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Austin Urges Linemen holding ball
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Cavanaugh Seeking Consistency Up Front

August 17, 2017

According to offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh, Thursday was a bit of a blip in what has otherwise been a”damn good” camp for the Huskers up front.

“I just didn’t think we had that frickin’ intensity that we need, so I jumped their butts down there after,” Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh wants to see more consistency out of his unit, although offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf did say the group was making progress.

“We had some tough pressures that we have to handle,” Langsdorf said. “I think all the pressure we’re seeing in practice has been really good. It’s been hard. We’re protecting pretty well. Part of it is the quarterback getting rid of the ball. I like how they’ve come along. They’ve really come together as a group. We had a couple guys off the edge that were free; we’ve got to be able to call it correctly and then handle it and be on the same page. That takes some time to jell together but I think they’re progressing pretty nicely.”

Cavanaugh praised new defensive coordinator’s Bob Diaco’s defense and said the 3-4 gives the offensive line a great opportunity to work against many different looks.

“I think we’ve had some good moments, but we’ve got to get more consistent,” Cavanaugh said. “Today I don’t think was a great day. The fun thing for us, though, is Coach Diaco’s defense is very, very multiple and it’s been awesome to go against everyday. You get different stuff, whether it’s red zone, if you’re in third down, first and second down, it’s really good for us, great work.”

The offensive line is going to have to be ready for everything this season as Langsdorf said he is striving to have a balanced offense that can both run and pass depending on what the situation calls for.

“It’s hard to put a number on it because it’s really how the defense is playing,” Langsdorf said. “If they’re really playing hard, a lot of guys in the box, it’s going to be sometimes tough to run so we have to be able to soften them up and then get back to running. We always feel we’re at our best when we’re balanced. If we can be a good balance of run and then the play action off of it, that’s when we do our best. If we get too one-dimensional either way, it’s not very good.”

The most notable bit of news to come out of Thursday’s post-practice was that Cavanaugh has called the center battle in favor of Cole Conrad over Michael Decker.

“He’s done a pretty good job overall consistently with calls, technique,” Cavanaugh said. “Everything starts with that center, so big, big job there.”

>> While the center battle has been called, the running back one is still very much ongoing. Langsdorf said it is going to be difficult to make any solid decisions until they see the backs perform under true game-like situations with full contact.

“It’s a tough evaluation until you go live,” Langsdorf said. “I think Mikale [Wilbon] has done some very good stuff. Tre Bryant’s had a really good camp. I don’t think anybody has really separated from that group quite yet; I think we need a little bit more work, some live stuff is going to help us. Devine [Ozigbo] has really run the ball hard. I think Jaylin Bradley is progressing nicely as a freshman. You have to get some live tackling in there to really have a good evaluation. When you’re doing things that aren’t live, it makes it hard sometimes to see how they’re hitting the hole and breaking tackles and taking on those hits. It’s just a tough evaluation and we haven’t had anybody really take off with that job yet.”

>> Langsdorf provided his weekly update on the quarterback position, which was a both positive and negative.

“Some good, some bad,” Langsdorf said. “I thought [we had] a really good first-and-10 — I thought we hit some runs and I thought they made some plays throwing the ball. We had some tough third downs where we’re making it hard, trying to get some conversions to get us into the red zone. But it was pretty good work, really, all around.”

And of course, he was asked specifically about the battle for the back-up job between Patrick O’Brien and Tristan Gebbia.

“I think they’re getting a lot of even turns, and they’ve both had their day, good and bad,” Langsdorf said. “Both being young, they’re taking their lumps, but they’re doing some good things too. I think our depth at that position is good. It is a little bit young with Patrick and Tristan not playing a ton, but they’re smart guys and they’re really working at it. They make some rookie mistakes but other than that I think they’re coming along.”

>> The highlight of the day was a juggling one-handed catch deep down the field by freshman wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey, sandwiched between two defensive backs. Lindsey made catches all over the field and also showed his speed on a jet sweep or two. Langsdorf said it was one of the better practices of the fall for the newcomer.

“I think like most true freshmen he’s trying to get up to speed and I think probably thinking too much trying to maybe overthink stuff rather than just play,” Langsdorf said. “I think that today was a little bit better example of what he can do and what he can show. There’ve been some days where he’s played maybe not as fast because he’s probably thinking, but I liked what I saw today.”

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