Photo courtesy of Nebraska athletics

It’s been a rough first two seasons for head coach Scott Frost in Lincoln. Nebraska is a combined 9-15 over the last two seasons.

The Cornhuskers’ success in 2020 will hinge largely on quarterback Adrian Martinez.The drop-off from 2018 to 2019 was shocking for college football fans from around the country. Martinez might possibly be the most confusing, yet interesting player in the entire college football landscape.

From his freshman to his sophomore season, Martinez’s performance took a 180-degree turn. In 2018, he was marvelous with a 65 percent completion rate, 2,617 passing yards, and 17 passing touchdowns. He threw eight picks, but the efficiency and understanding of Frost’s offense gave Nebraska fans hope.

In the second part of a 3-part series, we examine the positives and negatives for Martinez in 2019.

Positives (2019)

  • Ability to extend plays – out of nothing
  • Dual-threat ability – yet, he had less explosiveness and elusiveness than in 2018
  • Run-pass option/zone-read and triple-option play reads – overall solid reads 
  • Overall intelligence and management of the offensive personnel
  • Ability to understand offense – making defenses defend sideline-to-sideline
  • Passing against man coverage – for the most part

Negatives (2019)

  • Inability to decipher coverages/make passing reads
    • Against Cover 1 – best in the Big Ten (even better than Ohio State’s Justin Fields)
    • Against Cover 3 – one of the worst in all of FBS – worst in the Big Ten
    • Facing Cover 2/4 – outside the top 10 in the Big Ten
  • Less explosiveness (acceleration) and elusiveness (ability to make first defender miss) as compared to 2018 – still overall good on the ground
  • Turned the ball over 18 times (9 fumbles, 9 interceptions) in 10 games
  • Confidence in the passing and rushing game
  • Health (shoulder, knee, and ankle)
  • Inconsistencies from himself and his trust in receivers
  • Trust in teammates overall
  • Throwing under pressure and in a completely clean pocket – almost too good to be true (a suspicion of Martinez’s mindset from watching the film)
  • Lacks working through his progressions – especially when flushed out of the pocket


More Martinez Stats 

  • 14th lowest-graded quarterback when under pressure (out of 130 teams in FBS)
  • 19th lowest-graded quarterback when from a clean pocket (out of 130 teams in FBS)
    • “Almost too good to be true which caused him to panic for no reason”
    • Lots of Cover 3 looks – only four pass rushers which gave him the clean pocket
      • Also, lots of Cover 2 and Cover 4 looks
  • Struggled on tight-window throws as compared to most FBS quarterbacks
  • Completion percentage of 46.5 percent (40-for-86) on throws at least 10 yards downfield – 11 turnover worthy passes on these throws as well
  • 733 yards on the ground (excluding the yards lost on sacks), including 430 yards on designed runs
  • Broke 29 tackles in the running game as well, but the downside was nine fumbles and nine interceptions