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All eyes are on Adrian Martinez


As we approach the start of Fall Camp for Nebraska, we take an inside look at each position group for the Huskers.

Today we take a deep dive into the quarterback position, which will again be led by Adrian Martinez. How far can he carry NU in 2021?

The Huskers will likely only go as far as junior quarterback Adrian Martinez takes them in 2021. (Associated Press)

What we know right now: NU will go as far as Martinez takes it

Nebraska will open the 2021 season with Adrian Martinez locked in as its starting quarterback for the fourth straight year.

The past three seasons have been full of ups and downs for the fourth-year junior, as he’s shown flashes of being an all-conference player and then been his own worst enemy with costly mistakes.

So much is riding on this season for the Huskers, and no player on the roster will dictate their 2021 success more than Martinez.

He slimmed down this offseason closer to the frame he was during his breakout freshman campaign. All reports from his coaches and teammates are that Martinez looks better physically and is more dialed in mentally than ever.

If that’s the case, and he’s able to cut down on his biggest issue – turnovers – Martinez could be the driving force behind Nebraska finally getting over the hump to a bowl game.

But if Martinez struggles, the Huskers will as well.

Key stats and numbers from 2019

2020 total snaps

* – Transferred from Nebraska

True freshma Heinrich Haarberg made a strong case for the No. 2 quarterback job this spring.

True freshma Heinrich Haarberg made a strong case for the No. 2 quarterback job this spring. (Tyler Krecklow)

Biggest question: Who will be the No. 2?

Second-year freshman Logan Smothers and early-enrollee freshman Heinrich Haarberg had 15 spring practices to make their case as viable backup options.

If they didn’t, NU would likely have to turn to the transfer portal to find a veteran quarterback to provide a little more experience and stability under center.

Both young QBs seemed to do enough to keep the coaching staff content going into the summer, including each showing flashes late in the Red-White Spring Game.

Now the question is, which one will end up as the No. 2 behind Martinez to open the season?

Smothers entered spring ball as the presumptive frontrunner. He got the start for the White team in the spring game and completed 8-of-14 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown while moving over to the Red team at the half.

However, the rapid development of Haarberg changed that conversation a bit.

The former Kearney (Neb.) Catholic standout has put himself firmly in contention with Smothers. Haarberg went 9-of-23 for 121 yards and an interception, but he also threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to win the scrimmage on the final play for the White team.

Those two will continue to go head-to-head this fall, as the competition to Martinez’s top backup – a critical role over the past three years – has only just begun.

Projected Fall Camp QB Depth Chart

1. Adrian Martinez, Jr.

2. Logan Smothers, Fr.

-OR-

Heinrich Haarberg, Fr.

3. Matt Masker, So.



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