Saying schemes must always adjust to the personnel, Nebraska head coach Mike Riley said the offensive coaching staff is excited to use Tommy Armstrong in 2016.
"We've gotten into some quarterback run-option plays, where it's going to be a run in some fashion but an option involved in it for the quarterback,” said Riley on KXTG radio in Oregon. “We've got in some run-pass option plays. Some draw-pass option plays. He hit two of them for 60-yard touchdowns in the spring game that were impressive, and what is really a factor in our bowl game against UCLA was running the football. That extra threat.”
It’s unrealistic to think Nebraska will start to run Armstrong as many times as the running backs on the roster, but it sounds like the senior might have a bigger impact in the running game this fall than in 2015.
“We want to provide that defense with a lot of things to think about,” said Riley, who saw Armstrong log 98 rushes last year, down from 145 in 2014. “Tommy is also one of the best bootleg quarterbacks I have ever... He can throw on the run. He's a nice play-action guy. We do some play-action with him in the pocket, but when he's on the edge with the bootleg run-pass, he's good. I think we get a better idea of where to go with this thing based on what the quarterback brings."
A four-year starter, Armstrong returns with 33 starts to his name. The senior was up and down in 2015, throwing for over 3,000 yards and 22 touchdowns, but also 16 interceptions.
The former Texas prep needs less than 600 passing yards in 2016 to pass Taylor Martinez for the top spot on the all-time career list at Nebraska.