NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nebraska coach Mike Riley reiterated Monday that the Huskers are planning to start senior quarterback Ryker Fyfe in the Music City Bowl against Tennessee on Friday.
When Nebraska began bowl practice last week, offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said Nebraska needed senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong back “soon” for him to be considered an option. That timetable seems to be up, though Riley did not announce Armstrong is officially out.
“I’m hopeful that Tommy makes progress and could be that emergency guy, possibly,” Riley said. “But it’s Monday right now. So I’m not going to say, finally, that he is out of the game for sure. But he has not practiced yet.”
Armstrong has been dealing with a hamstring injury for more than a month and did not participate in Nebraska’s first practice at Vanderbilt University on Monday. Riley said Armstrong is doing a good job of staying engaged on the sidelines and encouraging his teammates. But it hurts Armstrong not to be able to play.
“I think it’s hard for him when he’s not playing,” Riley said after practice. “We’ve been through this now a couple times this year, and he doesn’t like it. But that’s good. And at the same time, he is also respected for everything that he has done.”
Armstrong will finish his Nebraska career as the school’s leader in passing yards and is tied with 2001 Heisman Trophy Winner Eric Crouch for total touchdowns. He threw for 3,030 yards this season, with 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Fyfe, meanwhile is 1-1 in two career starts, with a win against Maryland this season and a 55-45 loss at Purdue in 2015.
Riley said Armstrong is a pretty good advocate for Fyfe heading into this game. And Fyfe seems to be a pretty good advocate for himself, too, Riley added.
“There’s a quiet confidence with Ryker that everyone recognizes,” Riley said. “What I see is a guy that’s really well-liked and respected.”
Riley also said freshman running back Tre Bryant has yet to practice but is getting better. Like Armstrong, Bryant has been dealing with a hamstring injury.
Sophomore linebacker Marcus Newby is “very, very questionable,” to play. Sophomore safety Antonio Reed will start in senior Nate Gerry’s place, Riley said. Gerry was ruled academically ineligible to play in his final game.