Husker QB Chubba Purdy made the most of limited spring, ready for offseason
When quarterback Chubba Purdy first arrived at Nebraska after transferring from Florida State, he noticed his foot wasn't feeling right but tried to tough it out. Eventually, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound quarterback stopped practicing to take care of his foot.
“I was doing 7-on-7 for a little bit and then I shut that down because it wasn’t feeling good on my foot, and then I started back up a week ago from Friday and did some stuff," Purdy said after Nebraska's Red-White spring game. "Then I was a full-go Monday, Wednesday and then today so I didn’t really have a spring but I did what I could.”
The redshirt freshman, who has four years of eligibility, said he "unplugged" to heal his foot as he spent a lot of time watching film and learning the playbook over the five to six weeks it took to heal his foot.
But coming to a new school and then immediately sitting out and sitting back was tough for Purdy.
"I wanted to get in there and show these coaches and teammates what I can do, try to learn, read and get the physical reps, not just the mental reps," the Arizona native said. "It was tough but I prayed about it, asking God to heal my foot, and over the last couple of weeks, it’s gone way better and I’m super excited to be back.”
After two full practices with the Huskers, Purdy was able to suit up for NU's Red-White Spring game and led three series in the first half.
He went 5-of-10 for 63 yards and marched the offense into scoring position twice, although they went 0-for-2 in the red zone on touchdowns and 1-for-2 on field goals as kicker Chase Contrarez missed a 42-yarder.
Purdy found tight end A.J. Rollins for the longest pass (27 yards) of the first half, placing the ball perfectly ahead for Rollins to catch it in stride and away from his two defenders. Rollins's catch put Nebraska in the red zone but after back-to-back rushes and an incomplete pass to Rollins on the third down, Contreraz nailed the 26-yard field goal attempt.
On the next drive, Purdy had an 8-yard pass to Rollins and then a 15-yarder to wide receiver Kamonte Grimes for the first drive with two first downs. However, Purdy's second pass to Grimes on the drive was broken up but defensive back Tyreke Johnson on third-and-9. Contreraz missed the 42-yard field goal.
Purdy's third drive featured a 6-yard scramble by the quarterback for a first down and a 12-yard pass to wide receiver Zach Weinmaster on the next play for back-to-back first downs. The drive ended with an incomplete pass to Weinmaster on the home sideline, but if Nebraska could review, they would have seen that Weinmaster got both feet in bounds.
“I thought I did pretty well," Purdy said of his performance. "I still missed some throws but overall, I think I did alright and I could do better.”
Generally, Purdy thought the offense did pretty well during the spring and the Red-White scrimmage.
“During spring, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs and we’ve only gotten better and today I think we did pretty well, the ones, the two, the threes," he said. "Everyone was really excited and we’re growing as a team and I think we performed pretty well and we’re just going to keep getting better.”
Nebraska Head Coach Scott Frost said he wasn't going to "crown" anyone the Huskers' starting quarterback after the spring game. One of the key pieces to the equation, Purdy, missed most of the spring.
“Chubba missed a lot of time," Frost said. "He has had some good practices late in spring ball and there will be a lot more reps for everybody to make a decision.”
As for the spring in general, Purdy said he has seen each position group on the offense improve.
“We’ve gotten way better, drastically better," he said. "The O-line’s gotten better. The running backs look great. Receivers did pretty well today, they looked great, catching and reeling stuff in. Tight ends. Our momentum is rolling right now so we’re going to be just fine.”
The Huskers have a week off after the spring game and then are back to working out in the weight room.
Purdy said the quarterbacks and wide receivers will spend time running routes and plays this off-season to be ready when fall camp starts.
“I haven’t really thrown much to these receivers, just a little bit in 7-on-7, some team stuff, but as all of us get together, we’re going to throw like every other day in the offseason," he said. "So the receivers are going to understand what quarterbacks have a strong arm, which ones are going to zip it, which ones are going to float it in. When we got that connection with our receivers, we’re going to be just fine.”