On Monday night, offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf met with Nebraska media following the team’s loss to Minnesota on Saturday, 54-21. The offense started the game well but just couldn’t sustain enough positive momentum to keep up with the Gophers on the scoreboard.
Since starting quarterback Tanner Lee didn’t leave the locker room with an injury that had him in concussion protocol on Monday, redshirt freshman Patrick O’Brien got the first extended game action of his Husker career.
“I thought he did some good things," Langsdorf said. 'He actually scrambled around a bit and made some plays with his legs. I thought there were a couple of throws, maybe a little bit better accuracy but for the most part he went in there and did some pretty good things. We were in some situations where we had to throw to get back into it more than we like, but I did think he made some big plays. He got the ball to JD a few times, some nice stuff. I think the experience was great for him. He had to play a whole half and we were down and trying to get back in it so he needed to make some throws but I thought that was good work for him.”
Mike Riley noted on Monday that O’Brien was put in a difficult spot, already being down and the opponent expecting the pass. However, Langsdorf mentioned how O’Brien’s preparation throughout the season is a real testament to his work ethic.
“Being the number-two guy can be tough at times when you are practicing all week, not getting a ton of reps and then you are not playing in the games. He did a nice job of being ready to play. He went in there and we didn’t look like we were screwed up or miscalling things or not getting guys lined up. I thought things were procedurally done well by him. I think it’s a credit to him being ready to play and stay with it, continuing to prepare.”
One of the other growing topics this season has been the lack of production from the offense. The defense has taken a lot of arrows this season for the yards and points surrendered but has the offense held up its end of the bargain?
“I think we that we talk about on our side about trying to complement both special teams and defense," Langsdorf said. "I thought that we answered. We had the special teams touchdown and we came right back with a 12-play touchdown drive. I thought we moved the ball well on the second drive to tie the game but don’t get the fourth down and that hurt us.
"We’ve had times where it’s been good. We’ve not capitalized on some good field position sometimes. We haven’t been scoring touchdowns in the red zone as often as we need to. Those have been things that hurt us but I think we to play together as a team. You have to be able to put a drive together when its needed. You have to get the ball out of bad situations and score when you get good field position. All those things. As a team, we haven’t been as consistent as we needed to be."
Other news and notes
>>Wide receivers coach Keith Williams said that he reminds guys during tough times just how lucky they are to have football.
"It's football. So, in our room, we talk a lot about the fact that it's a blessing to be in this situation as a young man," he said. "There's a lot of other roles in life that you could be going down, or be in, as opposed to being a student-athlete. So, these guys are going to come to practice and be ready no matter what."
>>Running backs coach Reggie Davis spoke about Riley’s steady hand in dealing with the adversity of this 2017 football season.
“When times get hard, that’s when peoples true colors come out. He’s been steady. Not to say that he’s happy with the way things are going by any stretch but as a leader and keeping us on an even-keel, not letting us lose our minds and get outside ourselves. He’s been good about that, reminding us that guys need us to be focused. Guys need to see that we set our faces towards the goal that’s in front of us and that’s what they will feed off of. That’s how he’s been and that’s how he’s always been and will continue to be."
>>Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh hinted at possible changes to the offensive line this week. He said that David Knevel is working his way to playing right guard and that he and Matt Farniok will split reps this week to determine who will start against Penn State.
>>Langsdorf gave us a preview of what he has seen from Penn State on film study thus far.
“I know they’ve had a couple of tough games but they are really physical, they play about 10 guys up front in a good rotation. So, they are really fresh and active. Their linebackers are like you would think they’d be at Penn State. They can run, hit and cover. All the stuff. I think their corners are good players. [Marcus Allen] is a real physical safety that plays down in the box a lot and gets involved in the run game. Really top to bottom they are very talented across the board.”