Scott Frost knows who the Huskers’ starting quarterback will be on Sept. 1 against Akron.
We just don’t yet.
“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” he said with a smile when asked how the team would announce the next Husker starter. “We were certainly going to announce it when we were ready to announce it and not when people wanted us to.”
They are also going to wait until the staff has had a chance to talk with both men competing for the job: true freshman Adrian Martinez and redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia. The entire staff has talked to each other about it and Frost has talked privately with quarterback coach Mario Verduzco about it. They “have an idea where we’re going,” as Frost puts it.
“We’re probably going to make an announcement this weekend,” Frost said Friday when he met with the media. “Wanted to make sure we were sure on everything before we did it and definitely didn’t want to announce anything before we talked to the two kids involved. Both guys are doing really good things, it’s been back and forth. We’re going to need both of them this year.”
On Thursday, the Huskers’ held a situational scrimmage hoping for one last data point in a competition that has really been brewing since Frost accepted the head coaching job and flew from one coast to another to flip Martinez from his Tennessee commitment. They started with a regular practice then moved to what was essentially a quarter of football with some live periods.
Frost said he saw flashes of what the offense can look like, flashes that got him excited.
“The defense is flying around a lot better than I’ve seen it,” he said. “The offense, when we execute well, we can be really dangerous. At times it showed and at times it didn’t because of little mistakes. But the effort was great, the intensity was great and I was really happy to see some of the signs of some excellence coming out of these guys.”
With the team beginning game prep soon, the urgency to pick a singular quarterback has intensified. Frost said they want to get reps to the twos, but they want to get more to the ones and that means deciding who the guy will be. Frost has had plenty of experience with quarterback competitions both as a coach and a player and it’s providing a good deal of help.
At Oregon, Frost remembers competitions between Nate Costa and Darron Thomas that went right into the last week. He remembers Marcus Mariota battling with Bryan Bennett right up until the first week. He remembers 1995 when Tommie Frazier and Brook Berringer went back and forth.
“One of the big differences is I’m not sure Tommie and Brooke were friends,” Frost said. “The guys in the quarterback room are friends and it’s been really friendly.
“They kind of take turns having good days. They have different strengths so it’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges within the same offense. I think both guys will be perfectly capable of operating our offense well.”
Frost said comparing strengths and weaknesses and how they relate to running the offense is apples and oranges. He doesn’t want to burden them by comparing them to others. McKenzie Milton at Central Florida has the RPO portion of the offense mastered, Marcus Mariota could run but the Oregon staff didn’t want him taking off 12 times a game, Jeremiah Masoli could run it 20 times a game no problem and Vernon Adams was efficient running but “an unbelievable passer.”
In all situations, the offense molded to who was running it.
“We’ll do the same if one guy is in or the other and even through the course of the game, we’ll be able to adjust it to one guy or the other,” he said. “It’s going to get easier for the quarterbacks as we narrow the game plan from our entire offense through fall camp to just a gameplan for one team and they’ll be able to lock in on that a lot more.
“Both those guys have gotten plenty of reps to be able to play.”
Other News and Notes
>> Running back Tre Bryant is no longer with the team. Frost announced Friday Bryant's knees have forced him to step away from the game.
"He just has bone-on-bone to some degree in both [knees]," Frost said. "We were going to try to keep him on a pitch count and only give him so many reps in practice and so many reps in the game. He's good enough to be a great player. I feel terrible for the kid because I think he had a future in the game and a bright future in the game. It gets hard. Without saying too much, he talks about going home and not being able to sleep at night because of the aching and the pain in there."
>> Thanks to recent departures and a less-than-full scholarship allotment, Frost was able to place his first three walk-ons on scholarship Friday. Running back Wyatt Mazour, wideout Bryan Reimers and linebacker Jacob Weinmaster earned scholarships in front of the team.
>> Wideout Dominick Watt will go the JUCO route and not enroll with Nebraska this year. Frost said the staff fought hard to get him to Lincoln and they will welcome him back when possible if they can.
"We’d love to get him back in the mix," he said. "Certainly, everything has to go the right way but we recruited him for a reason and we will try to stick with him.”
Another departure is outside linebacker Sedrick King. Frost previously confirmed King had left the team for "personal things" but was unsure if he would return. As of Friday, King is no longer listed on Nebraska's roster.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.