When Patrick Witt decided to transfer and no longer continue his football career at Nebraska, I think it is fair to say it took everyone by surprise. Why you would decide to transfer one month into the second semester with spring ball one month away is baffling to say the least, especially when you have nowhere to go and are considered by many to be the leading quarterback heading into the spring ball. The hotly contested quarterback is sure to be the most talked about sports topic in Nebraska for the months of March and April. And guess what? It still will be with or without Patrick Witt.
The bottom line is that we aren’t going to miss him. In Witt’s short-lived time at Nebraska, he appeared in five games last season as a redshirt freshman and went 6-for-8 for 48 yard and rushed four times for 20 yards and a touchdown.
Thanks to his dad, I am guessing Patrick Witt is a prima donna. Patrick’s father, Gene Witt, moved him on four separate occasions in three years of high school to cater to his son’s football future. Think about that. To move a young kid four times before he was hardly even recruited by any college program is sending the kid the wrong message about his abilities and about what it’s like to commit to something and stick with it. Witt didn’t exactly have every major Division 1 program knocking his door down in high school. Witt’s father also had this to say about his son’s decision to transfer, “there’s a lot that went on. I wish I could say more, but I really can’t.” Gene Witt also refused to reveal any details, saying he needed to “protect” his son. I’ve also heard several rumors that Gene Witt called the Nebraska coaching staff on a consistent basis checking in on things. Guess what? Coaches hate that. Mitch Mustain’s mom, meet Gene Witt.
Much like everyone else, I can only speculate as to why Witt transferred without offering any concrete evidence. However, I’ll bet you that the arrival of Cody Green on campus had more to do with his transfer than anything else. I’ll venture to say that I think Witt could see the writing on the wall and it wasn’t promising. To be the most successful quarterback in Shawn Watson’s spread offense (or whatever he wants us to call it), you need to have mobility to maximize productivity. Zac Lee and Cody Green both provide more than Witt here. Sure, Witt might be the best passer we have at this time, but you can’t teach the speed and athleticism the other two quarterbacks have. More than likely, it was only a matter of time before Witt wasn’t the #1 and that wasn’t going to be acceptable to him or his father.
With Witt leaving the team, things now open up for a much smoother transition into the next season at quarterback. Now, you have a more than capable Zac Lee heading into spring as the #1 with super frosh Green most likely right behind. Although nobody knows for sure how quickly Cody Green will be able to adapt to the college game, I’m guessing it won’t be too deep into spring practice before we start hearing about his quick emergence and athletic ability. It took Terrelle Pryor only one month to become the starting quarterback at Ohio State in the 2008 season and he didn’t arrive on campus until August. And with Witt out of the picture, the door is wide open for Green to ease in without having to worry about possibly being buried at #3 on the depth chart to start the season.
I’m guessing that as we move on from here, things will be said and rumors will surface. However, I’m banking that one day we will hear that it was Cody Green who ultimately was the one that ran Witt out of town. Since he is and will always be a former Husker, I am obligated to wish Witt luck wherever he lands on his feet. However, I will have to be proven wrong when I say that his departure isn’t going to hurt this team at all moving forward.
The burden of having to worry about playing time for the next three years was obviously more than Witt was ready to deal with. I’d put money on the fact that Patrick Witt and his father wanted some kind of guarantee that he would be the starting quarterback and Watson and Pelini couldn’t offer that.