The Battle at Backup Quarterback

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The Battle at Backup Quarterback

With four days left before the season opener against Souther Mississippi, Nebraska is still undecided on who its backup quarterback will be but graduate assistant and former Huskers quarterback Joe Ganz offered some insight into where the race stands.

“It’s between Tommy (Armstrong) and Ron (Kellogg),” Ganz said. “Both bring different aspects. Tommy is a little more physical, he’s a runner (and) can throw the ball. Ronnie is a pure, drop-back type passer.”

Last year’s backup, sophomore Brion Carnes, is slightly behind those two.

“Brion’s getting reps with the two’s and three’s,” Ganz said. “He’s battling, working his way up. It’s kind of like a three-man race for who’s going to be the backup.”

The thing that’s separated Armstrong and Kellogg is their maturity. Ganz said it was Armstrong who stood up and addressed the team in the meeting room following a poor practice for the offense earlier in fall camp.

“You would never know the kid’s an 18-year-old freshman,” Ganz said of Armstrong. “That’s the biggest thing, how mature he is not just as a person but also in the huddle.”

Kellogg, a junior walk-on who has yet to play in a game at Nebraska, has a similar presence on the field.

“He’s exactly what you want in a backup quarterback,” Ganz said. “He’s smart, he knows the offense. He can get people lined up…he knows the checks, he knows what Coach Beck is thinking when he’s calling the plays. He’s a real smart player and he’s a really, really good passer.”

Some other news and notes from Nebraska’s Tuesday practice:

–Defensive coordinator John Papuchis said the defense had a “lot cleaner” practice on Tuesday than it did Monday. Nebraska is in its third day of Southern Miss preparation.

–Papuchis said things are still a “little undecided” on the defensive line but the top five are defensive ends Cameron Meredith and Jason Ankrah with Chase Rome, Thad Randle, and Baker Steinkuhler first-up at defensive tackle.

–True freshmen defensive end Avery Moss and defensive tackle Aaron Curry are “still in the discussion” to play right away but the coaches have yet to make a final decision Papuchis said.

–No starters have been decided in the secondary either but Papuchis listed Andrew Green, Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Josh Mitchell, Mohammed Seisay, and Antonio Bell as his top cornerbacks. The race between senior is P.J. Smith and sophomore Harvey Jackson at safety is still too close to call. Papuchis said the pair could split time in the season opener.

–Smith is a native of River Ridge, La. and said he’s spoken with a few players on Southern Miss who he was familiar with from high school. He also said his parents could have some trouble getting to Lincoln for the home opener due to tropical storm Isaac.

Smith said his parents’ Thursday flight had been canceled but they were hoping to get out on Friday. It’s not the first time the Smith family has dealt with hurricane level weather. Smith was in high school when Katrina hit.

“It’s life-changing,” he said of that storm. “It hurt a lot of people but the city of New Orleans and Louisiana are moving forward.

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