LINCOLN, Neb. -- It was a long, winding and improbable road
Zac Taylor traveled to being named Nebraska's starting quarterback
First, he grew up cheering Oklahoma in his hometown of Norman --
tantamount to blasphemy to Big Red supporters who remember when the
Sooners were NU's chief rival.
Taylor started his college career at Wake Forest, where he threw
one pass in three appearances. Then it was on to Butler County
Community College in Kansas before heading to Nebraska, his third
school in two years.
The 22-year-old junior has been here eight months and was all
but anointed starter coming out of spring practice. But Callahan
waited four days before the opener against Maine to make it
"It's been a whirlwind since I've been here," Taylor said.
"It just seems like I've been in college for 10 years now."
Taylor said he knows what he's getting into at Nebraska, where
starting quarterbacks hold a special place in Husker lore.
"You hear people talk about Tommie Frazier, Eric Crouch and
Scott Frost. So you know you're in good company," Taylor said.
"You do get a feeling that playing quarterback here is really a
Taylor was so impressive in the spring that 2004 starter Joe
Dailey transferred to North Carolina. Nebraska receiver Terrence
Nunn said without hesitation that Taylor is a much better passer
than Dailey, the kind that can make the West Coast offense work in
With Dailey playing all but a few snaps at quarterback, the
Huskers ranked last in the Big 12 in passing efficiency with six
more interceptions (23) than passing touchdowns (17).
At Butler County, Taylor completed 63 percent of his passes for
2,682 yards for 27 touchdowns, with only eight interceptions.
Beyond the numbers, offensive lineman Seppo Evwaraye said,
Taylor possesses an important intangible -- poise.
"We'll see how he responds in game situations," Evwaraye said.
"To me, he looks like a veteran quarterback. Nothing seems to faze
Asked whether Taylor shows more maturity than Dailey did,
Evwaraye said, "Zac is a little more conservative. He won't lash
out. He's not real brash like that. . . Joe has his own style and
Zac definitely has his own style. He's really calm, gives us the
play and he's all about executing. Even if it's a negative play, he
doesn't jump on somebody and say, 'Why didn't you get that
Callahan said Taylor's cool demeanor is one of the qualities
that most impressed him.
"When it gets heated up on third down and the world is falling
apart in the huddle and you've got people draped over your neck and
coach is yelling at you, he's the calm of the storm," Callahan
Callahan wouldn't say how wide a gap there is between Taylor and
backup Joe Ganz on the depth chart, but it has been apparent for a
long time that Taylor would wind up the starter.
"When you take a lot of the [repetitions] with the 1s, you kind
of get a good feeling for where you're at," Taylor said.
Still, there is relief in having Callahan say it publicly.
"It's what I set out to do in the beginning, and I'm glad it
all came true," Taylor said.