodes.  It was hillarious.  The buddy of Chappel’s character in the skit didn’t have the heart to tell him he was black.  Chappel then flips out when he finds out he is married to an African American women.

Chappel’s comedy is hilarious.

I notice TA is getting some QB lessons from Brett Favre, maybe a good thing, maybe not so much.

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