LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska football team has been piping in crowd noise at practice all week. From the outside, it sounds like a game-show audience. On the inside, it’s helping the Huskers prepare for the noise at Autzen Stadium.
Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf is more than familiar with Oregon’s home field. He faced the Ducks when he was Oregon State’s offensive coordinator. For that reason, he knows what to expect.
“Autzen is top 5 in places I’ve been,” Langsdorf said after practice Tuesday. “They’re very disruptive. They don’t have a huge stadium, but they have a rowdy crowd. We’ve had trouble even on the phones before between the box and the field. It’s going to take a lot of concentration and poise.”
Part of building that concentration and poise is the piped-in crowd noise. Nebraska didn’t just unveil that this week, though. Langsdorf said it’s something the Huskers have been practicing with throughout the fall.
“We’ve been working on it all fall camp, and obviously this week, but the noise has been a part of our practice really from the beginning,” Langsdorf said. “We’ve had a lot of work at it, but it really is unsettling, and they really have to focus on the ball and making sure that the snap count and the false starts don’t become a big distraction.”
Aside from the game, Langsdorf is looking forward to going back to Oregon. However, he’s clear that it’s a business trip. And it’s a trip that will help prepare the Huskers for future road games, such as at Penn State.
“We’ve been there quite a few times in our history, so it’ll be kind of fun. We are definitely familiar with the surroundings and the hotel that we’ll stay at. We’ve stayed there every time,” he said. “It won’t be like we’re going to a new place where you don’t know where you are. There will be a lot of familiar sights and faces, so it’s kind of fun.
“But it’s kind of one of those deals where it’s a tough place to play and they’re a good team, so it’ll be a good challenge for us. It’ll be another exciting road game, and we’ve got plenty of those in our own conference.”
More from Danny Langsdorf
• The air quality has been a big topic in Oregon, and the idea that the game could be moved has been brought into the discussion. Wildfires have spread smoke that has triggered alerts for many in the state.
“We have friends and family out there, and they said it’s pretty bad,” Langsdorf said. “Hopefully we’ll get to play it.”
Langsdorf is ready to get redshirt freshman JD Spielman some playing time on the road. He hopes the Oregon matchup will help get him in the groove quickly, as Nebraska’s offense expects to need him on Saturday.
“He’s critical,” Langsdorf said. “[Because of] the coverages that [the Ducks] play and they do a nice job of changing things up. They disguise well and they give you a lot of different looks, but that inside receiver is big. A lot of times he’s critical in finding the hole in zone.”
• Now that he’s had a chance to watch film, Langsdorf has seen areas he’d like to improve. He sounded impressed with the offense overall but still wants to perfect things that tripped up the Huskers against Arkansas State.
“There was some good thing, and some things we’ve got to clean up,” Langsdorf said. “I didn’t think we handled some of the protection stuff very well. We took too many hits. We missed a couple of throws, dropped a few balls, had some silly holding penalties, so we had some things to definitely clean up in that game. [It’s] always a good teaching tool.”
• Oregon runs a 3-4 defense. Considering that Nebraska now runs a 3-4, Langsdorf is more than confident in his team’s adjustment to face the Ducks defense.
“You don’t have a week of practice to see a new front or coverage,” Langsdorf said. “You’ve had a month. I think that’s a good thing for us. I think it’s a little easier to go from practicing against a 3-4 to a 4-3 team than going the other way, so I think that’s been a good benefit for us.”