Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Martinez the Starter, but Lubick Sees ‘Friendly Competition’ for NU QBs

October 01, 2020

There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. At least that’s how Nebraska offensive coordinator Matt Lubick sees it.

That “friendly competition” is what exists between junior quarterback Adrian Martinez—who Lubick confirmed holds the No. 1 spot—and redshirt freshman quarterback Luke McCaffrey right now. Lubick said both are playing at a high level, but he doesn’t necessarily see it as McCaffrey putting pressure on Martinez for the starting role.

Instead, he sees the competition making each better.

“We feel really good about both of them,” Lubick said following practice on Thursday.

But it’s not just Martinez and McCaffrey who have been impressing Lubick since he met them. Freshman Logan Smothers and sophomore Matt Masker have as well, saying the Huskers have “great depth” at quarterback for 2020.

Plus, the quarterbacks haven’t slowed down since COVID-19 shut everything down in March. He said he’s been “really happy, really with all of our quarterbacks” over the last several months. He even noted that the quarterbacks have been consisently in the film room, which has helped with their progress.

Lubick also said the offense has been installed. He’s now seeing additional progress from the quarterbacks as a result.

“I think we’re in a really good place,” Lubick said. “Our guys have really taken advantage of the time.”

More news and notes:

>> Who’s the main leader of Nebraska’s offensive line? According to center Cam Jurgens, the honor belongs to senior Matt Farniok. He said he’s the “voice of the o-line.” Farniok also moved from right tackle to right guard during the offseason, which Jurgens is excited about.

“It’s going to be sweet,” Jurgens said about having Farniok next to him at right guard.

As for a younger player that has stood out, Jurgens mentioned redshirt freshman right tackle Bryce Benhart. He said he’s a great player who has “got all the tools.”

“We’re seeing some things out of him,” Jurgens said.

>> Speaking of Farniok’s move to right guard, offensive coordinator Greg Austin provided more insight on who will play where this fall. Here’s the breakdown as he shared it on Thursday:

LT: Brenden Jaimes, Turner Corcoran/Christian Gaylord/Brant Banks

LG: Boe Wilson, Broc Bando, Nouredin Nouili

C: Cam Jurgens, Trent Hixson/Will Farniok

RG: Matt Farniok, Ethan Piper/Trent Hixson/Matt Sichterman

RT: Ben Benhart, Brant Banks/Christian Gaylord

Austin said Corcoran, a true freshman, is a guy who was “emerged.”

>> Now that the offense has had more time to get to know Lubick, senior tight end Jack Stoll said he is one of the “most football-knowledgeable” people on the Nebraska football staff and that the more he gets to know him, the more he likes him.

Stoll also said he’s a “fun guy to be around” and said he “lives and breathes football.”

“That’s what you want out of your OC,” he said.

>> Stoll said a lot of the tight ends are making plays at practice. “We’re getting the ball a lot more,” he said.

Why? Stoll said it’s all thanks to Lubick. Stoll emphazied some of the new routes that have been introduced in Lubick’s offensive schemes.

“Coach Lubick has done a great job of coming up with route schemes . . . for not only the tight ends but WRs and RBs as well,” Stoll said.

He also credited Nebraska being more detailed in route-running to getting the ball more.

>> What does Lubick think of junior college transer wide receiver Omar Manning?

“He’s done some good things like all of our young guys,” he said.

Lubick also said that Manning has battled some “nagging injuries” since arriving on campus, but he’s progressing.

>> What is it like between the offense and defense in practice?

“We’re not competing against each other,” Lubick said. “We’re competing for each other.”

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