Photo Credit: Eric Francis

They Said It: Nebraska Players on Nebraska’s 2021 Red-White Spring Game

May 01, 2021

Nebraska players spoke to the media following the White team’s 21-20 win over the Red Team in the Red-White Spring Game. Quarterback Adrian Martinez, cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt, defensive lineman Ty Robinson and wide receiver Wyatt Liewer met with the media.

Here’s the transcript from their question-and-answer session postgame.

Quarterback Adrian Martinez

On playing in front of fans again:

“It felt great. It didn’t feel half (full) to me, I’ll say that. It was a great atmosphere. I expected it. I know our fans our passionate, I know people wanted to get back out here and watch some football. It was good.”


On what he wanted to accomplish in the spring:

“I wanted to elevate my leadership, find a way to encourage the guys, and drive our unit to be successful, and if things weren’t going our way find a way to turn that around. That was my first checkpoint I wanted to hit. Secondly, I wanted to get better myself just in my accuracy and decision-making. I think you can always get better at those things. Verduzco and the rest of the ’cubes, we’ve been hammering home on that. And then ball-security. Turnovers have been a problem. It’s definitely been a point of emphasis this spring for us.”

On he and Samori Toure’s relationship building throughout the spring:

“He’s an easy guy to get along with and a big target who’s very reliable. Not saying anyone else isn’t, but it’s been easy to gain chemistry with him. I’m looking forward to continuing on that path, whether that’s off the field or on the field. I think we found ways to get closer as a wide receiver and quarterback unit, and I think Samori and I have benefitted from that. “

On Omar Manning’s progress

“Omar’s a really talented player. I think everyone can see that. I’m proud of where he’s at right now. I’m proud of how far he’s come and I know what he can do and what he’s capable of. I think we’ve barely scratched the surface. A lot to be excited about and I think he’s come a long way.“

On the o-line and run game

“They’re physical and they’re passionate about moving guys. I’m really proud of those guys as well. They’ve had a really good mentality this whole spring and I think that’s something we’ve needed and they’ve really embraced.”

On the competition at running back and the mechanics at play for him when he has to work with so many different backs:

“I’d be lying to you if I said it’s not something we’re still working, … working on exchanges. We do have about seven guys I could hand the ball off to, and I’m confident in each of those seven guys. I know they’ll get the job done and I know Coach Held will get them right.”

On how helpful it is going against the top-line defense:

There’s a certain standard you have to play to in order to have a good day. You can’t just go out there and say ‘Ah, we’re going to lean on these guys, and we’re just going to throw the ball over here.’ Those guys are coming, and they’re coming with energy, and if you don’t match it you’re in for a really bad day. They pushed us to get better each day and each practice and it’s definitely elevated us as a team.”

On the back-up race at QB:

“I’ll start with (Matt) Masker. I think Masker has been a great leader for our room. He’s one of the most humble dudes on our football team and I think he’s been great for Logan and Heinrich. Heinrich is very talented. I think he has a great arm, and he’s learning the offense just like I did when I was first here as an early-enrollee and that can be hard. But he’s handled it really well. Logan, I think he’s really come a long way this spring, kind of coming into his own and finding his voice and finding his arm. I can’t give you any answers because I don’t know. I think they’re both doing a really good job and Verdu is on those guys to meet the standard we need to be at.”

 

Cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt

On the overall defensive performance:

“Before we went out there we let everybody know that was going on field they can’t score. It’s an open practice but this is everyday for the defense. We try to come out every day and just dogpound the offense everyday. We just tried to make it very tough on them to even get yards. So just coming out here we just wanted to keep everything the same, give you guys a show and that was pretty much it.”

On having fans back in the stands:

“I don’t know how many times or how many people have asked me that. But it’s crazy just having people back in the stands. Walking out of the tunnel walk last year, you didn’t see anybody but the little camera crews and everything else but it wasn’t exciting. You had the team’s energy from both sides but the fans energy is something else. We needed that and you felt that when you walked into the stadium today.”

On his view of the quarterbacks’ spring performance:

“The quarterbacks showed me a lot. They throw them in sometimes to go against the ones in practice and know they execute on some things. I know I don’t play quarterback anymore but I try to give the guys tips and what I see coming from defensive back perspective. I tell them stop staring your receiver down sometimes just because I’m older defensive back, I can tell like you’re about to throw that now. So just work on your game a little bit and just come out there and do it every day.”

On his impression of the offense’s run game this spring:

“It’s gotten a lot better. We’re downhill, straight pounding the football man. We see the offensive linemen are taking pride in their blocking, just giving Adrian more time or even just driving guys and getting to the second level and opening up the hole or gap for the running back to get through. It’s looking a lot better.”

On the defense having big goals for the 2021 season:

“Humongous goals, man. I think everybody individually set the highest goal they could set. Of course we have Big Ten and this and that. But it starts out with the first game. We play Illinois there and that’s where it starts first. We got to prepare for that like we’re playing for the Super Bowl. We need to treat every game just like that. Every week, we have to go hard for any opponent and doesn’t matter.”

On if there are defensive rankings they want to achieve:

“Most definitely. If you see us every day and how we improved, not just defensive backs, I’m just talking about as defensive the whole. Where we’ve come from and where we are now and what we’re going to be its going to be amazing. Just because we’re always together and everybody wants to actually learn. Everybody’s very detailed now and now they actually want to do it.”

On how much more dangerous the wide receivers are now:

“We got some speed. You can name more guys with speed. Will Nixon showed out and he did his thing today. Will, he’s coming along. He’s a little guy but he’s very feisty. Love that about him. You got Omar, of course. Zavier Betts, Oliver Martin and you couldn’t name this many receivers before. Just to have these guys in the office just doing their thing. They go down and score it feels great.”

On what the team needs to do during the break this offseason:

“We’ve got to lock in and just stay out of trouble. Stay out of the way of anything that can possibly get to you. We always try to stay together like I said, so as far as the summer goes, we’re going to of course work out and things like that. We will just stay up under each other. Just get that bond that nobody else has with each other. Just come out here and be ready for the season.”

 

Defensive lineman Ty Robinson

On the defensive performance in the first half:

“I think we showed out today. It really showed the growth that we made during spring ball. We had a lot of three and outs which is great to see. The growth is there, I think we proved it today.”

On the defense’s mindset throughout the spring:

“Yeah, the mentality was when we went against the offense for live reps that they get three and outs. They don’t get a first down. That’s just the way that we want to play football. Like I said, the mentality is there.”

On how comfortable he feels versus last year:

“Last season, it was a really great experience. I got to play a lot. Got those game reps. I think I needed to get those. This spring, I felt so much more comfortable. I felt like my growth was through the roof. I’m excited to get through the summer and then go through a fall.”

On where the areas of growth were:

“Just feeling smoother and not as like, blocky, I guess is the best way to put it. My motions are a lot more fluid. I’m understanding the game a lot faster. My technique has improved a lot as well. So that helps in just getting stronger and bigger. That’s when it really helped me as well.”

On his brother walking on at Nebraska:

“Yeah, that was awesome to see. He kind of kept a secret from me. I kind of knew that he was thinking about going here. But I didn’t know if he wanted to go see other options. But when I saw that on Twitter and heard that from him I was pretty excited. You know, he kept a pretty good secret. I don’t know it kind of came up to the last second, I guess.”

On Will Honas’ injury:

“It sucks. I know Will was really looking forward to coming back and having a pretty good sixth year given that free year from last year. He put in the work. I know he had surgery for his hip, I think. He had to get through that and then came back and looked good for for the first part of spring ball. Then having this happen to him now. That sucks so I feel bad for him.”

On the offense having a more physical running game this spring:

“I definitely could feel that. That was kind of one thing that I noticed from last year. Downhill runners they hit a lot harder. I can tell that offensive line they are firing out of their stance pretty well and powerful moving us. Keeping us on blocks and opening those holes for those guys. Today you saw Yant. I’m gonna shout out Yant. He ran through up the middle three times in a row and knocked our guys around. So it’s definitely there.”

More on the downhill tendencies of the offensive line:

“There’s definitely times when I go back and watch film. I’m pretty bumped out of my gap or I’m double teamed pretty good. I’m out of the play where I can’t even do nothing to affect the play. So, their downhill tendencies are going really well.”

On summing up the battles with the offensive line:

“It goes back and forth. There’s some days where I’ll whip on our o-line. There’s some days where I get just driven out of the hole, out of my gap. Then I look like a fool on film. It’s a grind. Our offensive line, I think has gotten a lot better for the coming year.”

On what Jason Peter has brought to the program this spring:

“He’s just kind of bringing that culture that he had when he played. There’s no walking on the field. Every time we do a drill, it’s a five-yard sprint after. We’re not gonna take no for an answer. We own the defense. Basically, we own the practic. We bring the tempo of the practice. I feel like our defensive line is really caught on to that and it’s really done that well throughout practice.”

 

Wide receiver Wyatt Liewer

On what he saw on the last play of the game:

“We had a pretty good connection through spring ball. He likes throwing those deep balls. The kids got a cannon. He’s been having those on the dot all spring. He knew I was guy he can trust with it. That’s a play call we’ve had a lot of success with through the spring. We knew we could convert on it there at the end.”

On where he’s seen the offense grow most year over year:

“I’d say our our deep ball threats have been huge this spring. Our receiver blocking has come a long way. We work on that in individual and in team periods. We put a lot of emphasis on that no block, no rock kind of a deal. Just the leadership. Adrian’s been around here for a while so he’s really stepped up in leadership.”

On how competitive the receiver room is:

“It’s really competitive. There’s a lot of guys fighting for spots. A lot of guys are stepping up and making plays. Just being consistent is what it all comes down to. Being able to put guys in there and have them know what they’re doing and execute plays. There’s a lot more guys being able to do that. So we’ll be a really deep group this season.

On how tough it was to move the ball against the defense:

“I give hats off to our secondary. They’re an old group. They’re tough to go against everyday. But they they make us better every single day. Whether it’s one on ones or a team period, they’re always pushing us real hard. But it feels good when you get them every now and again and get get a score on him.”

On having fans back in Memorial Stadium:

“It was awesome. It reminded me of freshman year a little bit. It’s been a while but I’m glad to see everybody back and hopefully we can get it packed up for fall itd be awesome.”

On the difference heading into summer versus other years:

“I feel like the bond between guys is really strong. Just hanging out. After meetings going hanging out at buddy’s house and everybody just kind of fits together really well. This spring and through the team activities we did through winter conditioning I think it helped a lot. Playing dodgeball with the guys is good time. So is bowling.There’s a lot of competitiveness. I think that went a long way in building friendships.

On what the quarterbacks showed him this spring:

“They’ve all just taken that next step. They all know what they’re doing. They know where we need to be and we know where we need to be on certain plays. They’ve just been delivering really good balls. Adrian he stepped up big time with the leadership role and just kind of taking those guys under his wing and I think they’ve come a long way.”

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