The Tommy Armstrong-J.T. Barrett matchup at quarterback is among the storylines for when Nebraska plays at Ohio State on Saturday night. It also was among the topics of conversation Tuesday on the Big Ten teleconference.
Some notes from the weekly call:
>> Mike Riley talked about Nebraska making it a 2016 focal point to cut back Armstrong’s interceptions. The senior has seven through eight games this season after throwing two at Wisconsin — and Riley said it has been better this season — after Armstrong had thrown 36 in his previous 34 games.
“We certainly don’t like turning the ball over, but at the same time, Tommy has made a ton of plays and has cut down in that area,” Riley said. “That’s really about decision-making and split-second decisions that are made.
“I think he’s very conscious of it, (but) Tommy plays now. He competes like crazy. So we’ve got to blend his competitiveness with his confidence and the choices that he makes. He does a pretty good job of that. We continue to try to make him better.”
>> Riley sees some similarities in what NU and Ohio State are trying to do offensively, especially with the run-pass and run-run options with mobile quarterbacks. The Huskers’ familiarity with defending Armstrong in practice also should help some with defensive preparations for the Buckeyes.
>> Ohio State hasn’t been perfect offensively, but looks pretty good to Riley: “They lead the league in total offense, so to me, as I watch film, it’s pretty impressive.”
>> The Buckeyes have added a threat with tight end Marcus Baugh starting to emerge. The junior has 13 receptions for 168 yards and two touchdowns at a position where Ohio State lost third-round draft pick Nick Vannett.
“He’s like one more new added weapon to their arsenal,” Riley said. “When they have good inside receivers, that always makes it a little bit more interesting on how you’re going to play pass coverage. What people are trying to get are one-on-ones somewhere, so you can only kind of try to help so many guys.”
>> Riley when asked about the Huskers’ continued defensive improvement from 2015: “We are a lot better right now in almost all ways statistically. One of the biggest ways is we have not given up near as many big plays.”
>> Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said he had a lot of respect for Nate Gerry when asked about the Nebraska safety, who had seven tackles and two fourth-quarter interceptions Saturday night when the Badgers beat the Huskers 23-17 in overtime.
“He came up with some big plays against us,” Chryst said. “That just confirms what we thought going in. But I think he’s a very good player.”