Husker's Illustrated/KOZN Radio's Sean Callahan is reporting that Arizona State QB Sam Keller is transferring to Nebraska. He'll sit out this season as a redshirt and be eligible for the Huskers for his senior season. That, combined with former JuCo Brian Hildebrand's late arrival give the Huskers two touted players to replace Zac Taylor next year. (A year ago, Husker fans would have been in a panic to learn that both Josh Freeman and Harrison Beck weren't in Lincoln anymore.)
On paper, Keller's arrival looks like a gift from above: pre-season all-Pac 10, potential NFL draft pick. So why is he suddenly transferring to Lincoln? Last Friday, he was named the Sun Devils starting QB. On Saturday, however, his teammates essentially mutinied, and suddenly Keller was demoted to #2. Why? Nobody is saying, but apparantly it was off-the-field issues. I understand why Keller would opt to transfer; like Harrison Beck, there is no way he could play on the same team after this. But is Nebraska getting a problem case here? You know what they say..."if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is." Maybe it was a misunderstanding, maybe it was nothing Keller did. We simply don't know. But you do have to wonder about the situation.
Next spring should be interesting as three quarterbacks (Keller, Hildebrand, and hopefully Patrick Witt) get indoctrinated into the West Coast Offense. It will need to be a crash course; we saw last year that it takes time to learn the offense; it took Zac Taylor all spring and most of the fall to get it down. There is a lot of terminology and philosophy to master, and it's tough for pros. ESPN's Joe Theisman last night commented on Terrell Owens needing to get into camp for Dallas, because even though the Cowboys offense is nowhere near as complicated as the West Coast, it still requires some study. This fall, Keller and Hildebrand will only get minimal snaps (though they will get valuable exposure) as Callahan doesn't give reserves much practice time.
Yes, these transfers do help the depth for 2007...but if prior history is any guide, caution is in order.