Nebraska's Starting QB 2018? It's probably Freshman Adrian Martinez

Submitted by markusr2007 on July 20th, 2018 at 12:26 PM

Nebraska comes to Ann Arbor to play Michigan on 22 September.

Big question for Huskers is who will replace QB Tanner Lee.  Tristan Gebbia (4-star pro style QB from Mike Riley) or true frosh Adrian Martinez (4-star dual threat from Clovis, CA).

Interesting 247 Sports article on Martinez here:

NU coach Scott Frost has started true freshman QBs before (McKenzie Milton, UCF), and Martinez is the bigger and faster specimen (6-2, 205, 4.5 speed). Athlon's also predicts Martinez will get the nod.

Martinez will wear No.2, just like Shea Patterson at Michigan.

Michigan's defense probably has considerable competitive and experience advantage for this game. But  talented, crazy-legged freshman QBs in the league always make such matchups - and the future matchups to come - all the more interesting.



July 20th, 2018 at 12:41 PM ^

Haskins was different because he a) knew the offense well since it was the end of the season, b) was surrounded by Buckeye talent (a lot higher level than what this kid will have at his disposal), and c) Haskins wasn't the QB we prepared for, making it different.  If Martinez is the starter and we have a few games of tape on him, he will eat turf for 60 minutes (or fewer).


July 20th, 2018 at 12:43 PM ^

Haskins made a couple of good passes and got a key score surrounded by 5-star talent and opposed by a defense that had gameplanned to stop a completely different player. Michigan still wins that game with competent quarterbacking, and Don Brown has made life brutally difficult for OSU's offense two years in a row now.

Martinez could be really good. Frost is certainly the kind of coach that can use him. But a freshman early in the season on the road against a defense recruited and primed to attack him? 

I'm comfortable with that matchup. 


July 20th, 2018 at 12:31 PM ^

Not just true frosh QB, but true frosh QB in September.  On the road.  This guy will be having Gary/Winevich/Bush nightmares after this one.  I'm not worried about this game at all.


July 20th, 2018 at 12:34 PM ^

Same. If Martinez is still upright in November, then their opponents might start to worry about Nebraska. However, I just don't get the concern for this Nebraska game that some Michigan fans have. Frost is a good coach, but he's not a god. He's still confined by NCAA scholarship limitations and the developmental capabilities of teenagers. We're talking their fourth game, in a whole new system, with a freshman QB, and one of the worst defenses in the country last year. Nebraska might be good next year, or in 2020, but they're going to take their lumps this year.


July 20th, 2018 at 12:31 PM ^

Even knowing UM will be more talented and at home, there was a time when I would be worried by that news.  Our defense is amazing and has been for a few years now, but FINALLY we also have a FAST defense.  Its a very good place to be.....


July 20th, 2018 at 12:44 PM ^

Not specific to this freshman but I'm pretty confident Frost is going to disappoint in Nebraska if only because that fanbase is probably the one that makes us seem incredibly realistic (we're a little crazy guys). 

He's a good coach and he'll get them to being a tough out but I think that's about the ceiling of Nebraska football in modern times. 


July 20th, 2018 at 1:19 PM ^

I don't think being a contender in the West means much. Can you push Wisconsin and not lose to Minnesota and Northwestern? Okay, you're a contender. Iowa and Purdue are contenders, they're borderline S&P Top 40 programs. I do think Frost has somewhat of a ceiling in Lincoln. It's really hard to recruit talent to Nebraska - in-state talent basically doesn't exist, so they have to go to states that already have in-state powers and the top programs in the country poaching. I'd be pretty impressed if Frost ever won the Big Ten.

Perkis-Size Me

July 20th, 2018 at 1:55 PM ^

I won't dispute that Nebraska has built-in disadvantages in getting top kids to come there, but if he proves he can win (and prior experiences says he will), and if he can send his players to the NFL (which he's done on a relative scale - Marcus Mariota, Shaqueem Griffin), he will get top players to go there. Or at least legitimately consider them. 

I know there are a lot of factors that go into a recruits decision (academics, weather, fine SEC babes to slay after the game, but I digress), but I think ultimately what matters most to most top recruits is going to the place that gives them the best chance to win and get to the next level. At least if I was a top recruit who envisioned playing on Sundays, I'd put aside where I had to live for 3-4 years if I knew it would give me the best chance to get to the NFL. If Frost can create a culture like that at Nebraska, top kids WILL go there. 

I think Frost will do extremely well there and put an end to Wisconsin's obnoxiously easy road to Indy. Will he have a tough time getting past the East in the BTCG? Yeah. But I think he ends his career there with at least one conference title. Maybe a lot more depending on how long he stays. 


July 20th, 2018 at 2:50 PM ^

I definitely agree that winning and getting to the NFL are the most important factors for 95% of recruits. However, I actually am not sure how good Frost is on those metrics. UCF produced 5 NFL draft picks (so far) from Frost's tenure, but 3 of them were on defense (two of them twin brothers and the other a major prospect who transferred from his original school). Obviously he turned UCF around and went undefeated this year, so he gets some credit in the winning department, though his roster still had guys from the UCF team that won a BCS bowl, so I don't think he's a miracle worker.


I think he's a good coach and I, too, think he finishes his career in Nebraska. I think they'll be good and, as soon as Brohm is gone, be the second best team in the West. There will be years that they'll be the best. I'm just not completely sold on him being a messiah yet. 

Perkis-Size Me

July 20th, 2018 at 3:23 PM ^

Yeah I don't agree with the messiah ideas necessarily. But I suppose I'm a little more bullish on Frost than you are.

He's done about as well as he could possibly do in the short time he's been a head coach. I don't think he's winning the division this year. I have a hard time even seeing them get past seven wins this season. But that's just this season. I honestly think that with him being at Nebraska for what I can only assume is the long haul, Wisconsin's days of having a de facto spot in the BTCG game are over. They've gotten that spot for being the best of a very mediocre bunch.

Like you said, Brohm isn't staying at Purdue for very long, and while Paul Chryst fields very good teams in Madison, they aren't worldbeaters. Nebraska isn't ready to challenge them yet, but give Frost two, maybe three years tops, and I think the Western divisional champion is 50/50 between Nebraska and Wisconsin almost every year. Save for the situation that pops up every five to six years where Kirk Ferentz pulls his head out of his ass and wins 10-12 games. 


July 20th, 2018 at 4:24 PM ^

Screw 7+ wins, I'll be shocked if they make a bowl. With the roster he's inheriting and the schedule they have, I think making a bowl game would be more impressive than going 13-0 last year.


I see near certain losses to Michigan, Purdue, Wisconsin, OSU, and MSU, and I lean loss on Troy and Iowa. I don't think Colorado or Northwestern will be pushovers either. 6-6 would be a hell of a job by Frost.

Perkis-Size Me

July 20th, 2018 at 4:46 PM ^

Perhaps. Again, I appear to be a little more bullish on Frost than you. At least from a long-term perspective. Riley did still manage to bring in some talent to Lincoln. Not a boatload of it, but there's talent there. Frost just seems like the kind of guy who will know how to best adapt his scheme to the players he has. He took a team from 0-12 to 12-0 in two years. Yes, I know there were players left over from UCF's original Fiesta Bowl win, but it can't be overstated enough how much of a trainwreck George O'Leary left UCF in during his final season. It's frickin' 0-12. That's really hard to do. 

You're right in that seven wins would be a stretch for Nebraska, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them start looking like they're coming along at the end of the season. Perhaps upset Sparty at home and send themselves into the offseason with a lot of momentum for 2019, where there is a much easier schedule and their two toughest games (OSU, Wisconsin) are at home. 

yossarians tree

July 20th, 2018 at 2:07 PM ^

As Bob Dylan wrote: "You can always come back, you just can't come back all the way."

They will always be disappointed because the glory days ain't coming back. There is no more Tom Osborne, and I can only assume that the reason they could recruit good players back then is that they were in the Big 8 and could recruit Texas and Oklahoma. 


July 20th, 2018 at 11:28 PM ^

To build on that: sparse regional talent with big time programs poaching Missouri (SEC, OSU) and Colorado (PAC-12) hard. Conference realignment has done their regional recruiting no favors. Michigan has done ok in Colorado as well and looks to be making Missouri a priority moving forward.

Frost is going to need to beat out a bunch of major schools for anyone regionally and will also probably need to recruit FL/TX/CA well enough like everyone else. Even giving him the benefit of the doubt on a schematic and/or talent ID advantage it’s going to be tough to do anything all that interesting in Lincoln. 

Perkis-Size Me

July 20th, 2018 at 1:23 PM ^

I imagine expectations for Frost's first year aren't sky-high, since they have OSU, MSU, and UM on the schedule, only MSU is at home, and then Wisconsin and Iowa are on the road too. Those could already be five losses right there, and each of those teams have defenses that are anywhere from good to elite. Does Frost really want a true freshman taking a beating week in and week out from some of the best defenses in the country? Guess it just depends on whether or not he thinks Martinez gives his team the best chance to win. 

All I really know is this: come September 22nd, it's blood in the water for Michigan's DL. Frost will have a very good program in a few years, but Michigan is catching Nebraska at the right time. Year one with a possible true freshman QB, at home, with what could arguably be the best defense it's ever assembled. Martinez, hide your lunch, hide your milk money. Gary and Winovich are coming for it. 


July 20th, 2018 at 1:39 PM ^

Scott Frost is a good coach, but true freshman QB on the road against a top 10 defense - potentially at night - is a recipe for a sad day for corn lovers


July 20th, 2018 at 2:38 PM ^

The Nebraska offense (outside of probably WR) has a good deal less talent than the UCF team that got obliterated against UM's only 2nd game with Don Brown, which was also missing Jordan Lewis and I believe Taco. Not worried at all.


July 20th, 2018 at 3:23 PM ^

I work with 4 NE fans and they're very optimistic about their chances against Michigan. I keep telling them they are going to be facing the 2nd or 3rd best defense in the country on the road.  I'm willing to bet with them but they're too chicken. I hope we stomp NE 40-0.


July 22nd, 2018 at 11:36 AM ^

Don't bet on facing Martinez, no true freshman has ever started a season opener for Nebraska, although Tommie Frazier (1992) did by mid-season. 

Tristan Gebbia was one of Nebraska’s highest-rated quarterback recruits in the modern recruiting era as one of the most decorated passers in California High School history. “In our offense, you don’t need to be 4.4 (seconds in the 40-yard dash), you just need to be an effective runner,” Frost said.

Frost values a strong grasp of the offense over any one physical trait. While he’s not in the same league athletically as Martinez, he can work the zone read concepts in Frost's offense, is more than a capable as a runner, and has the best arm talent on the roster. 

That being said, yes, whether a true or redshirt freshman, whoever starts against your squad will face a B1G challenge. 

Some of the other comments on this thread about Nebraska's long-term future, people have said in one form or another for 60 years. Yet whenever we've had a good coach and athletic dept admin, we've managed to do just fine. 

Have a great season Wolverine fans, I'll enjoy watching us compete against you again.