Ohio State is a good football team. A “darn good” one if you ask Nebraska offensive coordinator Matt Lubick. Moments before the Huskers’ Thursday practice concluded, BetsOnline released the bettling line for the Oct. 24 matchup, with Nebraska as a 21.5-point underdog to Ohio State.
And with eight days of preparation left before that matchup, the Huskers have a question yet to answer. Who exactly is the starting quarterback?
Lubick previously said junior Adrian Martinez was the starter but that he saw “friendly competition” with redshirt freshman Luke McCaffrey. Coach Scott Frost said on Tuesday that it is more of an open competition between the two, and that hasn’t changed.
“We feel great about all of our quarterbacks,” Lubick said on Thursday. “Luke and Adrian are playing at a very high level.”
Wide receiver Kade Warner agreed, saying he’s seen both improve.
“The biggest thing this year that they’ve progressed on is the ability to stay in the pocket and make the throws,” Warner said.
Warner also thinks both quarterbacks can bring something different to the table for Nebraska. Martinez, however, has impressed Warner with his deep ball accuracy. That’s been an area of improvement for Martinez this offseason.
Both quarterbacks are practicing at a high level, as multiple coaches have now said. It also doesn’t surprise the players that McCaffrey has put his name so firmly in the discussion. Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson said on Tuesday that it’s “just a testament to how much” hard work and time McCaffrey has put forth in the last several months.
“You can tell he’s taken 10 steps in that phase of the game,” Robinson said.
Warner agreed. He also sees McCaffrey pushing Martinez. He’ll come into practice and challenge the veteran QB.
“’I’m coming, I’m coming, you better keep working,’” Warner said about what McCaffrey tells Martinez.
Lubick, alongside Frost and quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco, will make the decision. Their primary consideration?
“Who gives us the best chance to win?” Lubick said.
The evaluation is ultimately ongoing. The coaches are running out of time to make that decision and they know that.
However, Lubick doesn’t see the decision as a bad thing for Nebraska. Having two quarterbacks making it all interesting?
“The fact that it’s a hard decision is a good thing,” Lubick said.
More news and notes:
>> Lubick will coach from the press box this season.
>> Lubick said wide receiver Zavier Betts has “come on” in the last two weeks and “has a chance to help us.”
As for Oliver Martin (a transfer from Iowa), the Huskers are still waiting to hear more on his eligibility.
>> Who are the leaders of the wide receivers? Lubick said Robinson and Warner.
“Him and Kade Warner are definitely the leaders of that position,” Lubick said.
Warner’s father, Kurt, said something similar on Twitter this week too.
As for Kade, he said he was “thrust into that role” but that it also came naturally for him. He’s been working with the younder players and ecnouraged them to use his time for film work and more.
Could this lead to coaching? He thinks so, once his playing days are done, of course.
>> Back to that 21.5-point underdog for Nebraska, Robinson only had one thing to say on that.
“There’s not 21 points on the board already,” he said.
>> After Frost previously mentioned that Robinson and Alante Brown were both a little nicked up previously, Lubick confirmed that both are fully healthy.
>> A “culture reset” for the wide receiver room? Warner thinks so.
“I’m really excited to show you all this season what the wide receivers have in store,” he said.
>> Saturday may be the Huskers’ last one of the offseason, but Lubick expects the team to be hard at work in preparation. Nebraska is expected to go through last-minute preparation and work for Ohio State.
“Rehearse it one more time and then rehearse it one more time,” Lubick said.
>> Let’s just end with this.
LOOK AT THIS pic.twitter.com/MVg9Y9uIPZ
— Derek Peterson (@DrPeteyHV) October 15, 2020
Erin is the Deputy Editor and Digital Marketing Strategist for Hail Varsity. She has covered Nebraska athletics since 2012, which has included stops at Bleacher Report, Cox Media Group’s Land of 10, and even Hail Varsity (previously from 2012-2017). She has also been featured on the Big Ten Network, NET’s Big Red Wrap-Up, and a varsity of radio shows nationwide. When not covering the Huskers, Erin is probably at Chipotle.