Husker great Steve Taylor has some pretty simple advice for Tanner Lee entering his first season as Nebraska’s starting quarterback.
“Win football games.”
That’s what Taylor said Wednesday during an interview on “The Bottom Line,” and he certainly did plenty of that. Nebraska won 31 games during his three seasons as the starter. Taylor was a first-team All-American in 1987 and a two-time All-Big 8 selection.
So he knows a thing or two about succeeding at Nebraska and handling the immense expectations placed on quarterbacks.
“You win football games, you get a pass,” Taylor said. “You don’t, and it can be tough. You can ask some of the best of them. … But as long as you win football games, you’re OK. If you don’t, it can be a bumpy ride.”
Taylor, who still lives in Lincoln, has followed Lee from afar. He said he initially tempered his expectations for Lee’s first season, but recently he’s started to buy in to some of the hype.
“He definitely has the tools,” Taylor said. “He has the arm to do it. He’s a smart kid. People love him. But you’ve got to be put in a situation where you can be successful.”
Taylor said Lee’s success will ultimately depend on the skill-position players around him and the blockers in front of him. He also said Lee is the type of quarterback that offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf wants, and he expects the playbook to be wide open.
“We’re going to see how all that that stuff unfolds,” Taylor said, “but the kid can definitely throw the football.”
Sam Keller could definitely throw the football too. Keller, who started nine games at NU in 2007, also appeared on “TBL” Wednesday to give some thoughts on Lee and his potential.
Keller and Lee share some similarities. Both transferred to Nebraska after starting at other colleges. Both were named the offensive MVP of the scout team during the year they sat out.
Keller described what that season off the field can be like for a transfer quarterback.
“It was weird to go back to square one and learn a new offense,” Keller said. “I really learned about how much I love football, playing with the scout team, going to practice every day, getting to know a new group of guys, a new locker room, a new coaching staff.”
Acclimating to that new environment can be a challenge, Keller said, but Lee seemed to handle it well last year. Many of his teammates have raved about how quickly Lee bought into the Huskers’ team chemistry.
That’s something Keller had to do as well, and it takes a certain mentality to do it.
“The easiest thing to pick up on is if you’re trying too hard or you’re being a fake,” Keller said. “Keep a low profile with your mouth, lead by example, work and speak when spoken to. Don’t step out of line and try to be somebody you’re not, because there are guys that have been there longer than you that will sniff that out right away.”
Watch the videos below for the complete interviews with both Taylor and Keller: