When Adrian Martinez entered his second season as Nebraska’s starting quarterback, expectations were sky high. The sophomore was considered an early Heisman Trophy contender and a potential threat to earn the B1G Offensive Player of the Year Award.
None of that came to fruition as the Martinez endured some struggles throughout the 2019 season. His slump was magnified by the fact that the Huskers finished the year with a 5-7 record, missing bowl eligibility for a third consecutive year.
Martinez doesn’t appear ready to repeat the performance he had a year ago. Head coach Scott Frost says he’s already seen the junior QB do things in practice that he’s improved upon from last summer and fall.
“I think it’s just his mindset and his approach,” Frost said, according to Parker Gabriel of the Lincoln Journal Star. “He came in his first year and had to compete for that spot, and he looked like a competitor every single day in practice.
“Year 2, because of the situation, I think he was able to put it in cruise control a little more, and I think that showed up on the field a little bit. That’s not to put everything on him. There’s a lot of things he couldn’t control. But I don’t think he’ll be lax in his preparation ever again.”
All of Martinez’s numbers in 2019 were down from his freshman campaign in 2018. Last fall, he threw for 1,956 yards and 10 touchdowns with 9 interceptions while completing 59.4 percent of his passes. He added 626 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground.
The previous year, Martinez totaled 2,617 yards through the air with 17 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He completed nearly 65 percent of his passes and had 629 rushing yards and 8 scores on the ground.
Martinez did battle injuries during the year, missing two games. Offensive line play in Lincoln was subpar, as well. That number of hits the quarterback took, especially against better defenses, piled up.
Now that Martinez is refocused, Frost expects a solid year from his quarterback.
“Adrian’s prepped and primed to have a good year,” Frost said. “I think a lot came at him fast last season. He was playing through some injury and I’ve said this, but we need to be a lot better around him.”