More directly than ever, Nebraska coach Mike Riley answered the question fans have wondered for the past two years.
How does he really feel about running quarterback Tommy Armstrong?
His answer? He loves it. He wants more of it.
“Well, we know we have to use him as dual-threat guy,” Riley said during the Big Ten teleconference on Tuesday. “That is definitely going to be part of us. We did that some last year and more in spring and more so far this year. So we like that. We like to think we can run with the tailback, quarterback and receivers now and again.”
Here’s what else Riley said during the teleconference:
Question: Is the win over Oregon proof that the program is progressing?
Riley: I think so, for sure. We had a good start going into that game, but not great. There were a lot of things that we really needed to improve on, and we still do. We won the game. I think it was a great win for us. We have a lot of respect for Oregon, our teams have played them against them for years and years.
It was good to win. It was good for a good team to win. So we’ll see how we can capitalize on that and how to improve on that.
Do you think you needed to see that win to prove your team is for real?
Riley: Oh, I really like this team. I’ve liked them from the end of last year, what they’ve been doing to right now. But I did know this would be a good game for them to continue to build their identity. You respond either way, win or lose, but winning that game was good for this team and now we’ll find out how to handle that.
We weren’t perfect. We had some issues, leverage issues on defense, tackling issues. Offensively, we were good and bad in the same game. But I love the team’s fight and love the finish, so hopefully we can build on that.
What’s the key to Tommy Armstrong cutting down on turnovers?
Riley: Well, it is absolutely through repetition and practice. And, you know, I also think it is through selection. As we’ve gone on, we try to determine what’s best for the quarterback, what’s best for the offense, so the selection of plays has been important and the repetition for it.
We’ve been doing well in that regard so far and we hope that that helps to keep this trend in pace. We were last in the league in turnover margin last year and we know we can’t be there if we want to be a good team. We’re getting better. We’re three games in and it’s better and we have to keep it going.