Sunday notes: Good, bad from offense early on
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For the fourth practice in as many days, Nebraska's offense was trying to learn, process and execute a new set of playbook installation as they work to get the full system in place for the start of the season.
[rl]As a result, some anticipated struggles have come along with it. Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said inconsistency was probably the biggest issue facing his group through the first week of fall camp, particularly in the play of NU's quarterbacks.
"Some ups and downs," Langsdorf said on Sunday. "Kind of the dog days of training camp, but there's been some good moments, some good periods at times. And then some not so good, some rough spots too. So a little bit of inconsistency, but we're getting there."
Given that the staff is throwing so much at the players with all of the new installation, Langsdorf said he and head coach Mike Riley are taking the early mistakes with a grain of salt. While they obviously want to get things shored up by the time BYU comes to town on Sept. 5, Langsdorf said he's also seen plenty of positives from the offense, including the overall development of starting QB Tommy Armstrong since the end of spring ball.
"I think he's really put a lot of time into workouts and throwing with the receivers," Langsdorf said. "He spent a ton of time studying. We've traded a lot of messages, and I think he's done a good job investing in some study time and great work in the weight room. I like how he's been progressing along."
Some of the other encouraging aspects of the first four practices for the offense have been the performance of the running game (though NU has yet to go in full pads this fall) and the play-action passing coming off of that. Langsdorf also said he's seen positive gains in the quick timing passes, which is direct result of the work the players put in this summer.
However, one of the areas that still needs improvement is the deep passing game. Poor accuracy and miscommunication between quarterbacks and receivers have left a lot of potential big plays on the field early on.
"We've just got to put the ball on the money," Armstrong said. "We've caught ourselves overthrowing guys here and there when they beat their guys one on one, but we're trying to fix that. When plays are out there to be made, we've got to make sure that we deliver the ball."
***Langsdorf said he could sense some fatigue setting in after four straight days of practice, especially with how hot and humid it was on Sunday. However, he said since the Huskers are going to be playing in Miami next month, they better get used to playing in the heat.
***Langsdorf said NU is still looking to find its best five on the offensive line, and he hopes to have a two-deep pretty much set within the next couple of weeks.
***One interesting development on the o-line is that redshirt freshman Nick Gates is apparently pushing Zach Sterup for the starting right tackle job.
***Langsdorf said he's also been impressed with the big play ability of Mikale Wilbon at running back. Langsdorf said he likes Wilbon's speed in the screen pass game and his home run ability in the zone read make him a nice weapon.
***Wide receivers coach Keith Williams said Jamal Turner has gotten "10,000 years better" from where he was at in the spring.
***However, Langsdorf added that Terrell Newby's knowledge of the offense and the position and the sharpness of his decision making still has him a bit ahead of the rest of the backs.
***Defensive tackle Vincent Valentine (bruised knee) was limited again, and wide receiver Sam Burtch did not practice and had a wrap on his knee. We'll get a full injury update when Riley addresses the media following Tuesday's practice.
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