As we've gone through this week, there's been much consternation about Cody Green not seeing the field last weekend against Iowa State. Very few people are blaming Zac Lee for the Huskers 9-7 loss, but they also point out that Lee didn't lead the Huskers to victory either. So we hear lots of conspiracy theories and excuses as to why Green remained on the sideline. But in every single one of these discussions, one reason never gets brought up... and frankly, if you are going to discuss the relative merits of each quarterback, you need to consider every possibility.
Even the possibility that Zac Lee, a junior, is a better quarterback than Cody Green, a true freshman.
We've seen this argument before; the backup quarterback is one of the most popular players on the team. Quarterbacks always get more of the credit and blame for the performance of the team, and when the team is struggling, people are looking for alternatives. But changing quarterbacks doesn't mean improvement...just change. I remember in 2004 reading fans calling for Beau Davis or Jordan Adams to start after becoming frustrated with Joe Dailey. (Even after Bill Callahan threw Davis to the wolves at Texas Tech, resulting in his five turnover performance.)
I'm not saying that Lee is playing outstanding, or that Lee is definitively the better quarterback. We've seen Cody Green look impressive in mop-up duty against Sun Belt foes. Problem is...so did Zac Lee in those games. We saw Green throw a touchdown pass against Tech, something Lee didn't do. But we also saw Green throw an ugly interception and two other passes that really should have been picked off as well. The only people who really know which quarterback is the best quarterback at this time are the coaches, and up to now, the decision has been made to stick with Lee. Which is just fine with me, as we really don't have enough reason to second guess their decision.
I'm not opposed to playing or even starting Cody Green -- but only if the coaches make that decision based on what's best for the team. I don't think these coaches are trying to sabotage the team or are ignoring Green by being stubborn. They watch these quarterbacks every day; they know which quarterback is the better quarterback.
The problems the Husker offense faces at this time are larger than just who plays quarterback. We're watching the depth chart at wide receiver being turned upside down due to the poor play of the receivers. It's pretty obvious that this staff feels that much of the blame goes on the receivers. Add in the injuries to Roy Helu and Rex Burkhead, and the Husker offense is operating without playmakers. Is Green a playmaker? Maybe, if you judge him primarily on his running ability. But is a Jammal Lord style offense what we want to see? Some of Green's passes were painful to watch against Texas Tech; frankly, he didn't look like the solution in that game.
I don't know which quarterback will start against Baylor; frankly, I'm more concerned by the receivers than quarterback right now. But I do feel confident that the coaches will be playing the best quarterback this Saturday, no matter what fans feel and demand.