Zac Lee is so busy responding to intense coaching every day that he doesn't have time to measure the impact of being the starting quarterback in the second year of a tradition-rich program that's trying to take another step in its extreme makeover.
A junior who once started at quarterback in a national junior college championship game at San Francisco City College, Lee gets his first start as a Husker Saturday night.
He understands, appreciates and expects pressure. In fact, he even welcomes it. Asked which player enjoys pressure the most on this team, Lee said, "Hopefully . . . me." He smiled when he said it.
Saturday's first major exam will show Nebraska Head Coach Bo Pelini, NU Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson and everyone else if Lee's game performance matches the same standards he's set for himself in fall camp.
There are good reasons why Lee shows no signs of feeling extra pressure. First, he helps deflect the stress by viewing everything in the context of the team, and secondly, he has great confidence in his offensive line.
When the line meshes in front of him, Lee is a dangerous threat with both his arm and his legs. His coaches say that once the quarterback and his line find the same rhythm, the confidence meter will go up for everyone . . . the quarterback, the offensive line, the running backs, the receivers and an entire defense that expects to compete at the highest level in the Big 12 Conference.
Lee's confidence and how it will continue to develop may be the opening game's biggest storyline. He's the trigger for an offense that hopes to match the expectations of a seasoned defense. "We're really good on defense," Lee said. "They've helped make me a better player."
Lee couldn't decide between an offensive player and a defensive player being the most talented player on the Huskers. "There's talent everywhere on this team," he said.
Lee sees a redshirt freshman being the most surprising player on the Husker defense and a true freshman being the most surprising player on offense.
If you're curious about his answers, hit the "play" button above and see if your instincts are right.