Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Whipple, Husker Offense at Work with Oklahoma Loss Still Lingering

September 28, 2022

Nebraska offensive coordinator Mark Whipple didn’t like the Husker offense’s inconsistent output against Oklahoma. The performance’s fallout permeated with him an extra week.

“We didn’t play very well against Oklahoma, credit to them,” Whipple told media members on Wednesday. “It stays with you a little longer on the bye week.”

The loss to Oklahoma dealt the Nebraska offense its worst outing of the season. Nebraska scored just 14 points, well below the team’s 30.5 point average. While the Huskers scored on their first and final drives, seven of the 12 drives in between ended in punts. They accrued 188 total yards out of 57 plays in those 12 drives.

Quarterback Chubba Purdy entered the game, replacing starting quarterback Casey Thompson. Whipple said that wasn’t for Thompson’s performance, coaches simply wanted Purdy to gain game reps. The offensive coordinator still wants to see what more players can do during games. Interim head coach Mickey Joseph shares that mentality.

Whipple told reporters he’s fine slowing Nebraska’s offensive tempo if needed. That’s something Joseph wished he would have done earlier against Oklahoma. Whipple said Wednesday he didn’t think it would have made much of a difference at that point, already trailing by four touchdowns.

“At that point, you know, you just go ‘Hey, you got to make some plays on both sides,’ Whipple said, “make more plays on offense.”

Whipple and Joseph are working well together, the veteran coordinator said. He’s been happy to share some advice and input with Joseph, having already been a head coach himself. Whipple joked that Joseph needs to move his equipment out of the coaches’ locker room so the rest of the staff can make fun of him.

Speaking to Joseph’s pledge to implement changes, Whipple said the team has and will continue to change. Some of those changes, however, would be difficult to gauge week to week.

A minor change involves increased communication among offensive personnel. Nebraska gave up four sacks and plenty more hurried throws in the Oklahoma game. Whipple said most of those mistakes were rooted in miscommunication between offensive linemen and the backfield.

“It wasn’t like the guy got beat physically, you know, communication where we’re sliding in line and that just comes from time to time,” he told those gathered.

Changes going forward involve an incomplete roster. Running back Ajay Allen is out of the season after collarbone surgery and lineman Kevin Williams Jr. is ruled out for the Indiana game. The team’s played without tight end Travis Vokolek twice this season and started the year without receiver Omar Manning. While starting every game, Casey Thompson has attended post-game press conferences with wrapped knees and bloodied pads.

Any loss among the team hurts. Whipple was especially reflective of Allen’s growth before suffering the injury. He said the freshman developed well and was in the middle of a good game before getting taken off with the injury.

“He showed enough that we were playing him as a freshman,” Whipple said. “But, you know, as I said, the next guy’s up.”

Redshirt freshman tight end Thomas Fidone is practicing without shoulder pads and helmets right now. That includes drill work and running with teammates. Whipple wasn’t sure where the young tight end is at in a doctor’s timeline.

Whipple praised the Huskers for being disciplined and sticking practicing hard throughout a loaded few weeks. He reiterated how much he “really likes these kids” for their work ethic and teamwork.

He also maintains appreciation for Nebraskans beyond the locker room.

“A couple neighbors still waved at me the other day,” he said. “So I guess we’re alright.”

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