Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Marcus Satterfield Notes ‘Healthy Competition’ Among Nebraska Quarterback Room

April 18, 2023

There is a healthy competition within Nebraska’s quarterback room.

Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said Kearney Catholic graduate Heinrich Haarberg, one of the few quarterbacks on Nebraska’s roster without college playing time, is pushing for reps with Georgia Tech transfer quarterback Jeff Sims. Satterfield previously said he’s evenly distributing reps among quarterbacks this spring. Through two scrimmages and with the final one later this week, the Nebraska native has shown his on-field potential.

“Big, physical, athletic,” Satterfield said of Haarberg. “He allows you to be multiple with the things we’re doing offensively. Really pleased with his development thus far through 12 practices.”

Head coach Matt Rhule and Satterfield played dual-threat quarterbacks in their history together. P.J. Walker started the vast majority of Rhule’s tenure at Temple and Charlie Brewer emerged as Baylor’s quarterback during Rhule’s time there. Both coaches highlighted mobility in Nebraska’s quarterbacks following their first scrimmage. Sims showcased his ability to extend plays at practice and in the scrimmage to find open receivers. Haarberg’s shown his ability to rollout and get vertical as a capable runner. Former Nebraska Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch was at today’s practice. Satterfield said Haarberg is bigger than Crouch but shares the same fearlessness to run downhill.

“His super power is running the football and being physical,” Satterfield reiterated of the Kearney native.

Meanwhile, Sims is growing in the system. Satterfield mentioned the quarterback’s history playing in multiple offenses. He’ll take his next step forward once he “correlates” aspects of Satterfield’s offense to familiar aspects of his game, Satterfield said. Sims stands out now for his mental maturity, withstanding the highs and lows while increasing completion percentage and limiting turnovers.

Satterfield was also specifically asked about Texas native Richard Torres and where he stands in the mix. Torres didn’t play in last year’s Spring Game but likely will on Saturday. Getting him the experience in front of a crowd is a big step forward, Satterfield said. The offensive coordinator is curious to see how Torres and the rest of the group plays in a game-type scenario with roughly 61,000 tickets sold thus far.

“We’re getting there,” Satterfield said of the quarterback group. “We’re always trying to shoot for higher standards but the guys have really taken on what we’ve asked them to do. They’re good kids, tough kids, they keep progressing each day.”

While Satterfield didn’t want to dive into specifics of a medical question, he said Casey Thompson is on schedule in terms of his return. Thompson is throwing now while hindered to a certain amount of reps. Satterfield said he’s “doing everything he possibly can,” at this point. Thompson works out and runs at practice with the rest of the injured Huskers. He watches reps when he can, he’s in the football offices every night and goes through plays with receivers. Thompson stood on the sidelines with a headset on for both Nebraska scrimmages thus far.

“What he can’t do physically he’s definitely not skipped or behind at all mentally, he’s exactly where he needs to be” Satterfield said. “He’s done a nice job of staying engaged throughout the whole process where he can’t throw the ball right now in practice.”

Quarterbacks have largely gone live in scrimmages this spring. Satterfield said it’s important to develop timing and urgency. He also mentioned the importance of not playing passive and instead playing at football speed. He said if they play like they did in their backyards growing up they’ll be fine. The offense turned the ball over multiple times in last Saturday’s closed-door scrimmage. Satterfield said he wants to limit that and see them play more consistently while eliminating the roller coaster highs and lows.

Satterfield threw a lot at the offense in terms of installation this spring. He wanted them to take notes and to check their retention abilities. So far, he said, players handled the playbook well.

When asked about the offensive line, Satterfield said they’re grinding through. He noted the standard and expectations offensive line coach Donovan Raiola aims to maintain within that unit. The offensive coordinator is encouraged by what he’s seen there. Satterfield also noted the progress Nebraska’s running backs have made. As a group they’ve improved their collective running abilities and, last week specifically, showed progress in pass blocking.

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