Is Allure of Husker QB Green all Hype?

By Todd Neeley

OK, the Nebraska beat writers can’t say it. But it has to be said.

Cody Green is not the player the Huskers thought they were getting when he signed on the dotted line. Maybe we all had fantasies about how we might be getting the next Vince Young, but in reality we may not even get a starting quarterback out of the deal.

I’ve got nothing against Green. He’s mature for his age, has a commanding presence in the Nebraska postgame, he’s a good guy and he just looks like an NFL quarterback.

But let’s face it, the storyline on him from day one has been nothing but hype.

Green melted when the lights came on against Oklahoma in Lincoln last season when he was named the starter. Five plays and a cloud of dust, and Green was yanked in favor of Zac Lee.

Nebraska needs much more out of the position.

I can hear Green fans now. ‘Give the kid a break. He’s a true freshman. He needs time to learn the offense, get settled in. He’ll thrive in a run-oriented offense and Shawn Watson clearly wants to run the ball more in 2010.’

And you can make the case that with that horrid freshman season behind him, Green likely will settle in, commit fewer mistakes, and ‘manage the offense’ if he gets his shot.

The Huskers don’t need a manager at the position, they need a stud.

Nebraska beat writers reminded fans from the get-go that it was unfair to compare Green to Husker QBs of the past, but frankly, that’s the main reference point for most fans — and it’s fair.

We’ve seen young guys like Tommie Frazier and Turner Gill step into the offense out of nowhere, and the rest was history. So the freshman excuse wears thin.

That’s especially true in today’s world of scholarship limits and player development at a young age. Players have many more chances to improve than did Gill and even Frazier when they were prepsters.

In October 1992 Frazier started his first career game at Missouri as a true freshman. Columbia has never been an easy place to play, but the Florida native led Nebraska to a 34-24 win. The most memorable play of the game came on a Frazier touchdown run when he leaped over two Missouri defenders for the end zone.

He played with poise at age 18.

To me, Green’s deer-in-the-headlights look in front of television cameras against the Sooners speaks volumes.

Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini wasted little time in pulling the Texas native from the game, in favor of a struggling Lee.

Lee ended up with just 35 yards passing and one short touchdown pass. Astonishingly, though, he won back his starting job from Green.

OK, shame on me, but look at what Turner Gill did in his sophomore season. He  became the starter in 1981 after starting out as the No. 3 guy behind Mark Mauer and Nate Mason.

Nebraska had lost two of its first three games in ’81 and trailed Auburn 3-0 at halftime in Lincoln. At that point in the season NU’s offense was pretty bad, so Tom Osborne gave Gill a shot, and he led the way back to a 17-3 win. He was named the starter for the rest of the season.

In this day age of recruiting services and YouTube, prep players at all positions are given way more attention and media hype than they deserve.

I was like any other Husker fan. I was impressed by Green’s high school game tape, but it is a great illustration of why recruiting isn’t a perfect science.

I could be wrong, Maybe this is the season that Green lives up to the billing.

Maybe he’ll become Nebraska’s leader and never look back.

I guess I don’t buy it. A quarterback either has ‘IT’ or he doesn’t. I’ll give him this, he made a nice throw on a touchdown pass to Niles Paul at Baylor last season. But that was the only Green highlight through nine games.

We’ve heard plenty about how Pelini wants to foster a competitive environment across the board, especially focusing on the QB spot this season. So, we’re told Nebraska may not name a permanent starter until conference play.

So, this means no one has emerged as an obvious leader.

If Green isn’t named the starter in time for conference play, then we’ll know we were all suckered into believing he would be the next star.

Hope I’m wrong.

Posted on August 12, 2010, in Cody Green. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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