Listen to Doug Duda and Jim Langin's full interview with Heinrich Haarberg via the player above or at this link. The "Doug & Daddy Show" is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and all major podcast sites.

KEARNEY, Neb. — Nebraska’s only returning scholarship quarterback is keeping football top of mind while back home for winter break.

Heinrich Haarberg joined the “Doug & Daddy Show” on ESPN Tri-Cities for a 30-minute interview before Christmas. In the wide-ranging conversation, the Kearney Catholic product said it was a high-ankle sprain that took him out of the Maryland game and kept him on the sidelines for the Huskers’ final two games. 

“I couldn’t really do a whole lot after that,” Haarberg said. “Especially, you know, in the offense that we had kind of adapted to towards the end with a lot of dependence on the quarterback being mobile.”

He says the turnover troubles at the quarterback position were unacceptable and led to losses.

“When you think about something too much and then it’s just like all you’re doing while you’re in the pocket, or all you’re doing while you’re running,” Haarberg said. “It’s like, ‘don’t fumble the ball, don’t fumble the ball,’ and then next thing you know you get smacked and (the ball is) coming out.”

Haarberg says he never went to a tight end meeting and was never coached by anyone besides the quarterbacks coach in 2023. He expects it to stay that way in 2024, but says he’s open to being involved in the offense in other ways if he isn’t the starting quarterback.

“I know the routes because I’m a quarterback. I know all the plays, I know what route every single person is supposed to run. That’s something that we can use to our advantage,” Haarberg said. “Obviously, I’m going to keep battling. My first goal is to be the starting quarterback.”

Haarberg faced criticism for an unorthodox throwing motion that has a lower release point than most quarterbacks, which led to some passes being deflected. He says it’s not the way he’s always thrown and he plans to work on his mechanics.

“I think that’s just, you know, kind of a bad habit you pick up,” Haarberg said. “That’s something that I want to fix and something the coaches have told me, ‘hey, we’re going to work on this year.’ I think moving forward that will just be something that I work on when and where to do it.”

Haarberg says he has enjoyed the camaraderie with the other quarterbacks through his three seasons at Nebraska. Despite being the youngest Husker quarterback in 2023, he was the one who had been at NU the longest. Haarberg, who turns 21 in March, will be the oldest in the room this year.

“Hopefully I can uphold the — keep building the standard of the quarterback room, be a leader as much as I can,” Haarberg said. “I think this offense has a really good opportunity to be good this year.”