LINCOLN, Neb. -- Sam Keller's whirlwind week found him with
new teammates on the Nebraska practice field Thursday.
A week ago Keller was Arizona State's starting quarterback.
Thursday, he was wearing a green No. 5 practice jersey and
preparing to lead the Cornhuskers' scout team.
"A lot of things happened really fast, back-to-back-to-back,"
Keller said. "It came at me really quick, so I had to have my head
on straight. It's been fun, though. Once I get settled in here,
it's going to be a nice deal."
Some preseason publications touted Keller as a Heisman Trophy
candidate, and he was prepared to pick up where he left off after a
broken thumb ended his 2005 season prematurely.
ASU coach Dirk Koetter announced Keller had won the starter's
job last Friday. But on Sunday, Koetter said he had made a mistake
and that Rudy Carpenter would be the starter.
Keller was given his release and began looking for a new school.
He said he picked Nebraska because he likes the Cornhuskers' West
Coast offense and believes it is the best vehicle to help him get
to the NFL.
As a transfer, Keller can practice but not play in games this
season. Next year he'll be a fifth-year senior and the overwhelming
favorite to succeed Zac Taylor as the Huskers' starter.
"This place is just a good fit all around," Keller said. "And
it seemed like they were really excited to have me. That felt good
to be wanted by such a big program."
He said he looks forward to being Taylor's understudy and
competing for the job next year.
"I want to have a role where I just absorb and learn and
support (the team) and be a sponge. There is a lot I've got to
learn," he said. "I want to get settled in and learn the offense
by spring and take it from there."
Keller declined to comment on the specifics of his departure
"That situation was decided based on what they thought was best
for their program," he said. "I can only control what I can
control. What I could do is make the best of a new opportunity. I
just want to come be a part of this team and help them win."
Keller burst onto the college football scene late in 2004 when
he started the Sun Bowl. He threw for 370 yards and three
touchdowns in a come-from-behind win over Purdue. That performance
stamped him as one of the nation's elite quarterbacks, and he was
unanimously voted an ASU team captain for 2005.
Last year Keller started the Sun Devils' first seven games and
completed 58 percent of his passes for 2,165 yards and 17
touchdowns. He broke his thumb trying to stiff-arm an Oregon
defender in the seventh game.
Keller said the events of the past week have taught him a lot
about dealing with adversity. He said he's up to the challenge of
starting over at Nebraska.
"I have a lot to do to earn my spot and earn the respect of
these guys," he said. "I'm in a whole new place, and I have to
show everybody here in Huskerland that I belong."