LINCOLN, Neb. — It wasn’t perfect. Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf knows that.
But when Nebraska’s offense was playing clean against Arkansas State, he felt good about it. The mistakes are what wreaked the most havoc.
“Without looking at the tape, it felt pretty good at times,” Langsdorf said. “We had a couple of drives where we were really out of sync with the holding penalties, and we had a false start. It just shows you that when you’re digging yourself a hole, how hard it is to get out of it.”
The same could be said about quarterback Tanner Lee. It was his first start as Nebraska’s quarterback. He had 238 yards and 2 touchdowns on 32 attempts. He was sacked once and never intercepted.
Langsdorf knew there would be some minor growing pains with Lee, and the whole offense for that matter. That’s why he wasn’t as worried about the little mistakes against Arkansas State.
“I thought [Lee] was really good,” Langsdorf said. “He missed a fade to [Stanley Morgan Jr.], kind of pushed it outside and didn’t really give him a chance in bounds, but I thought he was really solid. It was a good first game for him. He played smart and got us in some good situations call-wise.
“I think overall, I’m really pleased.”
So, while Lee may have missed the fade to Morgan, he made up for it elsewhere. One example? That 44-yard strike to Morgan for Lee’s first touchdown as a Husker.
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Morgan knew those passes were coming, too. Both players are from Louisiana, which prompted a joke from the wide receiver when he thinks about his quarterback.
“Tanner Lee always wanted to play with me on my team down in New Orleans,” Morgan said. “That’s just what it is. He just wanted to be with me.”
Jokes aside, Morgan and Lee are a solid duo both on and off the field. In fact, Lee told Morgan before that 44-yard touchdown that they were going to go out and score.
“I said OK,” Morgan said. “It was as simple as that.”
The mistakes are fixable. Langsdorf believes so, at least. In Lee’s case, he saw a quarterback willing to talk through the mistakes and learn.
As the game progressed, Langsdorf and Lee would get on the headsets to discuss what the other was seeing. Lee would talk about the drive and provide information to Langsdorf, and Langsdorf would do the same.
“He was great on the phones,” Langsdorf said. “Very poised, just like he is all the time. I wasn’t expecting anything different there.”
With Nebraska’s 43-36 victory over Arkansas State in the past, Langsdorf and his offense will watch the film and grow. They want to fix those mistakes before next Saturday’s matchup with Oregon.
Lee may not have been perfect against the Red Wolves, but he showed promise. And that’s exactly what Langsdorf was looking for.
“He might not make a guy miss and scramble around, but the ball comes out so he’s not getting sacked,” Langsdorf said. “He knows where to go with the ball. He’s very good on checking the ball down. I thought he did all that stuff [Saturday night] very well.
“He just missed some throws, but I thought he played very smart and that’s encouraging to me.”