CHICAGO -- Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. worked again during the offseason with Brett Favre -- this time, Armstrong said, connecting more easily with the former NFL great.
Favre, a friend of Armstrong’s father, Tommy Sr., tutored the Nebraska junior last summer in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Favre’s hometown, as Armstrong visited his mother in nearby Gulfport.
After final exams in May, Armstrong went back for more. For two days, they labored at Oak Grove High School, where Favre has helped coach since 2012.
“It went well,” Armstrong said here at Big Ten media days. “Last year, we were trying to get me used to the right footwork. This year, it was more film work.”
The 21-year-old Armstrong said he “clicked” with Favre, 45, after learning the concepts of Riley’s pro-style offense, similar in design and purpose to the West Coast offense that Favre operated in, throwing for more than 71,000 yards over a 20-year NFL career.
“It’s just different terminology,” Armstrong said, “but he knew exactly what I was talking about with certain routes, drops, play action. We were talking about something that we were both familiar with.”
They spent nearly three hours in film study on the first day of work and about 90 minutes on the field a day later.
“I don’t take it for granted at all,” Armstrong said. “It’s something that I can look back to and see how fortunate I am to be in that position -- just to be able to talk to him, to learn from him.”
Favre’s brother, Scott, played high school football in Mississippi with Tommy Armstrong Sr. The younger Armstrong grew up in Gulfport, but moved to Texas with his father in 2005 after the home of his mother, Nadine Armstrong, was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
He signed with the Huskers in 2012 out of Cibolo (Texas) Steele over offers from Oregon, TCU and Georgia Tech.
In 21 games as the starter at Nebraska, Armstrong has thrown for 3,661 yards and rushed for 907, accounting for 39 touchdowns. Armstrong nearly doubled his per-game passing-yardage output in 2014 while improving his completion percentage and touchdown-interception ratio.
He’s looking for additional improvement this year, particularly on his accuracy after completing 53.3 percent of his passes as a sophomore. For some of his growth, Armstrong credits the time spent with Favre.
“Whenever I’m home, he tells me if I want to come do some work,” Armstrong said, “just to let him know.”
For as long as the offer stands, expect Armstrong to take advantage.