By Tommy Rezac
Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee, who’s started all ten games thus far for Nebraska, was held out of the second half of Saturday’s 54-21 loss to Minnesota due to what was described as an “impact migraine.”
Head coach Mike Riley said Monday morning that Lee is undergoing concussion protocol and is “day-to-day” for Saturday’s battle at Penn State.
Redshirt freshman Patrick O’Brien would make his first career start if Lee is unavailable.
“I thought (O’Brien) did some good things,” offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said after Monday’s practice at the Hawks Championship Center. “He actually scrambled around a little bit and made some plays with his legs. I thought there were a couple of throws that (could have used) a little more accuracy, but for the most part, I thought he went in there and did some good things.”
O’Brien completed 12-of-18 passes for 137 yards against the Gophers. He had scrambled for 41 net rushing yards, but that was all negated since he was sacked six times, including four times on the final drive.
“It came down to, at times, where we had the right call made and we didn’t block,” offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “The focus is having everybody lock down and do their job.”
Nebraska’s two rushing touchdowns Saturday were each one-yard runs; one scored by Mikale Wilbon and the other by Devine Ozigbo.
The driving force that made those scores possible was RFr. G Boe Wilson, who subbed in for Sr. FB Luke McNitt to provide extra size and blocking down by the goal line.
McNitt is no pushover at 6-2, 250, but Wilson is 6-3, 295.
“We needed some lead there to knock a guy out,” Langsdorf said. “(Minnesota) had some big tackles. I thought he did great. The first one was outstanding. He hammers that guy, and it’s a beautiful block. He had his pads down. He really did a nice job technique wise.”
Running backs coach Reggie Davis says Bradley got “a lot of reps” in practice Monday. Coach Riley and Davis both said Bradley could have played more had Nebraska had both more success and more of an opportunity to run the ball had the Huskers not fallen behind so early.
Bradley hasn’t played since getting a career-high 40 yards against Purdue.
>> Cavanaugh mentioned Sr. David Knevel, who’s mostly played at right tackle, has been working out this week at right guard. Riley mentioned on Monday that he could be used at a variety of different spots .
>> Penn State’s Beaver Stadium is the second largest in the country, seating 106,572 fans. It’s also ranked as one of the ten toughest places to play in the nation by Bleacher Report. Langsdorf says the team has been practicing silent snap counts with O’Brien and the entire offense to prepare for difficult communication.
“It’s something we’ve practiced a ton already this season,” Langsdorf said.
>> Wide receivers coach Keith Williams said So. WR Conor Young, who’s out this week with a sprained ankle, tweaked it during a kickoff return. The coaches aren’t sure if he’ll be able to play against Iowa.
>> Coach Williams was asked if Riley ever gets angry or “loses it” when times get tough. Williams said in three years time, he’s never seen those types of antics from the head coach.
“I would be really surprised if he turned into the Incredible Hulk out of the blue,” Williams said.
Running backs coach Reggie Davis said Riley has been steady and even keel in tough times, but unlike Williams, has seen the 64-year-old get mad at times.
“He is human,” Davis said of Riley. “He loves to compete, he hates to lose. He’s not happy with the way things are. We’re all working to change the future. He’s been a good leader for a long time and he still he is. When you’re trying to navigate these kind of waters, I think it really tells what kind of person you are. Anybody you ask that knows him and works with him on a day-to-day basis has to be pretty impressed with the way he’s handling himself.”
>> Williams’ son Keyan saw his first snaps of the season on Saturday against Minnesota after being held out with a hamstring. He was targeted once in the game, but Keith said Keyan is feeling better every day and is “just happy to be getting back into it.”
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