Not much has changed since the last time Joel Klatt was in Lincoln.
"I've never been to Lincoln when the sun is shining. I've never seen the sun here," Klatt said Saturday evening about an hour before Nebraska kicked off against Ohio State. "Every time I've been here — this is my third time — it's been overcast."
The sun didn't shine Saturday either, but plenty has changed for Klatt, the former Colorado quarterback now doing color commentary for Fox Sports.
Saturday marked his first time in Lincoln since 2004, when he was in his second season as the Buffaloes' starting quarterback.
He went 1-2 against NU in his career, losing a pair of home games in 2003 and 2005 but helping lead a 26-20 CU victory in Lincoln in 2004, when he went 18-of-29 for 222 yards and a touchdown.
Klatt’s role is different now, of course. A rising star on the television side of the game, Klatt is a part of the No. 1 college football broadcast team at Fox Sports. He’s the color man alongside the venerable Gus Johnson, matching the play-by-play legend’s unbridled enthusiasm with smart commentary.
His preparation is among the most intense in the game. He spent a good chunk of his time on the sideline Saturday watching each team warm up and talking with a scout from the NFL's Oakland Raiders.
But the affable Klatt also shook hands with several people along the NU sideline and posed for a few photos.
It was similar to the scene Klatt remembered from his team's victory in Lincoln 13 years ago.
"It was one of the most cordial fan bases I can ever remember," Klatt said. "To this day, I respect them so much. They were patting us on the back as we walked off the field. I remember it was one of the coolest games I've ever been a part of."
The former quarterback also had praise for Nebraska signal caller Tanner Lee, especially the junior's improved patience over the past three weeks.
"He's more confident in his movement, in particular where he's putting his eyes. You don't see him drifting with his eyes," Klatt said. "He's got a purpose with where he's putting his eyes and how he's moving in the pocket."
That improvement, Klatt said, should lead to better days for Nebraska as the season enters its second half.
"He reminds me of the exact type of quarterback that Mike Riley normally has success with," Klatt said. "I expect him to play well not only tonight, but during the back half of the season I think they're going to be a really good team. Because you're going to get all those development issues worked out."
As far as development, Klatt said, the Huskers are still a work in progress. That's not news to anyone wearing red. Klatt said NU would have to play perfect to have a chance against the Buckeyes, and, well, it was a 35-0 Ohio State lead at halftime.
"I'm actually somewhat surprised it's gone as well as it has at times. Obviously, the turnovers have been an issue, but they've cleaned that up the last couple games," Klatt said. "Just the little details here and there, and those will continue to get cleaned up as well."
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