The countdown of Nebraska spring practice predictions has reached its final two days.
Time to get serious with a topic you might have thought we’d save for the final day, since it’s likely to draw the most eyes in March and April. At No. 2:
Tommy Armstrong Jr. will take command at quarterback
To be fair, the third-year sophomore Armstrong enters spring in command of the QB position. There’s a disagreement among pundits, nationally and locally, though, over how serious a challenge redshirt freshman Johnny Stanton can mount through these 15 practices.
Stanton is a talent. More than that, he’s a winner, and he possesses the intangibles and likeability factor to win over teammates, fans, coaches and media.
Thing is, Armstrong has all of that, too. And we’ve seen him in action. Armstrong has an edge about him that figures to only intensify with his increased experience.
And while his stats as a freshman in nine games -- 51.7 Total QBR and 52-percent completion rate -- aren’t spectacular, his impact on the 2013 Huskers goes beyond the numbers. Just imagine where Nebraska might have been without him last season; it wouldn’t have won nine games or played on New Year's Day.
Stanton will bring a different style to the field. He figures to play with more physicality than Armstrong, and the younger QB will no doubt draw rave reviews in the spring and summer for his personality and leadership traits.
But exactly what advantage does Stanton have on Armstrong? Stanton is not faster. He doesn’t have a better arm. His grasp of the offense likely lags behind. It looks like an uphill climb for the Californian.
Nebraska plans to simplify its offense a bit this year as a measure to reduce turnovers, which were so troublesome last season. Armstrong contributed to the problems. As an unintended consequence of the simplifications, Stanton and walk-on sophomore Ryker Fyfe might place a bit of pressure on Armstrong.
From what we’ve seen, Armstrong will embrace the competition. He didn’t back down last season from a potential controversy with Taylor Martinez, which never materialized because of the senior's foot injury. And don't underestimate that Armstrong has already received the endorsement of senior I-back Ameer Abdullah, who has earned ultimate respect from teammates.
By the Red-White game, look for Armstrong to solidify his grasp of the top spot.
Countdown of Nebraska spring practice predictions: