Morgan credits debut success to veteran help
LINCOLN — Receivers coach Keith Williams pulled true freshman Stanley Morgan aside early in preseason camp. He had good news.
Morgan wasn't going to redshirt. NU needed him. But that meeting didn't change Morgan's approach.
"I just kept working," he said.
The 6-foot, 185-pounder from New Orleans made his debut Saturday, catching two passes in the 33-28 loss to BYU. He was part of a six-man rotation at receiver. He also returned a punt for 5 yards.
"It felt like it came to me naturally, being out there for my team," Morgan said.
His teammates helped with that. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong offered some words of wisdom before the game — a veteran-to youngster exchange that Morgan indicated has been common since he arrived. He credited the upperclassmen for helping him get to this point.
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QB not new to throwing blocks
The cut block delivered by Armstrong that helped clear the way for a Jordan Wester kamp touchdown Saturday wasn't a spur-of-the-moment decision. Coaches tell quarterbacks to be prepared to help in that situation.
They've practiced scenarios where a player could reverse field and require a quarterback to get involved, Armstrong said.
So he was ready when Westerkamp wiggled away from a tackle attempt on the left side of the field and came back toward the right sideline. Armstrong picked out the defender who appeared to have the best pursuit angle and dove at his torso. He ended up taking out two or three BYU players in the process.
"I threw my hands up as soon as I saw it," Armstrong said. "I knew hewas gone as soon as he took the crease on the sideline."
Westerkamp's 14-yard catch-andrunwasNebraska's first touchdown of the game.
Flashbacks to McNeese
Nebraska fans may not love hearing the words "McNeese State," but offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf heard them this week when he described South Alabama's defense to his players. The Jaguars are smaller and faster than most Big Ten defenses, and players told Langsdorf that the Jaguars sounded just like the McNeese State unit that gave the Huskers fits last year.
Nebraska racked up 21 points in the first half against McNeese State but punted five times in the second, needing final-minute heroics by I-back Ameer Abdullah to save the game from going to overtime in a 31-24 win.
"It made me nervous," Langsdorf joked. "This'll be a good challenge for us, like every week is. This will be a little bit smaller group, but you watch the film, they fly around and hit."
Armstrong said Nebraska needs to beat South Alabama's gambling defense, which creates one-on-one matchups.
"They're that high-risk, high-reward team," Armstrong said. "We just gotta play smart, gotta make plays, and when we get a chance to get our one-on-ones, we have to win them. That's what last year taught us: We have to take advantage of our situation and make sure we're as zoned in as we can be."
Nebraska should be more prepared, Armstrong said, because NU's own defense has shown more looks and blitzes in practice than the previous defenses had presented. One reason McNeese State took Nebraska by surprise last year, Armstrong said, was because NU's offensive line simply hadn't seen some of the things McNeese State did.
"Last year we saw three or four different coverages (in camp) and we got into a game and saw eight or nine different coverages and eight or nine different blitzes, and our offensive linemen, they didn't know what to expect," Armstrong said. "Right now, our offensive line has seen a lot from our defense, blitzes and things like that."
Second 2020 game scheduled
Nebraska has added Central Michigan to its 2020 schedule, the university athletic department announced Wednesday.
The Chippewas will visit Lincoln Sept. 19, 2020, for the first meeting between the schools. It is the second scheduled nonconference game for NU in 2020. The Huskers host Cincinnati on Sept. 12.