Nebraska Weekly Press Conference
Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007
Memorial Stadium (Lincoln, Neb.)
Pre-Kansas

Joe Ganz
Junior, Quarterback

On the timing of learning he would be Nebraska's starer against Kansas

“I had talked to Sam (Keller) after the game, and he said it didn’t look good. He said it did not feel good, and that he thought it was broken but he did not really know for sure. Then when I got home of course, I had gotten a bunch of text messages from the news and stuff on Sunday that clarified it. I kind of had an idea on Saturday by the way his demeanor was. He was really down, and he thought it was broken, and it was really hurting him. So, I kind of assumed that it would probably be me the next three games.”

 

On his feeling after waiting for three years to be NU's starter 

“It’s awesome. I mean it is bittersweet because you don’t want it to come through an injury. You don’t want Sam to get hurt, that is not the way I wanted it to happen, but that’s the way it happened. I can't control it, all I can do is be ready for my team and hopefully win these next three games.”

 

On talking to Zac Taylor the past few days

“I have talked to Zac. I talk to Zac a lot actually, usually week-to-week. I talked to him after the game you know, and he said 'Good job, way to come in there and be poised,   and lead the team and stuff like that.' I asked him if he had any pointers on coming in and starting, he said, 'No, just go in there relaxed, don’t think about it, just go in there like it is another game.' Coming from him you know, we are pretty good friends, it meant a lot.”

 

On any changes this week in practice

“I will get more reps obviously, but I won't have to accelerate anything or change anything in my preparation. I prepared like I was going to start in case I did have to come in. So, I won't change anything in my preparation, just my practice preparation. I will get more reps, that’s really it.”

 

On his percentage of reps as Nebraska's backup quarterback in practice

“Thirty percent probably. It was about 70/30. They had to keep Sam prepared, but they did a good job keeping me sharp and giving me reps.”

 

On the difficulty in staying calm and poised leading up to the game

“It will be tough. I am excited. I am really excited. I have been waiting so long for this opportunity, and it will be tough keeping even keeled, but once that first play gets over with I will be calm and act like I have done it before.”

 

On the challenge of facing the tough Kansas defense in his first start

“It’s awesome, what a great way to have your first start. Against Kansas, against a great defense they have, on the road, the No. 8 team in the country. It is going to be a great atmosphere. I like playing road games, it is going to be kind of fun. It is a great challenge for me, and I am really excited that my first start is Kansas.”

 

On the affect a lack of game film with Ganz at quarterback will have on Kansas

“I am pretty sure they will be ready. I don’t know how big of an advantage it is. They probably know that I have a little bit better mobility, but that’s it. I don’t know how big of an advantage it is for them not seeing me on film because I’m sure the system will be the same. We might have a couple things here and there to fit me better. It is not really that big of an advantage for us because they know what to expect, and we know what to expect of them."

 

On differences between Ganz and Keller as a quarterback

“My big thing is when plays break down, I can make things happen with my feet, maybe extend the play a little bit for a receiver to come back open. Simple things like that. I like to run the ball too, so if nobody is open I am not going to throw the ball out of bounds or throw it away, I will go north and south, and get as much as I can, and do as much as my team needs me to do.”

 

On changing things up with his leadership style

“I am pretty vocal with the guys anyways, joking around in practice, getting them going so nothing will really change. I will probably just have to be more vocal with the first group because it is kind of hard when you are on the sidelines and they are in. During practice it is kind of hard to lead those guys, so during practice I will probably have to be a little more vocal with the first group, but I won't have to change anything about my personality or how I go about things.”

 

On the difficulty in watching the team struggle from the sideline

“It’s hard. It is hard for everybody. It’s hard for the people who are out there playing. It is really hard when you are sitting back and watching it, compared to if you are out there playing, because it is hard not to be able to control anything. It is hard not to be able to help your team or anything like that. I am real excited now that I get the chance to go out there and help our team, hopefully spark them, and hopefully we can beat Kansas and keep things rolling.”

 

On whether he thought he should have received more reps earlier in the year

“It is tough to say. I always wanted to play. Any chance I get I want to play. It was coach's decision to keep Sam in there and obviously we needed to work on things offensively because we were not putting up a lot of points, and Sam was the No. 1 quarterback. I understand why he did that. He wanted to get the offense into a rhythm, and get the first team gelling a little more. I understand why he did, but it was hard because you want to get out there and help your team.”

 

On the tightness of the quarterback race in August

“Well no matter how close I say it was, people are always going to say that there was no competition. But I mean it was close, I don’t think you guys saw it but it was hot. I kept my poise and did what I had to do to help the team move down the field and score. It was close, but people are always going to have their own opinions.”

 

On whether he ever considered transferring

“It is difficult for anybody who is a backup. Especially quarterbacks because it is only one player. It is not like cornerback where you have nickel or you come in every so often. It was really tough, but that is not the type of guy that I am. I am not going to be like, ‘Oh I am going to transfer, I should be starting.’ That is not who I am. I am going to do whatever the players and coaches ask me to do. If it is to start, it is to start. If it is second string, then I will do that as best I can. I never really thought about it.”

 

On whether the offense will be different with Ganz at quarterback

“I am sure it is going to be the same. We have three games left. We're not going to change anything too major. I am sure the detail things that I am better at than Sam was, movement-wise, they will probably do that, but I am not sure yet. We have not gotten the game plan yet, that comes in like 25 minutes. I will know a little bit more about it then. I am sure that won't change too much, because it is unfair to the other guys on offense to change the whole thing with three games left."

 

On the last time he took a hit in the pocket

“I have not really taken a shot in the pocket. The last time I took a real big shot was against Nicholls State, when I got those stitches in my arm. That was not in the pocket, that was me scrambling. I am not worried about contact. I don’t shy away from it. It does not bother me. So I am really not to worried about it.”

 

On who his backup would be if he was injured

“Beau Davis and Pat Witt are going to get the two reps and whoever they decide to come in, in case I get hurt, I will have full confidence in. I have known Beau since I got here, and I know Pat pretty well, so I am not to worried about it. It would suck if I got hurt. I waited this long for this opportunity, then I go down. I would be more upset at that. I've got confidence in those guys. I am not worried about it.”

 

On whether he will feel pressure to put up points

“Well there is always pressure to score because you want to score every play. It is not the kind of pressure you guys think it is, like, 'oh my God we have to score.' It is more like an urgency where we want to score every play, even if we don’t. I don’t want to be the hero on Saturday. I don’t think that is what I have to do. I just have to run the team efficiently, make the right reads, and let the big plays come. You cannot go out there hunting for big plays because that is when you start making mistakes. I just have to play within myself and be efficient, and do what I have done so far to get me here.”

 

On the last time he started a football game

“I think the Illinois State playoffs. High School State playoffs probably the last time. I don’t play flag football, we're not allowed. I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be the backup there.”

 

On the number of calls he has received since he found out he was the starter

“A lot of my friends from back home, they are real excited. My parents and people like that. A lot of my friends back home in Illinois are real excited for me. They usually watch all of the games, and they are real excited for me. Real anxious to see what I can do, because I have been talking to them about how I can do it, and now they are like it is time to see it now. So we'll see.”

 

On if he expects Kansas to blitz him

“It is always important to have a good start offensively just to get into that rhythm. As to what Kansas is going to do, who knows? Look what we did against Texas. They were not expecting that and [Texas quarterback] Colt McCoy has been a two-year starter. You never know what teams are going to bring at you until you get a good feel after the first couple series. If they do decide to pin their ears back, that is fine. I will get the ball out quick. I will make the right decision. It is up to Kansas what they are going to do. I do not expect them to do too much different than they do. They will probably have new wrinkles like every team does that we play.”

 

On if getting to a bowl game is realistic

“I think it is pretty realistic. We just have to win two out of three. We have done it before. A couple years ago, when Zac [Taylor] was here, I think we lost two games in a row and came back and beat Kansas State and Colorado and then beat Michigan in the Alamo Bowl. Once this team gets its confidence back, and gets on a roll, I think we are very capable of rolling off two or three. Especially two out of three and maybe three out of three. The most important thing is to win Saturday, and we will see how things go from there.”