‘Difference-maker’ Haarberg embracing NU opportunity under Rhule

Local4 News at 10
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 10:55 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KSNB) - Before Heinrich Haarberg was throwing touchdowns in Husker spring games, he carved up high school defenses in central Nebraska at Kearney Catholic.

“The young man has been athletic, obviously, all his life,” said Rashawn Harvey, Haarberg’s former high school coach. “When he came to Kearney Catholic as a freshman, we realized we had something special.”

Haarberg’s path to college playing time has been slow and he’s now on his third quarterbacks coach in as many seasons.

“It’s just a lot flying at you,” Haarberg said. “I feel like if you can comprehend it, apply it, you’re going to be successful.”

But the new Husker staff under Matt Rhule is taking notice to his raw athleticism.

“If I told you who the fastest guys on our team were, you’d probably be surprised,” Rhule said. “There are some guys that can really move. I think Chubba (Purdy) and Heinrich are two of the fastest, if not the fastest, guys on the team.”

“You look at Heinrich’s testing numbers, which they’ve talked about, you look at his size, you look at his speed, you look at his athleticism, you’ve got to find a way to use a guy like that,” Harvey added.

It’s opening opportunities for Haarberg to potentially see the field. Even if it’s in a different role..

“We’re a position-less offense,” Nebraska offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield said. “Our tight ends can play running back, our running backs can play receiver, our receivers can go play tight end, our quarterbacks can play receiver. Whatever you do, we’re going to line you up everywhere.”

“If there’s a situation where they say, ‘Hey Heinrich, we want to try you out here for a practice.’ I’ll attack it,” Haarberg added. “I really feel like I can play most positions on the field.”

“He understands he’s a young guy still in the program, but he understands his athleticism and he understands there’s opportunity there for him,” Harvey said.

For now, Haarberg says he’s going to continue his current path and learn from what Rhule calls “as talented a quarterback room as I’ve ever been a part of.”

“Right now, I’m just going to focus on quarterback development,” Haarberg said. “That’s what the coaches have asked me to do.”

And his new OC has one key criteria.

“I’ll put my dog out there to play quarterback if he takes care of the ball and helps us win games,” Satterfield said.

“That young man has always been a difference-maker in his athletic career, so we’re excited about him getting that opportunity to display that he is a difference-maker,” Harvey said.