Hello, readers. You might notice that I am not Brandon Vogel, who is on vacation abroad. While he’s away, I will be bringing you your daily reads and I’ll do my best to make sure they’re piping hot.
One of the major story lines of the offseason in and around Husker Nation has been the heaping amount of praise laid on Tanner Lee from many different sources.
The latest compliment came from Fox Sports’ Charles Davis, who gave a positive review of Lee’s performance at the annual Manning Passing Academy during an interview on 1620 the Zone’s Unsportsmanlike Conduct on Monday afternoon.
“I just came back from the Manning Passing Academy and I saw Nebraska’s quarterback Tanner Lee and got to meet him, and I couldn’t be more impressed with a young man,” Davis said. “I really enjoyed my time with him. He came up and introduced himself to me, we talked for a little while, and I got to watch him throw on three different occasions – they had three different throwing sessions which was fantastic – and I thought that he threw it very well, and I got it confirmed by two other people who were there who work on the pro level that when they assessed quarterbacks and people throwing the ball, both of them, unsolicited by me, brought up Tanner Lee and talked about what he did and what they liked.”
Davis joins the ranks of Billy Devaney, George Whitfield and others who have spoken very highly of Lee’s ability as a passer. Lee certainly had a good spring, good enough to beat out redshirt freshman Patrick O’Brien for the starting spot heading into the fall, and most of those who had the chance to see him in practice understand why.
However, not everyone is quite so high on Lee. Last Thursday, the boys of the Shutdown Fullcast, the SB Nation football podcast hosted by Spencer Hall, Ryan Nanni and Jason Kirk, posted their Big Ten West preview and were, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about Lee (the Nebraska portion of the pod starts around the 20-minute mark).
It’s been about a year-and-a-half since Lee last played a real game. With that being the case, the only data available for people that can’t go to practices themselves is what Lee accomplished at Tulane. His numbers there were fairly pedestrian, and based on those statistics alone Lee would have far less hype surrounding him than he does now thanks to the praise from various sources.
Ultimately, how you view Lee depends upon which factors you put the most weight. Do you value his low completion percentage, or do you trust the accuracy he has shown in practice? Do you put his struggles on his lack of ability or his lack of support from his offensive line and receivers at Tulane?
Lee isn’t the only question mark for the Huskers. In fact, the entire offense can be viewed in much the same way.
Monday was also Nebraska day over at Off Tackle Empire, the Big Ten football blog for SB Nation, with Husker fan and site manager Jesse Spencer writing a team preview then posing a question about the Nebraska offense to several other members of his crew. You can read their answers here, but the summary is that they also were not particularly high on Nebraska because of how little the Huskers bring back.
In theory, Lee provides a more stable option and a better fit for what Mike Riley wants to do than the dual threat quarterbacks Nebraska has had recently who struggled to make progression and complete passes. In theory, Nebraska has a lot of skill position talent with highly-touted freshmen like Tyjon Lindsey and Jaevon McQuitty, experienced returners like Stanley Morgan Jr. and De’Mornay Pierson-El and capable role players like Tyler Hoppes, Tre Bryant, Mikale Wilbon and Devin Ozigbo. In theory, Nebraska returns a lot of experience along the offensive line which should allow the Huskers to take a step forward.
But until they prove it on the field, it’s all just a theory.
The Grab Bag
- The Comeback is previewing the Big Ten this week as well and started with quarterbacks on Monday. Tanner Lee was tabbed as the newcomer to keep an eye on.
- The Big Ten and ACC announced the dates for the 19th annual Big Ten-ACC Challenge on Monday. The Huskers will host Boston College on Nov. 29.
- In disappointing news, former Husker and Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green was arrested on Monday and charged with child abuse and disorderly conduct stemming from an incident with his daughter.
- Florida may have beaten LSU 4-3 to take the first game of the championship series in Omaha, but the best story from TD Ameritrade Park Monday night did not happen on the field. Meet Dr. Jerry Poché and Jimmy Roy, the heroes who saved a man’s life.
- Heather Dinich and Sam Khan Jr. took a look at the fallout from the last round of conference expansion. For both Nebraska and the Big Ten, the moves were quite profitable.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.