Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf on Monday night met with reporters after Nebraska's practice and talked offensive frustration, the game-changing fourth-down failure against Minnesota and Saturday's test against Penn State.
Langsdorf said he liked the way redshirt freshman Patrick O'Brien played overall in relief of Tanner Lee (concussion protocol) in Saturday's loss at Minnesota.
O'Brien, he said, was late with a couple of throws and missed a couple of opportunities, but otherwise fared well.
"He did a nice job of being ready to play," Langsdorf said. "We didn't really look like we were screwed up or missed calling things or not getting guys lined up. I thought all of that was procedurally well done by him."
O'Brien also rushed six times for 41 yards, including five times when he scrambled on designed passes.
"I think we've got to be a little careful of thinking that he's Deshaun Watson, but he made some good plays," Langsdorf joked, referring to the former Clemson and current Houston Texans quarterback.
* Running backs coach Reggie Davis said freshman running back Jaylin Bradley (ankle) got a lot of repetitions in practice Monday and, "we're going to see if he can get some run against those Nittany Lions."
Bradley has missed the past two games.
* Langsdorf loved the push redshirt freshman guard Boe Wilson gave on his goal line repetitions at fullback.
"We needed some lead there in order to knock a guy out," Langsdorf said. "They had some big tackles. I thought he did great. The first one was outstanding. You watch the replay in the film and he hammers that guy. Beautiful block -- had his pads down and really did a nice job."
* The offensive coordaintor throughout the season has lamented certain situations when the play called involves a 'max' protection -- seven players -- and the quarterback is still rushed. That happened NU's final snap Saturday, when UM sacked O'Brien despite just a three-man rush.
"We've got to have that wadded up and it got split," he said. "Guys have to work together and communicate better to be shoulder-to-shoulder so we don't give up a crease like we did."
* Langsdorf said Penn State plays, "about 10 guys up front," and that the Nittany Lions are talented across the board.
"Their linebackers are like you'd expect them to be at Penn State," he said. "They can run, hit, cover, all the stuff. I think their corners are good players and their safety (senior Marcus Allen) is a really physical player who plays down in the box a lot and helps out in the run game."
Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh said NU hasn't seen a front as big, physical and fast as PSU since playing Ohio State in mid-October.
* Cavanaugh also said redshirt Matt Farniok and senior David Knevel are in a "wide open" race for the starting right guard job. Farniok's started the past two games there, while Knevel has not appeared on offense since suffering foot and ankle injuries in the season opener.