Although quarterback Tommy Armstrong struggled during Saturday's Husker nightmare in Wisconsin, and now has a completion rate below 50 percent in Big Ten play, his head coach says the sophomore remains the best man for the job.
"Those other guys are capable, but I think Tommy is the guy that gives us the best chance to win right now," Bo Pelini said during Monday's news conference.
Pelini says Armstrong was disappointed in his performance in the 59-24 loss to Wisconsin. The quarterback was just 6-of-18 for 62 yards.
After starting strong and scoring 17 points in little more than a quarter, the Husker offense hit a wall, finishing with just 180 yards of offense. It was Armstrong's first career loss to a team not named Michigan State.
"Where he is in his career is that I still think he’s a good football player," Pelini said. "He’s a competitor and he’ll get better as we move forward. I believe that. He’ll continue to work. He made some mistakes. I thought, fundamentally, he wasn’t great and it hurt him at times. And in some cases, like I said before, we had to play better around him.”
As for backups Ryker Fyfe and Johnny Stanton serving as competition, Pelini said: "The job is always open."
Armstrong didn't have much help Saturday, with pass protection a struggle — NU surrendered four sacks — and receivers were blanketed at times.
Sophomore Brandon Reilly took blame for a dropped pass on NU's opening drive that would have produced a first-and-goal. But the frustration really mounted late in the second half, as Wisconsin turned the game into a blowout.
"Gradually, as it went, you could see (Tommy) was getting pretty frustrated," Reilly said. "I'd probably be frustrated if I was in his part, too."
Going forward, Pelini said he has no problem making a quarterback change in-season if he feels it allows the best opportunity to win.
He doesn't feel a change now does that.
“I always consider it if I thought that would be the best thing for our football team," he said. "I would always consider that. I don’t care what that position is. You’re always trying to make yourself better.”