Nebraska-Michigan State week: Tommy Armstrong

Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong will likely be back for the Huskers' matchup with Sparty this week.

On how much his health has improved
“[It’s improved] a lot. I’m a little bit sore now, but that’s just…. a bunch of soreness from rehab. I’m a lot further than I was a week ago.”

On if he’ll be able to run around with his injury
“Yeah…I just have to get that confidence back in my foot. Just go out there in practices and run around with those guys, so I’ll just take it one day at a time.”

On watching the Purdue game at home
“It was weird. It sucks to have that on an away game that I can’t support those guys, but it’s just about numbers and things, having to have people on certain situations, in case things happen, like myself happened. Like if Ryker [Fyfe] had been like that, they had to take another quarterback just in case.  It kind of sucked just sitting there watching. I kind of knew by formations and by plays and certain situations what was being called, things like that. So I kind of took mental notes about every single rep that we took on offense and what we had to fix and things like that.”

On if he watched the game alone
“I was [alone] actually.” I watched it for a little bit and I was actually watching it and stemming (treatment) my foot and icing it down; just [sat] there and watched it and took mental notes. It was the only thing I could do, and just prop my foot up for a little bit, I enjoyed watching it. Learned a lot about it offensive-wise. What we need to fix, just seeing everything in one picture, happening at one time."

On if it was the coaches’ decision for him to stay
“Honestly, I wasn’t even sure. I think it was all about numbers and being able to take guys. If it were my choice I would have come with the team, but I have to realize it’s all about numbers when it comes to traveling. It sucks not to be there, but you just have to realize that if I’m there and Ryker [Fyfe] gets hurt and A.J. [Bush Jr.] has to go in, then there’s no other quarterback there if something happens. I think it was just all about numbers and not being able to travel enough guys in certain situations.”

On quarterback Ryker Fyfe
“I think he did well. I gave him a little bit of time to take everything in. I didn’t want to stress him over trying to talk about it. I know how it was after my first start and struggling over Purdue, throwing four interceptions two years ago, when me and Ron [Kellogg III] went to Purdue and had to play them. I struggled. I saw a lot of movement. He did great at some times, but I think what got him was seeing all of those guys in the box and some dropping out and some rushing and some rushing from certain areas. They gave him a lot of looks. His head was probably spinning a lot like mine was two years ago. Overall I think he did well, like always we just have to take care of the football. Turnovers killed us and having opponents score 28 points off of turnovers, it’s hard to win a football game that way. Overall I think he did well, but we have to take care of the football and when we take care of the football, we can win games.”

On the state of the team
“I think that we just have to keep fighting. You can tell by the way we play that we never give up. It takes a game like this week to show us our true colors and our fight of trying to win tough games, having a tough season, not really having anything to lose and being able to play a good team like Michigan State. It would be great to win a game like this, here, at home, in front of all our fans. Just having that confidence boost from this game, just going into next week, and then having a bye week and then having Iowa. They’re undefeated as well and they come in here and hopefully we get a win off that as well to boost our season to get us over the hill. As far as right now, we have that fight, we just don’t have that way of getting over the hill but we have to figure it out. We have to figure out what we have to do as a whole unit, coaching staff to football players, a way of handling the situation, to fight through this, just being able to overcome things like this each and every week. I kind of feel like we practice the right way, then we go into a game and things kind of change. There were probably one or two weeks this season where things went our way the whole entire game. We’ve seen glimpses of it this season, but we've just got to make sure it’s consistent. We just have to make sure we’re smart about the way we practice and things like that. We have to have that same sense of urgency when it comes to playing.”

On Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook
“He’s a great guy. I talked to him for a little bit at Big Ten Media Day. He loves winning. They have all their trust in him and he makes plays. That’s one thing we've got to do. We have to take care of the football. We have to limit the amount of times he has the ball in his hands. He makes plays and we’ve seen defenses stop him in certain situations and the offense is not able to produce. Every time we get the ball, we need to put points on the board and when that happens, we've got to put them in tough situations, and if we’re able to do that out there, we can come out with a win. As far as the team and things like that, they’re a great team. They’ve got a great defense and offensive-wise, they’re great. They make plays, they have playmakers out wide and we've just got to make sure we keep the ball offensively and be able to move the ball.”

On the previous Michigan State games against Nebraska being close
“I think it’s just they [the guys in our locker room] play them well. They love playing against them. Our defense loves playing again Michigan State. Myself in general, loves playing against them. It’s a tough game. This is the time where guys prepare in the spring and the fall for games like this. It’s close to the end of the season and you looking forward to playing those tough games and getting great wins. Like I said before, there’s nothing like having a team that’s undefeated, in the top 10 in the nation, coming in and get a win off of that. We’re going to prepare as much as we can, do as much as we can as a whole to prepare and just put ourselves in the right situation to win a game on Saturday.”

On if he was hoping they’d stay undefeated
“Yeah, I was actually.”

On the Michigan State defense
"Like I said, they’re great. They play flat to the ball a lot. They’re physical upfront. Their defensive line is their key. Their linebackers [are] young in certain areas, but overall they play together. They’re a sound defense and they just, like I said before, they make you pay every time you try to run the ball. We've got to make sure that we run the ball well, make smarter decisions in our passing game and we’ll go from there."

On when he found out he wasn’t playing against Purdue
“I think it was probably after Wednesday. Tuesday and Wednesday we have our tough practices and not being able to practice until Friday, was kind of what I was told after everything. It’s kind of hard to not practice at all with your teammates Monday through Thursday and then come out on Friday when it’s just kind of a helmet only and run through all of the plays that you’ve already went through and cut out the ones that you didn’t like. It’s kind of hard for me to do that when I didn’t get a chance to cut out any plays that I did run during the week and polish them up on Friday. It was tough, but at the same time, I had to figure out what was best for me, what was best for me in the future, which was this week, and things like that. Being able to get back on track of not just playing through the pain, but kind of trying to rehab and treat it, so it was probably on Wednesday.”

On turf toe
“It’s tough. It’s just more of playing on your foot. You get a little tension as you play on the ball of your foot or on that toe and trying to bend it. It’s more of just treating it, like I said before. It’s like jamming a finger or something like that, where you can’t really bend that finger because you aggravated that joint and that’s how it is with your big toe. And it kinda sucks, because you really need your big toe when it comes to doing anything, to planting, to running and things like that. Like I said before, I’m just trying to rehab as much as I can. I feel comfortable playing this week. I just need to make sure that I’m smart about how much I practice…as far as workload on my foot so I've just got to make sure I’m smart about it.”

On what he thought when De’Mornay Pierson-El got hurt
“It was tough. I actually texted him because I knew he was going straight to the locker room and I texted him and talked to him for a little bit. It was sad not being able to be there for him. It kinda sucks for him, but it’s a learning experience for him. He’s young, but at the same time, he’s a warrior. I told him, when I texted him, I just said, ‘Be as strong as you can be. I know you’ve dealt with injuries in the beginning of the year. You just got over the hill to coming back, to playing more, to making plays and now you have to deal with this.’ I’m always in the training room with him now, just laughing with him and joking around.  We were actually just laughing and joking around about a movie. I think it was Life, with Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence. We were just quoting that as we were sitting next to each other in the rehab room, just sitting there, just joking around. Just kind of like being a big brother to him, getting his mind off of his injury. It sucks to see a guy like that go down so sudden. I know he’s going to come back a lot stronger and he’s got to make sure he rehabs as much as he can. I’m always going to be there. As far as that, he’s a tough guy. It sucks that it had to be him, but at the end of the day, things happen, but it’s just how you respond to them and I know he’ll come back a lot stronger than he is right now.”

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