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Nebraska Players on Growth, Leadership and More Heading Into Spring

March 05, 2019

Nebraska kicked off spring football practice on Monday, followed by a jam-packed press conference and round table discussion on Tuesday. Coach Scott Frost took to the  podium, alongside a group of players that included quarterback Adrian Martinez, cornerback Lamar Jackson and defensive lineman Ben Stille. The assistant coaches handled the round tables.

Over the nearly two and a half hours of availability, plenty was said. Miss any of it? Let’s run down some of quick hits from Tuesday.

>> Nebraska released its 2019 spring football roster on Tuesday. Here’s a look at the new numbers to be aware of:

  • Brant Banks (99)
  • Darrion Daniels (79)
  • Nick Henrich (42)
  • Chris Hickman (87)
  • Cam Jurgens (51)
  • Luke McCaffrey (7)
  • Jamie Nance (3)
  • Garrett Nelson (44)
  • Wan'Dale Robinson (1)
  • Cam Taylor (5)

>> Jackson said the defensive backs room now has to turn in their phones prior to meetings. The intention is to limit distractions and keep everyone in the room engaged.

However, Frost later said that’s not a team-wide policy. 

>> Speaking of Fisher, Jackson was more than complimentary of what the defensive backs coach has done for the position group over the last year.

“He just woke up the competition,” Jackson said.

>> Don’t expect much from quarterback Adrian Martinez on the Heisman-hype front. He knows what’s being said and finds it “humbling,” but his attention is on the team first.

“That’s what matters,” Martinez said.

>> Couple of money quotes from Martinez to get spring started:

  • "I believe leadership is performance and performance is leadership."
  • “I can’t promise I won’t make a mistake but I try not to make the same mistake twice.”

>> Speaking of mistakes, Martinez acknowledged there were a few he’d like back from his freshman season but was able to focus in on one.

“It’s hard to pick one thing,” Martinez said. “I probably take eight things back. One thing would probably be the Colorado injury if I’m being honest. It kind of happened because it was my own fault. I kind of made an error in the way I went about the play and it ended up getting me hurt.”

Martinez went on to say that he believes everything happens for a reason though and that you can learn from those mistakes.

“I learned from that, as well as countless interceptions and poor decisions,” he said.

>> When it comes to becoming a stronger leader, Martinez said he does things for his teammates off of the practice field. He puts focus on them around campus as well to let them know he’s there for them.

>> While Martinez has the No. 1 quarterback spot locked down, many have started to ask about the backups. For McCaffrey specifically, Martinez has been impressed by the early enrollee.

“Real good dude,” Martinez said. “He fits in really well with the quarterback room and I’m thankful for that. He’s a heck of an athlete. I’m sure you guys could have guessed that. He’s real fast, real athletic and I know he’s going to be a real good quarterback.”

>> Junior inside linebacker Collin Miller said no one works harder than senior inside linebacker Mohamed Barry.

>> Senior defensive lineman Darrion Daniels might be new to the team, but he isn’t quiet. Barry said Daniels has been very vocal with the defense, which includes pushing his brother Damion and the rest of the defensive line.

>> Let’s talk about the gains made in the off-season, shall we? Frost said the team is faster and stronger than they were at this point last year. He also said the team has put on close to 10 pounds of lean muscle per player, about 100 pounds in squat weight per player and 50 pounds of upper body weight lifting per player.

The emphasis on getting bigger was there for the defensive line specifically this winter. Stille, for example, said he’s now at 288 pounds. For what it’s worth, Nebraska even lists him at 290 pounds on the spring roster.

As for Barry, he’s now up from 225 pounds to 232.

>> Sophomore Cam Taylor is listed as a cornerback on the spring roster, but he said he’ll split his time between both corner and safety this spring.

>> While offensive line coach Greg Austin wouldn’t confirm who is working where, junior Matt Farniok said he has been working only at right tackle so far. That could always change, as Austin was clear he’ll put the five best players on the field in any position come fall.

>> Circling back to Martinez quotes, he said what every Nebraskan is thinking during his time at the podium:

“I’m just hoping this weather gets better soon.”

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