Our mailbag keeps on rolling as the staff tackles football, volleyball and baseball questions. Brandon Vogel, Greg Smith, Jacob Padilla and Derek Peterson are back to share their thoughts.
What non-premium yet insider things are you guys hearing about the QB race and who else is standing out in other positions? Who do you all predict will win the QB starting job? (@thawildbunch)
JP: I’ve been saying Tristan Gebbia the whole time, and I’m going to stick with him for the time being. I think he offers the best combination of all the traits Scott Frost needs in his quarterback, at least until Adrian Martinez is fully up to speed. He’s an incredibly hard worker, he is a quick decision-maker who can make all the throws they need him to and he’s fast enough to gain yards on the ground and be a threat there.
GS: I also started off with Gebbia as my pick and nothing has really happened to change that yet. However, it would be mighty tempting to go with Martinez to get a potential 4-year starter that you hand-picked for the offense. I do hear whispers that the staff would like the eligible quarterbacks to be further along in their development and think the talent at the skill positions is good enough to win a good amount now. So because of that, don’t close the door on the grad transfer market despite what Frost has said publicly. At other positions, Greg Bell, Stanley Morgan Jr., Mike Williams, Jerald Foster, Will Honas, Deontai Williams, and Breon Dixon are some of the names getting a lot of praise.
BV: The off-the-record reviews of Martinez are pretty glowing. There seems to be every indication that he’s the quarterback of the future, but there’s still the adjustment to this level that can’t really be sped up. (He hasn’t played a football game, other than the Under Armour game, since his junior year, either.) That said, I bet he starts the most games for Nebraska in 2018, but he won’t be the starter in Week One.
DP: Things have looked rough for the offense regardless of who’s been the quarterback so far, but I have this feeling that Martinez gets the job. I was very surprised to hear from him Tuesday given the last staff’s rule of keeping freshmen off limits and just reading between the lines I think he’s the guy they are trying to steer into that role. I agree with Brandon that Martinez starts the most in 2018, but I think the benefits of getting him live action against the likes of Akron and Troy before Michigan far outweigh the risks when the other option is throwing him straight into the fire in conference play.
If you had to pick a current Husker to narrate your life who would it be? (@tklim2430)
JP: Will Honas. My life is pretty boring and not a lot happens, so Honas would be perfect. Seriously, though, give me Mick Stoltenberg. Deep, booming voice and he’s one of the best communicators on the team, so I think he has strong qualifications for the job.
GS: Stanley Morgan. He’d have a lot of fun questioning many of my life decisions in an entertaining way.
BV: Michael Decker. That guy is super smart. He doesn’t need to be to narrate my life, but I would appreciate it nonetheless.
DP: My pick was going to be Stanley as well, but since this particular question comes with rules, I’ll go Mohamed Barry. He’s an entertaining guy and I’ve always enjoyed listening to him talk. That’s a good attribute in your life narrator.
What is John Cook's Plan B if Nicklin Hames goes down with an injury? Transfer setter before the season begins? Did Densberger set in Club/High School? (@knapplc)
JP: Densberger was actually an outside hitter in high school, so no she did not. I don’t believe Kenzie Maloney has setting experience either. I don’t think Cook has any other option besides adding another setter to this roster. He’s not going to get a transfer mid-season, though; that’ll have to happen sometime in the near future I’d imagine.
BV: I don’t think Nebraska has much choice but to aggressively pursue a transfer setter, and I think that’s the plan. I don’t know who is potentially available, but you would think Nebraska would have plenty of interest in any such opening.
Any updates on Coach Frost’s desire to boost roster size? I know AD Moos was on board but needed to research how to make it compliant. (@md_schmidt)
JP: I don’t have any updates necessarily, but there are currently 149 players listed on the roster including all of the guys who should get here in June. That includes 89 scholarships by my count, so we know somebody is going to be leaving after the spring (or not arriving in the summer). Even so, that would leave the team with 140-145, which isn’t quite 150, but it’s close and a heck of a lot more than the 129 on last year’s roster.
GS: No update but there are Title IX issues that would need to be worked out with that. Going from 129 last year to 150 is the equivalent of adding another sport so I would think they have to work those issues out which is why it’s not as simple as Frost just getting what he wants.
How hot is Darin Erstad's seat? (@knapplc)
BV: Man, I was hoping this one wasn’t in here, but here we are. (Kidding, mostly, this is a pertinent and good question, just not a fun one to answer.) Like most everyone else, I like Erstad a lot. Hearing him talk about baseball is like getting a graduate degree in the sport. But so far that grind-it-out approach to baseball hasn’t produced consistent results. I don’t fully know where the breakdown is, either. Recruiting? Pitching? Hitting? Defense? All of those things have seemed good for Nebraska at times and rough at others. There’s just something missing. How hot is his seat? I think he’s OK for now––largely because football has already made a change and basketball is, well, interesting––but missing a Big Ten Tournament held in Omaha might crank the heat quite a bit.
DP: Brandon hits the key points so I’ll just add this: I think last season’s success coupled with the injuries they’ve dealt with in the pitching department has him currently sitting in better standing than most think. This is a team that scored a combined 35 runs on March 10, I think part of their issue right now is just cold hitting. Lots of season left. Plus, it'd be pretty awkward to fire a guy and then invite him back in September to induct him into your school's Hall of Fame.