Things I know, and things I think I know:

Look around Lincoln and you'll see a zillion construction workers in bright T-shirts toiling in the heat.

There also are some dudes in red-and-white jerseys putting in work.

Nebraska senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong, in an interview last week, offered a glimpse into the offense's operational procedures during the summer months.

"We don't do a lot of seven-on-seven stuff," he said. "What we do is a lot of routes on air."

Translation: Armstrong, the projected starter, is throwing passes to wide receivers, tight ends, running backs and fullbacks with no resistance from defenders. Husker offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf -- although he can't be on hand, per NCAA rules -- provides structured guidance for the sessions, which occur three or four times a week, Armstrong said.

And yes, Armstrong mentioned fullbacks, doing so with emphasis. Which may qualify as a reason for many Nebraska fans to shoot off extra fireworks Monday.

"Most of the time, teams don't want their fullbacks to be out there in that sort of setting," Armstrong said. "But we want each and every guy to be there, fullbacks included, just because those guys are part of the check-down game."

I'm guessing fullback Luke McNitt in 2016 will easily surpass Andy Janovich's total of two receptions last season. Armstrong, as I wrote last week, seems intent on using check-downs more frequently.

As for why Nebraska eschews seven-on-seven work, Armstrong said, "We just want to keep everybody healthy going into fall camp. The defensive backs and linebackers do their drills on another field while we do our thing. We'll get plenty of seven-on-seven during fall camp. That can wait."

Fall camp rapidly approaches, set to begin the first week of August.

In other words, I better get to the Caribbean, pronto, to recharge.

* If you're a Nebraska fan looking for reasons why Armstrong might improve in 2016 -- and why the offense might improve on what actually was a decent 2015 season despite a new system -- the veteran quarterback spoke of one potentially critical reason.

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Armstrong told me he's always been diligent in film study. Last summer, however, was difficult for him in that regard because he often was studying video of Oregon State players running the system. He said he finds it much easier, and more impacting, to be able to "self-scout" -- that is, to watch video of Nebraska players running the offense. He's able to better evaluate what worked and what didn't. Same goes for his teammates, he said.

"It will be a lot easier this season because I have everything in my mind of what to expect now and how to improve from it," he said. "Having that one year under my belt is going to help a lot, just from understanding the playbook and understanding what coach Langs expects and what coach (Mike) Riley expects."

* Another reason why Armstrong might improve: His relationship with Langsdorf seemingly has evolved in a positive manner.

In discussing their relationship, Armstrong provides a glimpse into Langsdorf's coaching style -- at least as Armstrong perceives it.

"Honestly, he's more than just a coach to me," Armstrong said. "We really don't look at it like just coach and player. We kind of see each other more like friends. That's how it is with all the players in the quarterback (meeting) room.

"He's built a relationship with all of us. We joke around a lot of the time. We don't necessarily talk about just football. We talk about life in general. We have that chemistry now where we can talk to each other, but then also know exactly when we need to dial in and focus on certain things."

Chemistry is a crucial word. So is trust. A trusting relationship, for instance, can facilitate frank discussion about what needs to improve.

* More frank discussion: Veteran scribe Tom Dienhart rates Iowa's offensive and defensive lines as being the best in the Big Ten West Division, and he's probably right. The Hawkeyes have a potentially elite defense, and their quarterback is a proven winner.

Bottom line, it would defy sound reasoning to pick anybody other than Iowa to capture the division. That's my read. Isn't that most people's read?

* So, the Kansas City Royals franchise promoted one-time Nebraska quarterback recruit Bubba Starling and his .185 batting average to Triple-A Omaha to help lessen stress on him. Will playing in front of Husker fans lessen his stress? Just asking.

This just in: He was 2-for-5 with a home run and double in Sunday's doubleheader split with Memphis.

This much is certain: With the change in leagues, Starling's batting average resets. Think of it as a reboot, Royals officials say. Makes sense. We can all use a reboot at times.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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