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After being a backup quarterback for the last three seasons, Joe Ganz has inherited Nebraska's starting job. Ganz hopes to build on the success that saw him pass for 1,399 yards and 15 touchdown passes in his three starts after replacing Sam Keller late last season.
|AP Photo/Charlie Riedel|
|Nebraska QB Joe Ganz, who turned heads with a stellar three-game stretch last season, will get the starting nod this year.|
Ganz's three-game binge was the most touchdowns thrown in a three-game period in Nebraska school history.
We caught up with Ganz for a few minutes Monday to talk about his starting position and his plans for the Nebraska offense under new coach Bo Pelini.
Are you excited about your opportunity?
Joe Ganz: Yeah, I can't wait to get out there.
Is it your goal to maybe run the ball more this season?
JG: Yeah, I might not throw as many passes in the whole year as I threw in those last three games. Obviously, we're going to run the ball more. We have to if we want to win. I don't think we'll be throwing the ball 55 times and people will be teeing off on me like last year. I know we might have some shootouts in the Big 12, but I'm hoping not that much.
Your body hasn't taken the beating it likely will take with your full-time status as starter. Are you ready for it?
JG: Yeah, I haven't played a full season. I've gotten a little big bigger and ready to play. But I've always been durable. It will be a little different with bumps and bruises every week. I've just got to get down to the cold tank after games and recuperate to get back healthy.
Do you envision personally running the ball more on zone-read plays?
JG: Yeah, probably more than we've done before. I'll use my ability to run and scramble and probably do some designed runs. But I bet I won't run the ball Tim Tebow-style.
Are you surprised that there were co-number ones at tailback with Marlon Lucky and Roy Helu Jr. on the summer depth chart?
JG: Not really. Obviously, Marlon will get the majority of carries. But Roy deserves to be put in there. He's worked really hard in the offseason and our guys really respect him for how he runs the ball. I'm not really surprised by it. It's tough to get them both an equal amount of carries.
What does it feel like being the starter for the first time?
JG: It's awesome. It really kind of sunk in yesterday when we had a meeting with (Nebraska offensive coordinator) coach (Shawn) Watson. I'm going to get all the No. 1 reps and it kind of hits you about your opportunity. It comes with a lot of responsibilities but I wouldn't have it any other way.
How do you compare yourself with some of the other quarterbacks in the Big 12?
JG: Talent-wise, I don't compare myself against them, nor do I care about how many touchdowns or passing yards I've thrown for. Wins and losses are the appropriate thing. If I throw for 500 yards and win, it's fine. If I throw for 150 and win, that's good, too."
How tough was the losing last season?
JG: Obviously we understand the tradition here and it's been tough on us. But we're looking forward to righting the ship this year and getting our team going in the right direction.
Did you ever consider leaving earlier after not getting to play much earlier in your career at Nebraska?
JG: Not really. I thought about it some because it was killing me not to play. But I never wanted to play anywhere else. When I was here, I was here for good. It was hard to sit on the bench. And you think it might not ever happen for you. I didn't want to sit and be a career backup. But when I got in the summer battle last season, I knew I could play. I just kept working hard and waiting for my chance.
With guys like Josh Freeman (a one-time Nebraska commitment), Harrison Beck, Sam Keller and some of the others who have come or almost come through here, did you ever think you would get your chance to play?
JG: There were always doubts when they brought in these high recruits and fans go crazy about them and coaches want to get them in and see what they can do. It was tough, but I expected it when I came here. I was ready for it, but it didn't make it any easier.
But it all worked out for me. They left and here I am No. 1. I can't wait for the season to start.