LINCOLN, Neb. – There is one question on every mind in Husker Nation, and that is “What the heck is going on at the quarterback position in Lincoln?” Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf provided an update on Tuesday night.
Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Ryker Fyfe both participated in practice and Zack Darlington continued to get some snaps at quarterback as he has been recently.
“Everybody got a little work today and we’re kind of playing it day-by-day,” Langsdorf said. “We’re hoping for the best. We’re kind of preparing for a lot of scenarios … Just with the short week and kind of our injury situation, we’re having to kind of prepare for some different things to happen. We’ve got it covered but we’ve had to take a little time and then make sure we’re covering all of our bases with that situation we’re in.”
To help Armstrong return to the field after suffering a hamstring injury that kept him out of last week’s win against Maryland, Nebraska essentially attached an “artificial hamstring” to his leg to help reduce stress on his actual hamstring.
“Fake hamstrings out here,” Langsdorf said. “It is a little interesting. But they’ve got some pretty good tricks so hopefully we can get him going.”
To get to where he is now, Armstrong has been spending a lot of time with trainer Mark Mayer.
“He’s doing a great job, not only me but for everybody else on the team,” Armstrong said. “I just have to trust in what the doctors say and believe they have your best interests. That’s what I’ve learned over the past couple years of being around Mark and understanding. Me and Mark have a great friendship. My last year here, I’ve become probably the closest to him than anybody else because I’m in there so much, definitely this year. Just being able to go out there and do what I’m doing, just trusting in him to get me right each and every week. Like he always told us, it’s hard having bumps and bruises and turning around six days later and going out there and having another game. It’s a great feeling to have a guy like Mark to have our best interest and tell us what we can do and can’t do based on our performance throughout the work.”
Never one to lack confidence, Armstrong said he thinks he’s ready to play right now, although the coaches said the decision will go right up to game time.
“I’m confident. I’m rested up. I’m good to go,” Armstrong said. “I’ve just been practicing as much as I can. I feel like if we had a game today I’d play. I’m ready. It’s been a long wait for me to get out there on the field and practice with my boys. It’s a good sign that I’m actually out here at the beginning of the week to get out here and get some work in with them.”
>> Langsdorf also offered his early evaluation of the Iowa defense.
“They’re always really sound,” Lagsdorf said. “A bunch of high-energy, high-motor guys. They’ve got really good linebackers. 67 is a D-tackle that’s a force inside. They’ve got a great corner in King. They’re playing senior day at home and they’ll be ready to go. They’re a group that’s not out of position very often. They run around, they fly to the ball and they’ll hit you. They’re not afraid to fill it up in there and wrap some people. They’ll be very physical. They’ll be sound. The linebackers will be key, making sure we get to them in both run and then being able to protect.”
>> Senior wide receiver Alonzo Moore did not practice and is day-to-day.
>> Defensive coordinator Mark Banker provided a comprehensive breakdown of what he expects to see from the Iowa offense.
“They’re big and strong up front, the best coached offensive line technically, technically sound, that we’ve seen,” Banker said. “They are very stick-to-it-ive with the run game, we saw that out of them last year as well plus you see it on tape. They believe in it, they’re going to stay with the same play where they get no yards or two yards knowing that they’re going to break one eventually. The other part of it is obviously who’s carrying the ball. 29 [LeShun Daniels Jr.] and 25 [Akrum Wadley] are both more than capable backs. 29, he’ll hammer you. 25 has really improved over the last year. They kind of only used him in the outside game and in the passing game, and they’re using him on a full-time bases. Between the two of them, they have about 1,700 yards and about an equal amount of carries; 29 has a few more.
“I think Beathard, the fact that he’s a senior quarterback – any time you have a senior quarterback, when it affects the passing game, he knows exactly what he wants to do with the ball, he knows how to take care of it and his location is very good. The receivers are more than capable. They’ve got good athletes. 83 [Riley McCarron] has the most receptions – slot, motion, jitterbug, get up on you and disappear on you. The tight end we didn’t see last week; I suspect he’d be back and he’s a big part of their passing game as well.”
>> Senior safety Nathan Gerry evaluated how safety and nickel corner Aaron Williams has done early in his career. Like Gerry, Williams played right away as a true freshman.
“I try to compare him a little bit to me, but we’re two different people,” Gerry said. “He’s a shorter, scrappier kind of guy. I’m kind of a bigger, more powerful kind of guy. I learn a lot of things from him and he learns a lot of things from me. It’s nice to see that out of a sophomore and leaving this place, he’s going to take over this safety group and I think he’s going to do a tremendous job.”
>> Finally, Armstrong offered his take on whether or not Nebraska has a rivalry with Iowa.
“I wouldn’t say so,” Armstrong said. “It’s a competitive conference. You really can’t say anyone’s a rival because every game feels like a rivalry game because you look forward to playing everybody. We look forward to playing Wisconsin, we look forward to playing Northwestern, we look forward to playing anybody and everybody in our conference just because we know what to expect from those guys. It’s going to be a tough game in their atmosphere. I played there a couple years ago. We know what to expect – it’s going to be loud, it’s going to be energetic. We just have to make sure that we do our job and prepare the right way. Those guys, they know what’s coming and we know what they have for us up there.”
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.