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Mike Riley 2017 Spring Preview News Conference Recap

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Purdue v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

Mike Riley kicked off spring practice by talking to the media about how the Nebraska football team will move forward with a new quarterback and a new defensive coordinator. First up on the agenda is the quarterback situation:

I know there’s been a lot of speculation about the quarterback situation, but I suspect that the lack of separation between Tanner Lee and Patrick O’Brien is an advantage for O’Brien. It sounds like we’ve got a quarterback controversy like we had in 2007 when it was Sam Keller and Joe Ganz. Nobody really believed Bill Callahan at the time when he said it was really close between the NFL prospect and the two-star...until after the season was over, and we realized that the NFL prospect really wasn’t one. Riley isn’t planning to make a choice for a long time; it might not even be until August.

So what will the offense be like in 2017?

Sad news for people that hope to see Nebraska air the ball out more with a more accurate passer in the lineup, though:

And “Run the bleepin’ ball” guy rejoices.

In fact, Riley found something he really liked with Tommy Armstrong the last couple of years. So while Nebraska’s quarterbacks aren’t as proficient of runners as Tommy Armstrong and Taylor Martinez were, that part of the game plan isn’t completely disappearing either.

That’s probably where Zach Darlington fits in as a “Wildcat” quarterback. The quarterback run game has become a key staple in modern college offenses, and Riley is wise to keep it in his offense.

Just throwing that in there.

Turning to the defense, there were a lot of questions how Nebraska will slot their personnel into Bob Diaco’s 3-4 defense. Here’s where it sounds like Nebraska will begin spring practice:

Short Side DE: Carlos Davis, Peyton Newell
Nose Tackle: Mick Stoltenberg, Khalil Davis
Field Side DE: Freedom Akinmoladun, DaiShon Neal

Boundary OLB: Alex Davis, Sedrick King
Strongside ILB: Chris Weber, Pernell Jefferson, Avery Roberts
Weakside ILB: Dedrick Young, Mohammed Barry, Greg Simmons
Field OLB: Marcus Newby, Luke Gifford

Field Corner: Chris Jones, DiCaprio Bootle
Boundary Corner: Joshua Kalu/Lamar Jackson, Boaz Joseph
Free Safety: Aaron Williams, Kieron Williams, Tony Butler
Strong Safety: Antonio Reed, JoJo Domann, Marquel Dismuke

I assume that Kalu is probably going to see time as the nickel back in those situations. I can’t say that I’m surprised that Dedrick Young is an inside linebacker; he seemed to be better suited to play inside than on the outside, so this 3-4 would seem to play well to the strengths of Chris Weber and Young.

Mick Stoltenberg has been preparing for the transition to the nose tackle position, it seems.