Mike Riley has mentioned many times this August that camp has been “non-dramatic” and the team has been a really low-maintenance group.
Teams usually take on the personality of their head coach or quarterback and both Riley and new quarterback Tanner Lee fit the bill. There is a lot of hype surrounding the transfer quarterback from Tulane, but there is also a sense of calm that you typically don’t get with a player that has never thrown a pass against Big Ten competition.
The coaching staff doesn’t seem panicked at all about Lee making the transition. Part of that comfortable feeling could be because Lee doesn’t get too high or low, and has been consistent since the day he arrived in Lincoln. Riley called out that consistency on Monday.
“If I look big picture with Tanner, the first word I’d use from day one to right now is consistency. Tanner is kind of the same everyday. Coming to work, going to his meetings, studying, getting ready to go, always out there doing his thing when he’s supposed to.
“Also, embracing the football end of it, I think he loves it. Being ready at the meeting, being ready at practice, that was always consistent.”
Even though Lee has been consistent in his preparation and practice habits, the cold hard numbers from Tulane don’t jump off the page. In 19 games, he threw for 23 touchdowns and 21 interceptions with a 53.6 completion percentage. Still, Riley has confidence in his transfer quarterback.
“We’ve always liked his ability,” Riley said. “Like every quarterback that has ever played we’re always looking at whatever it was then and how it’s going to be growth-wise in the future. So wherever he was [at Tulane], we’ve coached him, prepared him, he’s been really coachable, so we feel good about his grasp of what we’re doing. We feel great about his ability.”
Still, the environment will be a tad different than the last time he took the field in a game, which was back in 2015. Lee is excited for his first tunnel walk. He says he’s thought about it many times and what it will be like in front of the full crowd.
“I’ve been an underdog more often than not in my playing career and it’s going to be a lot of fun to have a great home crowd,” Lee said. “It’s just something I’ve always wanted and dreamed about just like all of us. I’m just really looking forward to it.”
On Saturday night, the sellout crowd at Memorial Stadium will be very excited and anxious to get a look at the team’s new starting quarterback. What we learned on Monday, is that Lee will be just as excited to run out in front of them and get back to game action.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.