LINCOLN — The excessive amount of receiver injuries may have disrupted the NU coaches’ plans for preseason camp, but quarterback Tommy Armstrong did end up finding a silver lining amongst the frustration.
He happened to work with lots of second- and third-string options, much more so than planned. And the extra reps went a long way in furthering the on-field relationship he has with reserve pass-catchers — players who he presumes will likely be key contributors at one point or another this season.
“When guys went down it kind of increased the chemistry level with the whole receiving corps,” Armstrong said. “(I got to) understand who runs certain routes better than the other guy or how much more time I have to sit on my back foot when it comes to throwing certain routes.”
Junior Jordan Westerkamp, sophomore De’Mornay Pierson-El and junior Brandon Reilly spent much of the summer with Armstrong, catching passes in seven-on-seven workouts and route-running drills.
But Westerkamp missed practices early in August. Pierson-El went down midway through. Reilly was out for much of camp.
Junior Alonzo Moore, senior Taariq Allen and junior Lane Hovey all missed considerable time as well, but with position group’s thinned-out numbers throughout the preseason, they received a significant amount of reps went they were able to practice. Senior Jamal Turner and freshman Stanley Morgan, two of the healthiest in August, certainly had more first-team work than they were expecting.
Armstrong didn’t want to see his top options sidelined. But he’s built trust with other players, and that’s important to him.
“I feel like it’s been a lot better just because I’ve been able to throw with those guys,” he said.