LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf and coach Mike Riley have never had a quarterback like Tommy Armstrong. So, they’re contouring the offense to one that meshes their pass-heavy attack from their past, Armstrong’s running ability, and some NFL schemes.
Langsdorf said after practice on Wednesday that the coaching staff studied Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and the Philadelphia Eagles offense under coach Chip Kelly during the offseason to prepare for implementing more run plays for Armstrong.
Langsdorf said they like how the Seahawks give Wilson the space to make a play. Under Kelly, the Eagles were relentless in running the ball. In adapting those schemes for Nebraska, the Huskers are clearly trying to create an offense that works for their scrambling quarterback.
“He is such a threat running, and that’s good for us,” Langsdorf said of Armstrong. “We had to fit what we want to do a lot with what we have.”
After Armstrong, Langsdorf said he likes the 1-2 punch of senior Terrell Newby and sophomore Devine Ozigbo. Ozigbo only had three carries in the first half against Oregon, but ran 18 times in the second half. The diversity at running back is something Langsdorf likes, despite the push for having one main back.
“It’s a change of pace,” Langsdorf said of utilizing two running backs. “Both deserve playing time and it’s a different style of running.”
The Northwestern defense will give up yards, but it doesn’t give up a lot of points, Langsdorf said.
The Wildcats have one of the worst pass defenses in the Big Ten, but they are only allowing 14 points a game this season. Langsdorf said the passing game will be essential.
“They’ve bent but they haven’t broken,” Langsdorf said.
Some more notes from practice:
- Nebraska is practicing on grass this week in preparation for the field in Evanston, Ill. The grass doesn’t change the offense too much, Langsdorf said. Mostly the team needs to get used to using the right cleats.
- Sophomore WR Bryan Reimers had his first career catch as a Husker on his touchdown last Saturday against Oregon. Langsdorf said he was proud of how Reimers played the whole game. He noted how Reimers blocked against the Ducks, and that he saw that potential this spring.
- OL Sam Hahn said the matchup against Northwestern is always one of Nebraska’s toughest games: “They’ve been 4-0 against us or 0-4, now they’re 1-2, it doesn’t matter it’s still the same Northwestern team that’s tough as nails and just flat plays us tough. We have tremendous respect for Northwestern.”