LINCOLN, Neb. – Less than 20 minutes after a BYU Hail Mary did them in, Nebraska’s new coordinators, Mark Banker and Danny Langsdorf, were holding court just outside the Huskers’ weight room. While their boss held his post-game press conference, the pair broke down the details on their perspective side of the football.
Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf:
One of the common questions the former New York Giants quarterback coach was asked regarded the running back position. Junior Terrell Newby rushed a team high 10 times, registering just 43 total yards. In all, Nebraska used seven different players to carry the ball – three of which were running backs.
“Playing a lot of them, it’s probably harder to get them into a rhythm,” said Langsdorf. “We have to look at that a little more. I think right now we have been prepping for guys for different things.
One area where the offensive coordinator felt the running backs might have been close to breaking through was in the screen game.
“I thought if we had gotten a little wider, if Tommy had a little more time, it was going to hit big. But they did play it well,” said Langsdorf. “They were spying that back on the delay. I thought our screen game was pretty well overall.”
Nebraska managed to rush for only 3.4 yards a carry. While the effort was better in the second half, Nebraska was forced to throw more than they would have liked – 41 times to be exact.
“I didn’t think we would. That’s a tough run defense. We knew that,” said Langsdorf, also hitting on what was better in the second half. “I think we did a better job at the second level, getting to the linebackers faster…We got some holes earlier in the run and allowed them to get to the second level. We also got to the edge.”
Despite running better in the second half, Nebraska failed to convert on three short third downs in the fourth quarter that could have been the difference in the football game.
“We have to have a better short yard package for sure. It was critical in the game. We need to be better and the last one was my fault,” said Langsdorf. “The one late one was a bad call. I had a better thought later. We got hit on a pressure; there was an extra guy there. It just wasn’t a good call.
“We didn’t convert 3rd and 1, 3rd and 1, and 3rd and 3 – so obviously it was an issue. I think being able to have some more variety (is needed). One of our runs I repeated and it just wasn’t a good thought. We have to be more versatile there.”
One bright spot on offense was junior quarterback Tommy Armstrong, who managed to throw for over 300 yards and had a completion percentage around 58 percent. BYU likes to blitz more than most teams and Armstrong should be better later in the second because of it.
“They gave us a lot of looks and a lot of different pressures. He handled it well,” said Langsdorf. “There were a couple times where we had pressure on him, but it should have been protected better. It wasn’t like we missed a guy running free that were unblocked.”
Armstrong did have a rough second quarter, managing to find just three of his 15 targets, before settling down in the second half.
“I think he got hit a few times and missed on a couple throws,” said Langsdorf. “We all just needed to settle down. We were a little out of sync is my thought. We needed that halftime to regroup and settle in like we did.”
Much was made during the week if the coordinator would go to the press box or stay on the sidelines during the game. He stuck with his quarterback.
“For me, I think being able to communicate a little bit more, a little bit longer, and try to make sure we are getting communication at all the positions,” Langsdorf gave for his reasoning.
Another player Langsdorf was very complimentary of was junior wide receiver Alonzo Moore, who missed the second half with an injury. Moore had three catches for 48 yards and a touchdown, adding another 24 yards on the ground on just two carries.