Archive for Monday, December 22, 2003

Nebraska QB Lord not looking back

Beleaguered Husker frustrated by fans, media, looks forward to future in pros

December 22, 2003


— His communications degree already in hand, Nebraska quarterback Jammal Lord clearly delivers his message about his feelings on the environment where he spent the last five years.

When asked what excites him about the Alamo Bowl game against Michigan State, Lord said, "That it's not in Nebraska."

When asked if he would miss the media, he shook his head no, smiled and said, "You won't miss me, either."

Lord dismisses the fans, many of whom booed him during the Huskers' 9-3 regular season. He has pointed out several times that the fans even booed Scott Frost, the quarterback who led the Cornhuskers to the 1997 national championship.

"I've aged a thousand times in experience and in life," Lord said. "I see things more clearly now, not only in football, but in life."

Turner Gill, who quarterbacked the Huskers in the early 1980s and now coaches the position as assistant head coach, said he understood Lord's frustration.

"He's gone through one of the worst times in Nebraska football in the last 40 years," Gill said. "He's responded well to the adversity. I'm proud of him."

Although Lord has struggled mightily as a passer, no one argues that he was one of the toughest, most durable quarterbacks in the nation this season.

Playing in a physical, ground-oriented offense, he has led the team in rushing attempts two years in a row. Lord has never missed a game because of injury.

Lord goes into the Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl in San Antonio second on NU's all-time quarterback rushing chart, with 2,494 yards. He is 29 yards from making the Huskers' career top-10 rushing list.

But fans likely will remember Lord as the quarterback of the 2002 team that posted a 7-7 record that was the program's worst in 41 years.

This year, he was criticized for his ongoing difficulties as a thrower. He completed only 46.6 percent of his passes last season, and only 48.4 percent this year.

For his career, he has thrown 22 interceptions and just 18 touchdown passes.

"Maybe one day it will soak in, what I did good or bad," Lord said, "and then I'll laugh or cry."

Though Lord has been skewered by local and national pundits for his quarterbacking, he still is considered a legitimate pro prospect.

"It doesn't matter what position I play," he said. "I'll play wherever."

Gill said the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Lord might make a good running back, tight end or H-back.

"I don't foresee him being a quarterback, but you never know," Gill said. "He's tough, and he has ability."

Lord said beating Michigan State, and earning a 10th win this season, would be just as important to the younger players as it would be for him and his fellow seniors.

"The freshmen and sophomores would have something to build on," Lord said.

Lord declines to engage in the guessing game about who will succeed the fired Frank Solich as head coach.

"It doesn't benefit me," Lord said, "so it doesn't matter to me."

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