Sophomore quarterback Heinrich Haarberg has been the starter for the past two weeks due to Junior quarterback Jeff Sims‘ ankle injury. In the last two games, Haarberg has led Nebraska to two wins over Northern Illinois and Louisiana Tech.
The Nebraska faithful has been rallying behind the kid from Kearney, Neb., and he has played well, showing glimpses of past starting quarterbacks. Here are four reasons why Haarberg should be the starter until proven otherwise.
Why Haarberg Should Be the Starter
Haarberg Has Played Better So Far
Yes, I know. Haarberg has definitely played better, but it was against worse opponents. Nothing against Northern Illinois and LA Tech, but they definitely don’t match up to Sims’s first opponents. Despite that, Haarberg has done well with running the football and has shown that he can make tough throws.
Haarberg has run the football so well in the last two weeks. More impressively, against the Bulldogs, Haarberg finished with over 150 rushing yards, including a 70+ yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to put away LA Tech. Many of these rushing yards came from moving out of the pocket and running the option.
Play calling so far has left a lot to be desired, but Haarberg has done well with what he has been given and will only improve in the next few weeks.
Haarberg Has Limited Turnovers
As we all know, Sims has really struggled with turnovers in his career. In three seasons at Georgia Tech, Sims threw 23 total interceptions, which isn’t great. Now, through the first two games at Nebraska, he has thrown four interceptions compared to only one touchdown pass in the opener. Against Colorado, Sims also fumbled the ball a few times, which came on the snaps.
Through two games, Haarberg has only one turnover, which was caused by a failure of blocking on his blind side in the Northern Illinois game. Since then, Haarberg has had no turnovers.
Haarberg Has Gotten a Rhythm With the Offense
After the Saturday game, Matt Rhule said Haarberg had done well in executing the right play calls in the last few weeks. Offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield has called plays that fit Haarberg’s play style, and he has taken advantage of that.
Haarberg has developed a connection with sophomore tight end Thomas Fidone, throwing all three of Fidone’s touchdowns this season. Haarberg has also done an excellent job finding senior Billy Kemp IV on short routes. Against Louisiana Tech, Haarberg couldn’t get a deep shot to any of the wide receivers, with the only one just coming up short to the receiver.
Haarberg has done well with managing the rushing attack for Nebraska’s offense. Whether that was handing the ball off, running the option, making the right read, or taking keepers for positive yards.
Fan Support Behind Haarberg
The fans are a big part of the Nebraska football team in general. 391 consecutive sellouts, averaging around 87,000 people at every single home game, play a significant role in causing the opposing teams to make mistakes. The Nebraska faithful has stuck with the team in its downfalls and successes. That’s why they play a significant role.
There is support behind Haarberg as there is hope he could help turn things around in Lincoln in year one of the Rhule era, especially when Haarberg is from Kearney, Neb. Most kids who grew up in Nebraska dream of playing for Nebraska, and he is living it right now.
We will know more about what Haarberg brings when the Huskers take on the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines next week. After that, it would be a good time to figure out who should be the starter. Sims has all the talent you would want in a quarterback, but Haarberg has a lot going for him right now.
Haarberg has a colossal assignment this week as Nebraska prepares for the Wolverines. We could see more of Haarberg in the next few weeks if he performs well.
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