Ohio State offensive coordinator Tim Beck will watch the last quarterback he coached at Nebraska take on his own team on Saturday.
Beck, who was fired from Nebraska along with the rest of Bo Pelini’s staff in 2014, spoke after practice in Columbus, Ohio, on Wednesday. He said though he hasn’t watched much Nebraska football the past few years, he’s proud of the way Tommy Armstrong Jr. has played in the latter half of his career.
“I had him when he was a lot younger, when he was a redshirt freshman,” Beck said. “He’s playing really well for him and I’m proud of him. He’s obviously changed in their system and stuff.”
Armstrong has 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions this year. Under Beck as a redshirt freshman and then a starting sophomore, Armstrong threw for more than 3,000 total yards and had 31 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
“Those guys have done a good job coaching,” Beck said. “Tommy’s improved an awful lot.”
Beck was the running backs coach and eventual offensive coordinator at Nebraska from 2008 to 2014. Beck coached some of Nebraska’s top yard-getters in program history, including Roy Helu Jr, Rex Burkhead, Ameer Abdullah and Taylor Martinez.
Beck said he knew Sam Foltz, who died in a car crash this summer, and is glad Ohio State will be honoring him at the game on Saturday.
“It was a terrible loss,” Beck said. “Sam was a great young man and he was liked by everyone on the football team. It was quite a shock really for all of us involved that knew him.”
Beck said he was glad every team has been showing tributes to Foltz and it shows how close the football community really is.
On the field, Beck will be tasked at putting together a game plan to beat the Nebraska secondary, which has become one of the top pass defenses in the Big Ten. Beck said from Ohio State’s perspective he wants more “vertical” throws from his quarterback, J.T. Barrett.
The opportunities are there, Beck said. It’s just about making the throws.
“We want to take care of the football, first and foremost, and hit the open guy,” Beck said “Sometimes that open guy is a deep guy and we haven’t converted much and the chances are fewer and far between and we have to do a better job of hitting that guy.
Beck said he’s excited to face his old team.
His fondest memories from those years, Beck said, were the players.
“Just great kids,” Beck said of his years at Nebraska. “Great coaches. Getting the opportunity to be around coach (Tom) Osborne and getting to know him and just that environment it is a quite a place and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”