Ganz Ready for Tough Kansas Defense

By NU Athletic Communications
Quarterback Joe Ganz will make his first career start Saturday at Kansas.
Quarterback Joe Ganz will make his first career start Saturday at Kansas.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Quarterback Joe Ganz closed a “focused, concentrated, detailed” week of preparation, according to coach Bill Callahan, as the Nebraska football team worked on the grass fields for two hours Thursday afternoon in Lincoln.


“He's been living in the office all week,” Callahan said.  “He's been around every single minute.  He's poured a ton of time into his preparation, so you know it's important to him.  He did a heck of a job on the practice field, but that's what happens when you prepare hard off the field.  Those are the results that occur when you really focus in on the small details of the game, so I'm proud of him in that respect."


Ganz, a junior preparing for his first career start at Nebraska, has built on the traits he showed as a high-school player at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School in Illinois.  Those traits stood out to Callahan as he watched him on film as he prepared to recruit him.


“When I saw him on film, I remember that he ran extremely well.  He’s very mobile and threw the ball exceptionally well.  He’s not the tallest guy, but there are a lot of quarterbacks in his size range that are effective, so that didn’t bother me.  I thought that he was a competitor.  He had a fierce, competitive style about his play.  He was tough in terms of running down the field.”


Ganz came to Nebraska and has served as a backup for the past three years and has battled through numerous challenges in preparation for this game.


“He’s hung in there through tough times where he’s been a three, he’s been a two, he’s been in competition, he’s been disappointed, but it’s never broke his spirit.  He’s been encouraged and he lifts everybody up.  He’s been positive.”


Still, Ganz may face his toughest test on Saturday against eighth-ranked Kansas.  The Jayhawks defense ranks first in the Big 12 in scoring defense and total defense, and second in the league in pass defense and rushing defense. 


“They stop you in all areas, third-down, red-zone,” Callahan said.  “They play well together.  They stop the run exceptionally well.  It seems as though they have a good player on every level that has a dominance and consistency about them that allows the other players to feed off them.  The biggest thing about them is that they don’t give up the big play.  You have to work for everything you get.”


Nebraska will not only be challenged by the Kansas defense, but also the loss of two important members of its own defensive squad.  Linebackers Bo Ruud and Blake Lawrence have been ruled out of Saturday’s game and will not travel.


The Huskers will conduct a walk through practice in Lincoln Friday morning, then travel by bus to Kansas in preparation for Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. game in Lawrence.


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