Saturday, November 3, 2007
Nebraska University's new starting quarterback, Joe Ganz, is privy to leaving his cement boots on the sideline.
Because when the pocket collapses on him, Ganz has no plans to be at the bottom of a pile taking a loss of yards.
"If he has to, he'll escape and make plays," Huskers coach Bill Callahan said. "I think we saw one scramble of his late in the game against Texas down the in the red zone where he made a positive play with his feet. He has that ability."
It will be a change of pace for Nebraska, which is in Lawrence for an 11:30 a.m. game today against No. 8 Kansas University.
Ganz is making the first start of his career after serving as backup to both Zac Taylor and Sam Keller the last three seasons. Ganz floated to the top of the depth chart after Keller broke his collarbone in the fourth quarter of last week's game at Texas.
The mobility is, by far, the No. 1 difference between Keller and Ganz. In nine games, Keller totaled minus-78 rushing yards on 25 rushes (sacks count as rushes in the college game). Ganz, in just three carries this season, has 27 yards, including a 12-yard scramble against Texas that set up a touchdown.
"When plays break down, I can make things happen with my feet," Ganz said. "Maybe extend the play a little bit for a receiver to come back open. Simple things like that."
Largely, though, what exactly Ganz will do remains a mystery until kickoff today at Memorial Stadium. He has just 17 career pass attempts, including three in last week's 28-25 loss to Texas after Keller went down. With no starts, he never has had a game plan drawn up specifically for him.
Throwing the ball - especially with capable receivers like Maurice Purify and Terrence Nunn - definitely will be a part of Ganz's day today and for the Huskers' last two games against Kansas State and Colorado.
But so, too, will tucking and running.
"If nobody is open, I am not going to throw the ball out of bounds or throw it away," Ganz said. "I will go north and south and get as much as I can and do as much as my team needs me to do."
Considering Keller's longest run of the season was four yards, Ganz will bring an added dimension to Nebraska's offense. Given the Huskers' struggles in a recent four-game slide, they could use all the help they could get.
"We've always had plays in that move him around, so it's really no secret in that regard," Callahan said. "He does have mobility. We try to feature that."