LINCOLN — One of the two captains of Nebraska’s offense — and the alpha dog of the offensive line — is fed up with NU’s wayward snaps to the quarterback.
“We have to figure out a way to get it right,” right tackle Matt Farniok said of the issue that has caused both Adrian Martinez and Noah Vedral significant heartburn this season.
“There are too many snaps that are going wild or going long and messing up the reads. We have to find a way to fix it. It is on all of us. We have to find some type of way to get those snaps right to his chest. There is no excuse for it now. In Week Seven we need perfect snaps and it is just the No. 1 rule of our center and that is what we expect from our center.”
The center is redshirt freshman Cameron Jurgens, who has struggled with bad snaps all season. He hadn’t played center in his football career until last fall when Husker coach Scott Frost moved the Beatrice product from tight end. Frost told Nebraska offensive line coach Greg Austin that Jurgens had the athleticism to be the next Dave Rimington.
Rimington had legendary quickness and anticipation. He rarely dealt with shotgun snaps.
Almost all of Jurgens’ snaps are from the gun, and the bad ones are often high and to the right. During the Fox broadcast of Nebraska’s win over Northwestern, game announcers Tim Brando and Spencer Tillman talked at length about the snaps, even breaking down in slow motion where Jurgens was reaching to block a Northwestern player while snapping high at the same time.
Frost said Jurgens’ snaps have “progressively gotten better” but still need to improve.
“It’s hard for quarterbacks, or anyone else, to have good timing and good rhythm and have their eyes where they’re supposed to be when we’re worried about too many unknowns, and the snap is the first one,” Frost said.
How can other linemen help Jurgens to improve an act that he alone controls?
“I think it just might be a little bit of focus, or it might be a little bit of mechanics,” Farniok said. "But whatever it is, we need to make sure we help him lock in and get it back to the quarterback.”
Jurgens had several poor snaps to Martinez on Saturday that Martinez nevertheless corralled. Vedral, though, was unable to handle one high snap, and it bounded behind him. Vedral was able to turn the play into an incompletion, though, by scooping up the ball, rolling hard to his right and throwing it away.
“Fortunately the snap was over my head, which gives me another five to six yards of cushion that guys have to catch up to me," Vedral said. "So that gives me a little bit of time to field that ball and get my eyes around."