Lincoln, Neb. – The Nebraska football team practiced inside the Hawks Championship Center and outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass practice fields for an hour and 15 minutes in shorts and helmets Monday.
Offensive Coordinator Danny Langsdorf spoke with the media after practice in response to Head Coach Mike Riley’s announcement today about quarterback Tanner Lee, who is undergoing concussion protocol. Redshirt freshman quarterback Patrick O’Brien is expected to fill Lee’s shoes this weekend when the Huskers take on Penn State.
“I thought he did some good things,” Langsdorf said regarding O’Brien’s performance in the second half of last Saturday’s game against Minnesota. “He actually scrambled around a little bit, made some plays with his legs. I thought there were a couple throws, maybe a little bit better accuracy, but for the most part, I thought he went in there and did some good things. We were in a situation where we had to throw to get back into it a little bit more than we’d like, and I did think he made some big plays, I thought he got the ball to JD [Spielman] a few times, some nice stuff. So I think the experience was great for him, think he had to play a whole half, and we were down and trying to get back in it, so we were going to make some throws, but I thought that was good work for him.”
Langsdorf said that he’s seen improvement by O’Brien as he’s worked alongside Lee throughout the season.
“I think being the No. 2 guy can be tough at times when you’re practicing all week and you’re not really getting that many reps and then you’re not playing in the game,” Langsdorf said. “I think that’s important for him, and I think he did a nice job of being ready to play. He went in there and we didn’t really look like we were screwed up or miscalling things or not getting guys lined up, I thought all of that was really procedurally well done by him, so I think it’s a credit to him being ready to play and staying with it and continuing to prepare.”
Regarding the Nittany Lion defense, Langsdorf said Nebraska has high expectations.
“They’re talented everywhere,” Langsdorf said. “I know they’ve had a couple of tough games, but they’re really physical, they play about 10 guys up front in a good rotation, so they’re really fresh and active. Their linebackers are like you would think they would be at Penn State – they’ll run, hit, cover, all the stuff. I think their corners are good players. No. 2 (Marcus Allen) is a real physical safety, he plays down in the box a lot and he gets involved in the run game. So really top-to-bottom there, they’re very talented across the board.”
Langsdorf also said noise will surely be a factor at the boisterous Beaver Stadium this weekend, which seats 106,572 people.
“It’s loud, it’s a great electric crowd and they really get into it,” Langsdorf said. “I think that noise will definitely be a factor in this game, anytime you’re playing in front of that many people in that rowdy a crowd, it’s something you’ve got to practice for, so we’ve got noise all week and working the silent count, so it’ll be a good challenge.”
Nebraska will continue its preparation for Penn State on Tuesday. The Huskers will kick off on Saturday at 3 p.m.