While Casey thompson has a few years of experience on Logan suffocates, and even more than that on the others, ideally Friday’s news of the addition of the transfer quarterback to Husker’s roster is seen as ‘Game On’ with the idea of the door opening for that. anyone can cross it.
After all, Nebraska offensive coordinator / QBs coach Mark Whipple will have his first glimpse of the whole group this spring, and any QB in his third year in a college system like Smothers, and maybe even Chubba purdy if he ends up joining the Husker fold, they no doubt think it’s time for them to take a step too.
We’ll see what happens with Purdy, who is slated to visit Lincoln on Jan. 14, but certainly the addition of Thompson already provides a big shake up in the coming Husker Spring. The kind of jolt we should have expected.
“I’ve sat down with every player after the season… and I’ve talked to these guys and they know we’re looking for one,” Husker head coach Scott frost said in December of his conversations with quarterbacks about NU diving into the post portal. “We can have one, maybe not. I feel good with what we have in this room, and I think these two guys are really eager to learn new things and a new guy, and I think they are eager to compete whether there is a new one or not. “
Even without this conversation, it probably wouldn’t have come as a surprise to Smothers, Heinrich haarberg and incoming freshman Richard torres, that the Huskers weren’t going to settle for three-quarter stock, which would have been a very thin line in terms of numbers. Early in his Husker tenure, Frost even once said that five stock quarters were actually an ideal number to have.
The addition of Thompson, who is technically a fifth-year junior, also provides decent spacing on the scholarship table for the Nebraska QBs. He’s now a junior, a sophomore at Smothers, a frosh redshirt in Haarberg and a real frosh in Torres, who is an early bird.
As for the competition ahead, it’s best not to assume even though the news from Thompson won’t prevent much. Smothers has so far shown Husker fans that he’s a gamer, performing in most reps he’s seen with the scoreboard on. Frost said the QB played an “excellent” three quarters in the loss to Iowa, as Nebraska led at one point by 15 points before fading in the fourth. Although Smothers only threw it seven times in the first three quarters, he struck with every pass and caused problems for the Iowa defense in the first half with his speed. He’s definitely shown he can work this triple option, which is one of NU’s best offensive weapons in 2021.
Hawkeyes Head Coach Kirk ferentz complimented Smothers after the game.
“I think he played really well, especially in the first half. It wasn’t much fun watching him, but he’s a good football player,” Ferentz said. “We had only seen him in limited shots and not really when the game was on the line. But he was clearly ready to go and you see why they trust him.”
Haarberg, meanwhile, is a prospect most knew would need at least a year behind the scenes, but has a toolkit Whipple might find useful over time. The strength of Kearney Catholic’s arms, in particular, was noticed by coaches and teammates.
“He walked in and his talent immediately stood out,” Frost said of Haarberg’s freshman year on campus. “I thought he looked good at first and sometimes when you’re overloaded with information you take a step back and from there it was just a gradual improvement.”
When asked what traits he looks for first in a QB, Frost said the first is someone who can process information quickly.
“It doesn’t matter if you can throw and run as well as anyone in the country,” added the head coach. “If you can’t see the game, have a head start and make quick, correct decisions, then not all talent in the world doesn’t matter. When you watch the greats play, they’ve got a length of ‘advance.”
Frost has commented on several occasions how much he liked the speed with which Smothers processed information. And Thompson showed signs of having that “quick flash” starting 10 games for Texas last year. He was pretty dynamic before a thumb injury against Oklahoma. He definitely swelled a Husker fan base on Friday with a social media post.
But Thompson knows from Texas experience that nothing goes easy when it comes to a QB1 tag in a power-five schedule. And Smothers, the son of a four-star coach and rookie himself, has impressed veterans like Samori Toure with the way he fared against Iowa,
“The confidence he showed surprised me. It showed a lot about his character,” Husker senior wide receiver Touré said after the game. “The timing wasn’t too great for him and I want him to continue to be confident and to continue to take matters into his own hands, and I think he can do it.”
Serious additional competition emerged on Friday, but it should have been expected. This is how it should be in Nebraska.