Nebraska players met with the media Saturday afternoon following the Huskers' annual Red-White Spring Game. The Red team defeated the White team, 24-13, in front of a sold out crowd at Memorial Stadium.
Here's the full transcript from their question-and-answer session postgame.
Quarterback Adrian Martinez
On how he feels about the offense
“Overall, over the course of the spring we did a good job. Obviously we still have a ways to go, some things to clean up. Today too, we missed a few drives there that I was in and some of the other guys as well you know. We had a few mental errors, but I’m proud of the guys and I’m proud of how hard they worked this spring, and I’m excited for what’s to come in the fall.”
On the brotherhood of the quarterbacks
“I’ll tell you a story from the game. So Matt Masker was in and he threw a deep ball down the sideline and they scored, and he plays for the white team. So I was going nuts on the red sideline and it was tough because technically we are on the red team, but we root for each other in all cases. I’m definitely thankful to be a part of such a special group. A few of Coach [Mario] Verduzco’s family member actually came to the game, and they were there in our postgame huddle and they fit right in. We just feel like a family. It’s a special bond that we all share.”
On the competition between the teams
“I kind of realized it midway through. I was running down the sideline and I was like, ‘Oh man, maybe I shouldn’t be doing this.’ I tried to play it both ways, it was tough.”
On the touchdown throw to Jaron Woodyard
“It was a rollout, we had a tight end coming from the opposite side and I thought I was going to have to hit him quick. But, the defense played it pretty well. They had a guy come down on there. I’d come back to the sideline I thought was covered, I had Kade Warner dragging and Jaron dragging. I made a quick move on David Alston that I think I didn’t get sacked on, and threw it to Jaron. He was the open guy and made a great play.”
On improving at throwing on the run
“That’s just a part of what we do every day. Coach Verduzco hammers that home, throwing on the run. I know you guys have seen it probably, but every day before games it’s just a part of our everyday life almost, just naturally over the course of time I’ve gotten better.”
On the defense improving
“It definitely gets me excited and frustrated sometimes during practice, but I think they are a lot more confident, maybe have a little bit more swagger to them and they are playing really tough, really hard so it’s something exciting for our team.”
On quarterback Luke McCaffrey
“We talked before the game. I think he’s a well-composed kid who’s going to be able to handle it. The first time you go out there in front of 90,000 there’s not a whole lot that can really prepare you, but I think he did a good job, I really did. He made some real nice throws, some good plays and he controlled what he could. I think he did a solid job out there. Obviously we are going to go back as a unit and watch the film and make corrections.”
On seeing any parallels between him and Luke McCaffrey
“Yeah, I’ve definitely tried to share my wisdom from my year of experience here and hopefully it influences him in a good way. I think he’s going to be a really good player for us.”
On the toughness of the defense
“The defense has been doing a good job all spring and coach is right, they had a good day today, but they’ve had better days throughout the spring and I think it’s what we strive for. When the defense is playing really well it forces the offense to step up, too. I hope they stay on that path and help us as an offensive unit get better.”
On a change in mentality from last season to this season
“Honestly, it doesn’t change a whole lot for me. I think the mentality has always been the same. In our quarterback room it’s about competition, it’s about staying focused, our task, what can we do to make this team better, and I think as long as I remain hungry and have that same mindset I think we are going to be in good shape. It doesn’t change for me, I want to have the same approach.”
Nose tackle Darrion Daniels
On playing at a full stadium
"It kind of exceeded [my expectations]. It was probably the most fans I've seen in a stadium my whole time in college. And it's just a spring game. I can only imagine what it'd be like for a real game."
On if this game solidified his transfer to Nebraska
"Yeah, it was really nice to come out and see that. Coming over here I really didn't know exactly what to expect, but just being out there with my brother [sophomore defensive lineman Damion Daniels] and with the team, the fans… it was something special."
On where the defense stands compared to other teams he's played on
"We're really good, like really good. The teams I've played on that were really good had a lot of leaders in older guys, but on this defense there's leadership all around. We've got a lot of young guys holding a lot of older guys accountable and the same vice-versa. I feel like there's a really good balance of everybody keeping everybody right."
On how it was playing alongside his brother for an actual game
"Just special. It's just a good feeling to see my brother with the same color of jersey again, being on the sideline with him, coaching him up, him coaching me up, giving each other tips, calming each other down when we get heated. It's something special."
On if he said something to his brother before the game
"I told him to ball out and to own it. That's what we do, we just go out there and do it. And make sure to have fun like we've been doing all spring."
On if his brother said something to him
"Same stuff…with more vocal words."
On the defensive line chemistry
"It actually started right when I touched down [at Nebraska], everybody is very open and very vulnerable to one another. Not many secrets, everybody knows everything about each other, so there's a lot of trust and loyalty amongst us. I came in, they came with open arms… and I just came in and everything just jumped right together. Being out here working hard, and seeing people working just as hard as I am, really makes me want to put more out there. I feel like that played a huge role among us, all coming together."
On how similar/different this experience has been to Oklahoma State
"When I got to Oklahoma State, my freshman year, it was already established, and it's kind of the same here. Their coaching had been established already, and I feel like here I'm in the transition of them finding an identity now and it's really humbling just to be able to be part of it. Being part of the team, it's being part of a dynasty once again."
On if the Nebraska culture is different
"I just know that at Oklahoma State… we interacted with each other [defense and offense] of course, but it was also… in defense, we really stuck with defensive players and same with the offense. Here, one team in a heartbeat. Even in the locker room, there's not a D-line section or a cornerback section, everybody in the locker room mixes and mingles. Here, the one thing that's really special is how everybody is so close. You've got DBs hanging out with linemen, you've got offensive linemen hanging out with linebackers, and I think it's beautiful."
On what's next for him between now and August
"Just getting a better feel for the whole defense. I know this spring I was really trying to get ahold of my position as a defensive lineman. Just trying to get my plays down and always telling them to see the whole scheme of the defense, trying to understand the coverages and the way the linebackers are doing it. So, I feel like it's trying to understand the whole defense instead of just the D-line."
On if there's anyone on the offensive line he likes to compete against
"[Sophomore offensive lineman] Trent [Hixon]. Every day, he picks out something that I beat him on, and then the next day it won't work. That's one thing that proves how great he is. He'll find one thing I'm really good at and he'll work on stopping it. It makes me go in my bag deeper, it makes me better with him coming after my best moves and stopping them."