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Nebraska Spring Football Previews: Quarterbacks

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There’s one great amount of talent and a bunch of unknowns.

Nebraska v Rutgers Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

Position Coach: Mario Verduzco

Breakdown by Class:

  • Junior - 1
  • Sophomore - 1
  • Redshirt Freshman - 1
  • Freshman - 2

Departures

Luke McCaffrey - transfer to Louisville

Overview

Nebraska has five total quarterbacks on its roster,

  • Adrian Martinez
  • Logan Smothers
  • Brayden Miller
  • Matt Masker
  • Heinrich Haarberg

Three are on scholarship - Martinez, Smothers and Haarberg. Three are from Kearney - Miller, Masker, and Haarberg. Two are from Kearney Catholic - Masker and Haarberg. Only one is 6’5” - Haarberg.

I’m sure that Nebraska does not have five quarterbacks on the roster by choice. They clearly were a little bit taken by surprise when Luke McCaffrey decided to transfer. Frost referred to him “as the future” on at least a couple occasions, but that he transferred shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise given his brother just transferred out of Michigan after not winning the starting job there.

Good news is most of the production from last year the last three season returns in Adrian Martinez.

Martinez is a known quantity. When he’s playing well, Martinez deserves recognition as a Heisman Trophy candidate. He is physically talented. He can run. He can throw. Those aren’t the problems. The problems are mental. He has a tendency to overthink, freak out, under-compensate, over-compensate, I don’t know what’s wrong, but something undefinable takes over his brain at moments and his passes sail over the tops of his wide open receivers or they go directly into the arms of an opponent. It’s mind boggling.

If he can overcome the mental aspect of football he stands to become one of the greatest quarterbacks in Nebraska’s history. I would love to see this happen because Martinez seems like a great guy who never throws his teammates under a bus, always takes the blame for his performance, is mature for his age, and hasn’t completely come apart despite carrying the weight of expectations for an entire universe of Nebraska fans.

Logan Smothers is completely unknown. It’s almost as if he doesn’t exist, but has been planted in our collective minds by Russians or the Chinese as a joke.

No one outside coaches and his teammates has ever seen Smothers play.

This is in complete juxtaposition to Luke McCaffrey whom we knew just about everything because of the McCaffrey name.

Logan smothers got nothing from anyone, anywhere. How unknown is he? Do a Google search for “Login Smothers” and you get this:

Perhaps that’s by design, perhaps it’s best.

Given that the quarterback position tends to get all of the blame or all of the credit, right now maybe it’s best that Logan smothers remains personally unknown to Nebraska fans as long as possible, so we don’t crush him with our expectations.

No one on this roster has completed a pass except Adrian Martinez. No one has executed running play. That’s a very dangerous position for team and a coach that desperately need to show improvement this coming season.

Consider what Nebraska will do should Adrian Martinez get hurt.

Unknown Logan Smothers will have to carry the load. If Smothers gets hurt or plays so poorly, we’re putting in guys from Kearney who have even less experience than he does. Haarberg is supposed to be very athletic, but raw. Perhaps it’d be best if he gets some snaps on the field early in the season while Nebraska is blowing out an opponent.

(I am eternally optimistic to the point of delusion most of the time but it keeps me from being depressed about the football team. If you wish to be pessimistic, you do you and I’ll do me, okay?)

Perhaps Nebraska will pick someone up out of the transfer portal in the fall. They would be required to learn Frost’s offense in record time, something that’s been shown to be damned near impossible.

There are many as as many quarterbacks on the roster as there are place kickers. Perhaps one of the place kickers could practice throwing the ball.

2021 will be a very interesting.