I don’t particularly enjoy doing position breakdowns, but it is a part of the job. After the news that the Big Ten actually decided to try and play football one of my first thoughts was that I was looking forward to finally writing some article about an UPCOMING FOOTBALL SEASON!
What position group could be better to start with than the quarterbacks?
Nebraska’s Quarterback Coach
Returning Contributors in 2019
Adrian “2 AM” Martinez, Junior from Fresno, California
Want to know how the 2019 season went for Adrian Martinez? He was on the Walter Camp Award Watch List, Maxwell Award Watch List, Davey O’Brien Award Watch List and the Manning Award Watch List.
Pro Football Focus published their ranking of the 130 starting quarterbacks in the FBS going into 2020. Adrian Martinez was ranked....129th.
When in a clean pocket, which is one of the most stable metrics for a quarterback, Martinez produced a 55.3 passing grade, ranking 123rd of 130 FBS quarterbacks. His big-time throw rate was 130th among the same group. As said in the 2020 PFF College Magazine, Martinez just lacks the basic accuracy required for the position. There still is hope at quarterback for the Cornhuskers, but it’s with Luke McCaffrey. The dual-threat McCaffrey racked up nine 10-plus-yard gains on 24 carries while recording one big-time throw on 12 passes in 2019.
I think that’s a good summary of how is sophomore season went. I think everybody would agree that the ranking isn’t fair. I even wrote an article in defense of Adrian Martinez last year after the season.
I know that he wasn’t good in 2019, but 129 out of 130?
Luke “No Decaf Please” McCaffrey, Redshirt Freshman from Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Probably one of the best things to happen for Adrian Martinez was to have somebody to push him. That person is Luke McCaffrey as he showed in limited time last year that he can be absolutely electric.
Considered one of the fastest players on the team regardless of position. Coach Verduzco also said the McCaffrey is extremely smart and performed remarkably well on that quarterback exam that Verduzco puts together.
There are a lot of fans clamoring for McCaffrey to start. He may end up earning that right as practice starts ramping up. However, it is my view that it’s one thing to come in and have a package set up for you and make a couple big plays. It is a completely separate deal to be on the field the entire game and then have opposing defense actually game planning for you.
2019 Contributor That’s Not Returning
Noah “Was Da Heir Apparent” Vedral, from Wahoo, Nebraska
Noah Vedral thought that if he had a spring and fall to compete against Martinez that he could have made a case to be the starting quarterback at Nebraska in 2020. I was all for it. May the best man win.
After spring ball was cancelled then Vedral knew he wouldn’t have enough time to compete with Martinez who has been the starter the past two seasons so he entered the transfer portal. Vedral ended up at Rutgers and at one point was slated to go against Nebraska.
Unfortunately, we won’t get to see him against Nebraska. I hope he does great things.
Logan “Pork Chop” Smothers, Freshman from Muscle Shoals, Alabama
We don’t know what we have in this kid yet but from everything we have heard he could be another great pickup by this coaching staff. They may have an eye for quarterbacks. At this point it doesn’t sound like he would be contending for any meaningful playing time this season but that could obviously change in a couple of snaps.
Walk-Ons on the Roster
Brayden Miller (redshirt freshman) and Matt Masker (sophomore). Both are from Kearney. Also, the quarterback (Heinrich Haarberg) in the 2021 recruiting class is also from Kearney. Is there something in the water in Kearney?
Outlook for 2020
There will be and there should be an open quarterback competition. It sounds like, among other reasons, that Martinez’s poor play in 2019 could be attributed to his lack of preparedness on a weekly level. That should change with Luke McCaffrey breathing down his neck.
Some have said that Frost is going to stick with Martinez because Martinez is “Frost’s guy.” Well McCaffrey is also a “Frost guy” and so is Smothers. Frost is going to play the guy that gives Nebraska the best chance to win. Especially with an conference only schedule.