Joe Hubener didn’t say anything.
Saturday night, starting sophomore quarterback Jesse Ertz went down on the first offensive drive for the Wildcats as a quarterback at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Monday morning, it was announced that Ertz was most likely done for the season.
As the 6-foot-5-inch junior strode his way out to replace his fallen comrade, there was no time for elegant “Friday Night Lights” speeches about overcoming adversity or winning this one for Jesse.
“Nope, he was buckled up, chin strap, listening to the play,” freshman center Dalton Risner said when asked if Hubener had words for his team when he took over on Saturday. “No time to really get nervous. He was ready to go.”
K-State fans first caught a glimpse of Hubener two seasons ago.
He was a redshirt freshman walk-on sitting behind the dynamic Daniel Sams and the illustrious Jake Waters on the depth chart.
During the Iowa State game (his only appearance that season) Hubener ran the ball twice for five yards to finish his mop-up duty as the Wildcats bounded past the Cyclones 41-7.
Come next season with Sams’s departure to McNeese State, the back-up roll was all Hubener with Ertz, coming off his redshirt year and a injury, playing third fiddle.
A 74-yard touchdown pass against TCU and a 64-yarder against Oklahoma State last season gave fans reason to ponder what would be.
Fast-forward once again to the beginning of the season. This time last week, Ertz was handed the keys and Hubener a playbook to read in the passenger’s seat.
Hubener, however, wasn’t as content with holding his back-up status as he was in the 2014 season.
“I am trying to prepare every game like I am starting,” Hubener said. “Last year, I do not think I had that mentality, but this year I am always going to prepare as if I am starting.”
And now we’re back.
Hubener would go on to have a decent day against the South Dakota Coyotes.
He completed exactly half of his passes to record 147 yards and a touchdown. He threw several pretty balls that were dropped, and he threw several ugly balls that were caught.
He also picked up 38 yards on the ground to finish up a fairly average performance.
“I need to work a lot on the connection with some of the receivers and just being on the same page,” Hubener said on Tuesday. “I think we did well last Saturday, but there is always something to work on. Especially with not having reps with them these past couple of weeks, it is important to get back into that groove and get on the same page.”
Hubener becomes the first quarterback to make his first start on the road since K-State great Ell Roberson led the Wildcats to a victory in Los Angeles against USC 10-6.
With the daunting task ahead, trekking back down to San Antonio to take on University of Texas at San Antonio roughly nine months after suffering heart break against a talented but beatable UCLA team, Snyder had very few words for his new starting quarterback.
“Just be Joe, that’s all,” Snyder said.
Snyder’s answer is most likely cryptic to most and truly decipherable only by the man himself.
“I think he was telling me just to play my game,” Hubener said. “In the spring, I tried to do too much and I think that’s what he’s telling me not to do. Just play my game, play within the offense and play smart.”
Joe being Joe was good enough to get K-State to a 1-0 record. And for now, that’s all.