Nebraska coach Scott Frost on Thursday reiterated that he doesn't think the Huskers need to add a quarterback to their room, and said he thinks freshman Heinrich Haarberg is a better thrower than NU expected him to be when he arrived on campus in January.
"That was a position that, in complete transparency, we were going to take a hard look at this spring and see if we needed to add someone there or not," Frost said on the "Sports Nightly" radio program. “We came out of spring and decided that we’re pretty comfortable with who we have there. That says a lot about the guys at the position because they’re young and haven’t played a lot.
"But we just saw continued improvement in understanding the offense from all three of those guys behind Adrian (Martinez) and saw a lot of talent from those guys behind him."
Those three are sophomore walk-on Matt Masker and freshmen Logan Smothers and Haarberg.
"We really feel good about the fact that by the time we get to (the end of August) we’ll have one or more of those guys ready to go in if need be," Frost said, echoing his thinking from over the past week.
Asked specifically about Haarberg, a Kearney Catholic graduate, about whether he was a better thrower than expected, Frost said yes. Remember, Frost and quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco were not able to get out to see Haarberg throw live before the offered him a scholarship in May 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the NCAA's dead period.
"He made a few throws during the spring that everybody kind of turned and looked at each other," Frost said. "I think if I threw it like him, I'd probably not be a coach right now because I would have had a career as a player, so I'm a little bit jealous of the arm strength and the ability to rip it.
"You could see it in the spring game. That was a heck of a wind and he was able to throw it and keep the ball online for the most part, both directions with the wind and against the wind. There's a lot of raw materials to work with there, both in the run game and the pass game."
* Frost is encouraged by his wide receivers group and wondering who will emerge at running back after the Huskers wrapped up spring football over the weekend.
His sentiment Thursday largely echoed what he thought as spring ball progressed, but Frost again said he was encouraged by his receivers group.
"I’m always careful to throw out compliments, but I think that group is about there," he said. "It’s the best it’s been, talent and depthwise."
Frost rattled through all of his scholarship receivers — including scarcely mentioned redshirt freshmen Jamie Nance and De'Mariyon Houston — and also said he wouldn't rule out one or more of NU's incoming freshman trio catching on fast and finding a role this fall.
"I think they have a chance," he said of Latrell Neville, Shawn Hardy and Kamonte Grimes, who are slated to get to campus in about a month. "We're excited about the guys we have and I think we did a really good job and (offensive coordinator Matt Lubick) did a really good job recruiting that position for us last year. We've got three guys coming in that are big and fast and know how to play football.
"We'll see how fast they can pick it up and get in the mix and compete."
The experiment of putting 6-foot-3 graduate transfer Samori Toure went well this spring and Frost said it will continue going forward.
"Really in the slot he provides us a downfield threat and a bigger-body guy with a catch radius and a feel for the game that we haven’t had since I’ve been here," Frost said.
At running back, the picture is much less settled.
"We need two or three guys to come out of that pack and be guys that can carry it 20-25 times and we’ll continue that competition through fall camp," Frost said.