Photo Credit: Ohio State Athletics

It’s ‘Open Competition’ in Practice as Nebraska Prepares for Penn State

November 10, 2020

It’s an open-competition week for Nebraska at multiple positions. You already know the quarterback spot is getting looked at. Coach Scott Frost said so on Monday, but it goes beyond just that spot this week.

Offensive coordinator Matt Lubick and defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said they have spots up for grabs.

“I told the older guys I’m not trying to scare anybody,” Chinander said on Tuesday. “I don’t want to bench anybody but there’s some young guys who are playing well and deserve more reps.”

Some of the younger players that Chinander mentioned were safety Myles Farmer, cornerback Quinton Newsome and inside linebacker Luke Reimer. He also noted that some outside linebackers did more with their snaps than others. Chinander even made mention of defensive lineman Jordon Riley, who is a junior but still is new to the team.

On the offensive side of things, Lubick specifically called it an “open-competition week.” He mentioned both the offensive line and wide receiver as potential places where moves could be made.

And, of course, quarterback. Lubick believes Nebraska has two good quarterback options with Adrian Martinez and Luke McCaffrey.

“Whoever starts on Saturday, the other guy’s going to be his biggest fan,” Lubick said. “And I really believe that.”

As for two receivers who could see more time? Lubick mentioned both Marcus Fleming and Zavier Betts for having exceeded expectations this past week.

“They’re going to continue to get more plays and opportunities,” he said.

Whatever happens, it’s clear Nebraska has a number of spots open. The coaches are hoping this week of practice sorts it out before Penn State comes to town.

“It’s gonna be a good week of practice,” Chinander said. “And guys know that it’s on the line.”

More news and notes:

>> Lubick said receiver Wan’Dale Robinson needs to get more touches. Period. While defenses have adjusted their coverage to him, some of it comes down to what Nebraska is doing to get the ball in his hand.

“He’s proven he’s can carry the ball in the backfield,” Lubick said. “He’s proven he can carry the ball on fly sweeps.”

>> Inside linebackers coach Barrett Ruud thought the defense has shown progress so far but that the fourth quarter mistakes need to be corrected.

“Great defenses don’t give up those four or five plays, so we’ve got to tighten that up,” he said.

>> Matt Farniok, who started at center against Northwestern in place of Cam Jurgens, credited his brother for figuring out how to snap effectively. Matt said he and Will have been working on it together on and off for a couple of months.

>> Offensive lineman Ethan Piper thinks highly of the Huskers’ defensive line, saying they have potential to be one of the best in the Big Ten.

When asked about Ty Robinson specifically, Piper had nothing but good things to say.

“I think he has a very bright future in front of him,” he said.

>> Garrett Nelson said he wouldn’t want to be coached by anyone other than outside linebackers coach Mike Dawson.

“I can’t tell you how much of a blessing Coach is,” Nelson said.

>> What does Ruud think about Nebraska’s matchup with Penn State?

“They’re 0-3. They don’t think they’re an 0-3 team,” Ruud said. “We’re 0-2. We don’t think we’re an 0-2 team.”

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