Nebraska-BYU week: Jordan Westerkamp

Nebraska receiver Jordan Westerkamp took the podium to talk BYU.

On if he felt like he had to increase his leadership, with all of the injuries at receiver
“I mean, yeah, as an older guy, that’s kind of part of your role, help out younger guys, coach them up a bit. Obviously, our receiver room, we had the injury bug, it seems to happen every single fall camp, but young guys stepped up, we worked through it, we’re starting to get a bunch of guys back now. Brandon Reilly’s cleared, he’s back, so that will be big for us. Obviously some (injuries) were more serious than others, with Demornay’s and Lavan’s (Alston), and it’s unfortunate, we’re praying for those guys. But injuries happen, and we have a 'next man up' mentality. The younger guys have been stepping up and making plays.”

On whether learning the offense was more difficult this year compared to last year
“Not necessarily. The biggest change was just concepts and the new lingo with the plays. For the older guys, I know it’s not as difficult, because we’re used to that kind of stuff, changing, being able to learn the new offense. I’m sure for some of the younger guys who just came in, it may be a little bit more difficult, but that’s just how it always is. Overall, it wasn’t much of a change, just besides the concepts and the lingo.”  

On the progression from day one of fall camp
“Our whole offense, and our whole team, we’ve gotten better, we’ve improved every single day, and I think that goes back to our attitude that we approach practice with every day: 'This is exciting, let’s go, let’s bring it every single day, we’re going to give it our all.'  We trust these coaches, we trust in what they’re preaching to us. We all bought in. Having spent time with the new staff, having spring ball, having summer with them, guys completely bought in now, and from day one of camp, we’ve just been practicing like crazy, and we’re ready to go.”

On being a punt returner
“It’s surprising, but unfortunately De’Mornay went down with his injury, and he’ll be back before we know it, and we’re praying for him. But right now I’m the punt returner, and I’m looking forward to it, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I know it was a struggle a couple of years ago, but I’ve learned a lot from it, and I’ve learned a lot from being able to watch De’Mornay do it, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

On what he learned returning punts in 2013
“Just some of the decisions I made. I think that whole year, the punt return unit was a bit of a struggle. We had a lot of adversity, and you learn from that, and you’re always learning from adversity. Going into this year, I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

On whether there is a difference now having a full-time special teams coordinator
“I think definitely because his (Bruce Read's) whole purpose is to focus on special teams, so you don’t have to worry about coaching another position, so that definitely helps. I thought this whole fall, our special teams has been a strong unit on our football team.”

On whether the veterans have let Coach Riley know about the atmosphere on gamedays
"We probably will as it gets closer to the game. I’m really looking forward to seeing his reaction. People say this but there really isn’t any place like Nebraska, so it’s going to be awesome on game day. I can’t wait to have that Tunnel Walk, but I’ll be glancing over at Coach Riley looking at his reaction, because I’m sure it’s going to be awesome."

On junior quarterback Tommy Armstrong’s growth
"He’s gotten so much better from the day he stepped on campus until now. He’s gotten so much more mature. He goes out there and works his tail off every single day, and he’s going to have a great year and he deserves everything that’s coming his way. I live with the guy too and he’s always working, never stops working, even at home, always on his iPad, trying to get better, so it’s always great to see that out of your leader as a quarterback. And even in this fall camp, it seemed that every single day he got better and it was great to see that out of him. "

On Armstrong’s biggest improvement
"I think the struggle with that [his reads] was the new offenses. As the wideout you still have to know a lot, but you don’t have to know every position. As the quarterback you kind of have a lot on your plate. Then over time as he started to learn it better and better and like you said his reads now have been awesome and he’s been doing a great job. "

On opening up against BYU
"BYU is going to be no cake-walk. They are a great team and a great program. We’ll be ready for them but we’ll learn a lot. Every year, week one is a 'learn a lot about your team' type game, so we’re looking forward to the challenge. Like I said it’s not going to be easy. We’re going to have to be playing our A game, but we’re looking forward to it. "

On the importance of hitting receivers in the play-action game
"It’s extremely important. You have to have all aspects of your game working, run game, pass game and if one can help the other, it’s going to be huge for us.  Being able to set up that play-action or being able to throw the ball all over the place so we can open up the run, it’ll be huge. We’ve been working at that and we go out there every single day and that’s kind of one of our focuses -- just to keep the consistency and keep the completion rate up and let’s just keep going."

On the BYU defenders
"They’ll be big physical-type guys, but at the wide-out position we’re just going to have to go out there and play our game and just keep doing what we’ve been doing every single day and we should be fine."

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