When Tanner Lee left the Minnesota game at halftime, Husker offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf turned the game over to redshirt freshman quarterback Patrick O’Brien. Saturday was the first time O’Brien has seen extending time running the offense and will return to the helm this weekend against Penn State.
One of the biggest difference between O’Brien and Lee is O’Brien’s ability to scramble and offensive coordinator complimented the freshman’s performance after practice on Monday.
“He actually scrambled around a little bit, made some plays with his legs. I thought there were a couple throws, (that could have been) maybe a little bit better accuracy, but for the most part, I thought he went in there and did some good things. I think the experience was great for him, think he had to play a whole half, and we were down and trying to get back in it, so we were going to make some throws, but I thought that was good work for him.”
Arguably one of the hardest things for any backup to do is make the most of whatever reps they get when the situation turns from practice into a live game situation. Langsdorf complimented O’Brien on his ability to be prepared to play as he knows the #2 guy isn’t always getting many reps.
“I think that’s important for him, and I think he did a nice job of being ready to play. He went in there and we didn’t really look like we were screwed up or miscalling things or not getting guys lined up, I thought all of that was really procedurally well done by him, so I think it’s a credit to him being ready to play and staying with it and continuing to prepare.”
O’Brien will get the starting nod this weekend as the Huskers travel to Happy Valley to face a top-15 Penn State team that is playing its best football in recent years. This will be not only a tough outing for O’Brien but for the Huskers as a whole. The offensive line will need to come together to better protect O’Brien as he was sacked 6 times in the second half last weekend.
O’Brien has a good amount of athleticism so watch for coach Langsdorf to move and roll the pocket to play to his strengths. If he can avoid the sacks and pick up where he left off last weekend the Huskers may have a chance to upset a very talented Nittany Lion squad.
“They’re talented everywhere,” Langsdorf said. “I know they’ve had a couple of tough games, but they’re really physical, they play about 10 guys up front in a good rotation, so they’re really fresh and active. Their linebackers are like you would think they would be at Penn State – they’ll run, hit, cover, all the stuff. I think their corners are good players and no. 2 (Marcus Allen) is a real physical safety. He plays down in the box a lot and he gets involved in the run game. So really top-to-bottom there, they’re very talented across the board.”
The Huskers return Happy Valley Saturday to face Penn State at 1 PM CST. You can tune into the game on FS1 or the BTN network.