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October 20, 2009
Green will be ready if called upon
The date was Oct. 24, 1992 when former Nebraska head coach Tom Osborne made the decision to start true freshman quarterback Tommie Frazier over senior Mike Grant.
The move worked out beautifully, as everybody knows the final result of Osborne's decision. Frazier helped lead NU to back-to-back National Championships in 1994 and 1995.
Let's fast forward now 17 years later. On Oct. 24, 2009 the Huskers will take the field against Iowa State and like Osborne did in 1992, head coach Bo Pelini and his staff face a tough decision this week. Do you stick with junior Zac Lee at quarterback or do you go with true freshman Cody Green?
That's the million dollar question everybody across the state wants to know, and as of Tuesday it's hard saying what direction the Husker coaching staff is leaning.
One thing's certain though, Lee clearly hasn't been the same quarterback the last two week as he was early on in the season. However, Lee disagreed with the observation that he's holding onto the ball too long and not as decisive in his decision making as he was at the start of 2009.
"That's your opinion, I didn't necessarily feel like that," Lee said. "There were some decisions maybe looking back that weren't the best decisions, maybe two or three, which is every game.
"For whatever reason, we didn't have breakout plays. That's just kind of the black and white of it. We didn't make plays that we needed to make. I'm the guy up front and that's just how it is."
Lee was the guy who felt the brunt of the frustration from Nebraska fans on Saturday when Memorial Stadium greeted him with a chorus of boos after he failed to move the offense late in the second half.
Pelini said on Tuesday Husker fans are being too harsh towards Lee and he's not the only person that should be blamed for NU's offensive struggles against Texas Tech.
"Obviously it's going to affect a guy," Pelini said of the criticism Lee has received. "He feels like the whole state of Nebraska is against him. That would affect anybody, but you know what I've been there as a coach. You fight through it and you persevere and you take an 'I'll show you attitude.'
"It's disappointing when people boo and do those sorts of things, but that's human nature and that's who they are. You can't let it affect you. You fight through it and you find out what's deep inside of you. It's disappointing to me when that happens and people take that attitude and they want to point the finger. We point the thumb."
This week in practice Lee and Green have been seeing nearly equal reps with the No. 1 offense. Green said Lee gets the first two reps and then he comes in for him.
As the week of practice moves on, Green said he's not really sure what to expect for Saturday. The main thing he's worried about is continuing to get himself ready to play if called upon by offensive coordinator Shawn Watson.
"If I start, great. If I don't, it's ok," Green said. "I've been doing that for these past weeks and I'm still going to prepare myself the same way. There's not going to be any difference to it."
If anything, Green said he feels bad about the criticism and negativity that's been directed towards Lee since this past Saturday's loss to Texas Tech.
"With me being close to Zac, I feel sorry for him tremendously," Green said. "I wish I could take some of the pain off of him just because I just don't want that feeling for anybody really. That a whole state would just jump on somebody's bandwagon one minute and then jump right off the next. For an athlete, that's nothing that you want."
Green said he's also well aware of the old fashioned saying that the No. 2 quarterback is the most popular person on a football team. That's why he's taking everything he hears from the fans and media this week with a grain of salt.
"Coach Watson always says the most important person on our football team is the back-up quarterback," Green said. "That's because when a starter isn't doing so hot, everybody wants the back-up. But it's going to be vice versa if I was the starter and Zac was the back-up. If I messed up, everybody is going to want Zac. That's life of a quarterback."