LINCOLN, Neb. — There were plenty of mistakes. Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf will be the first to admit that.
Against Oregon on Saturday, Langsdorf watched quarterback Tanner Lee miss throws, overthrow the ball and ultimately walk away with 4 interceptions on the day. Langsdorf has an idea why, which he has since addressed with Lee.
“He was probably pressing, especially trying to get back in it,” Langsdorf said after practice on Tuesday. “I think maybe putting a little too much on his shoulders and I think he just pressed a little bit, but I think he made some plays too. He got us in some good situations. He got hit too many times, which affects everybody. We’ve got to clean up that part of it.”
Langsdorf originally called the game on Saturday a rollercoaster. After watching the film, he still feels that way.
But Langsdorf doesn’t put all of the blame on Lee. He saw an inconsistent offense on Saturday that struggled as a unit to protect the quarterback and allowed Lee to get hit too many times. On top of that, he saw his quarterback force plays that didn’t need to happen.
“It was inconsistent. I just think we’re getting hit too many times,” Langsdorf said. “I think part of the protection is making sure the backs and the tight ends are doing their part in their role, whether it’s blitzing a linebacker or chipping an end on their way out. The quarterback has to get rid of the ball. It’s a whole protection unit. I think that we’re taking too many hits. I think the quarterback is playing pretty fast.
“I think he can get rid of the ball quicker and we can do a better job as a whole unit of protecting the quarterback.”
The problems Langsdorf saw were not unique to the Oregon matchup. They were issues he saw in the Huskers’ win over Arkansas State too. And with Northern Illinois looming, he knows he has to get those issues solved quickly.
One of those areas of concern is Lee’s interceptions. The 4 against Oregon happened for a variety of reasons.
“I thought he misread one. He had a tipped ball in the beginning of the game that should have been caught,” Langsdorf said. “He got hit on the last one. He was a little early on the one with [Stanley Morgan Jr.] and it wasn’t timed very well. I don’t think we came out of the route as good as we probably should have and I think he was a little early and threw a little wide. There was kind of a bunch of stuff, but you get a tipped ball in the air and bad things are going to happen. It could have probably put it a little bit wider.
“You know, just all kinds of stuff went on with all four of them and that was obviously too many to win the game.”
He’s not worried about Lee’s confidence though. Langsdorf has a plan to keep Lee in a good headspace regarding the interceptions, which starts with quick throws and creating completions to find some rhythm.
Langsdorf is otherwise confident that Lee will bounce back. He’s seen nothing from his junior quarterback to feel differently.
“I think he had a tough game,” Langsdorf said. “I think he was hard on himself about it, which is a good sign for him and our team but I think he’ll bounce back and be great.”
Was Lee good enough against Oregon? Absolutely not, but that is what the Nebraska offense will spend the week working on. From protecting the quarterback to creating better rhythm, the Huskers have plans to be much more efficient (and less of a rollercoaster) as a unit by Saturday.
In the meantime, Langsdorf still likes what he’s seen from his quarterback to date.
“He’s great,” Langsdorf said. “He is an excellent communicator that way. Really kept his poised. He had the first play really as a bad way to start, and then I thought he came back and made some throws. I don’t have any problem with him. He’s a great competitor. He got extra work today like he does every week.
“All of it is exactly what you’re looking for in the position.”