What would you
like to see
Joe Chrisman earns respect as backup quarterback
By BOB SCHALLER
For the Star-Herald
LINCOLN After a knee injury left Joe Chrisman limping, he wondered what it would do
to the college football career he had planned on for so long.
At Nebraska his first year, the walk-on was really a limp-on, struggling with the injury
that never seemed to go away. He had surgery, and came back last year as a redshirt
freshman to be the third-string quarterback as the Huskers redshirted highly-regarded
recruit Jammal Lord.
The plan was for Lord to become the No. 2 quarterback this year. But something happened on
the way to the depth chart
Chrisman earned the respect of his teammates and coaches by the way he rehabbed for the
injury, and the way he picked up the offense. He is currently listed as the co-No. 2
quarterback along with Lord. While Lord was impressive with the exception of an
interception he threw during Saturdays win Chrisman is still in the running.
And that he can run at all means a lot to the Colorado native, who played for Longmont
I always thought in the back of my mind that I could play here, Chrisman said
after doing just that Saturday. Wyoming contacted me and so did Montana State. Air
Force talked to me, but I didnt want to be in the military. I had it down to Wyoming
and Montana State, and then Nebraska called.
But Nebraska called to offer a chance, no scholarship or anything. The Huskers are prone
to switching high school quarterbacks and running backs to receivers or defensive backs.
Still, Chrisman came to Lincoln.
I wanted to play in the big time, Chrisman said, and this is it.
Hes also developed a very good relationship with Eric Crouch. The two are very much
alike: Quiet, hard-nosed players who earn respect with actions rather than words.
I cant think of anyone I respect more than I do Eric Crouch, Chrisman
said. Id like to be like him not just because hes the starter,
but because of the leader and the kind of person he is.
Crouch, who in the preseason took time on several occasions to talk up Chrisman and Lord
said that he sees a lot of himself in Chrisman.
Hes kind of quiet, like I was, Crouch said. Hes the kind of
person who has just great character. And for all the great things about playing here, one
of the greatest things is that you get to meet people who have great character, like
Chrisman is only 5-foot-11, 190 pounds. Physically, he reminds one of a more muscular Matt
Turman, who found himself third team behind Tommie Frazier and Brook Berringer before
getting sandwiched between Scott Frost and Frankie London the following two years. But
Turman was never a real threat to be the starter, not as long as there was a recruited
player on the roster who had Division I size and skills.
Solich dropped the first hint that Chrisman was the real deal at Big 12 Media Days in late
July when someone asked about Crouchs then-only backup, Lord. Solich replied,
You have to mention Joe Chrisman. Hell figure into the mix too.
He has, and more. Chrisman is a legitimate Division I athlete. His arm-strength and speed
he hits the corner on the option as fast as anyone, except perhaps Crouch
would make him a starting candidate at any Division I school if he were just two or three
As it stands now, Chrisman enjoys competing every day for the No. 2 job. In fact, he just
plain likes competing.
I still deal with the pain its not going to go away, Chrisman
said. That time I was out (injured and rehabbing) was just so tough physically and
emotionally. But Id do it all over again. I turned down several scholarships to come
here, because this is what I want to be a part of.