Nebraska Cornhusker Adrian Martinez’s sophomore season wasn’t anything close to what most NCAA football analysts believed it would be. Despite his head coach saying he believes the quarterback put it into “cruise control” at times in 2019, Martinez was named among the top players in college football to be a “bounce back” candidate by CBS Sports on Friday.
Several analysts associated with the site all named their top name for who they thought is going to have a very good 2020 season, assuming the season is able to be played. David Cobb named Martinez as his favorite.
The analyst pointed out that Martinez was the first true freshman to ever start a season opener, and raked in accolades for his performance in 2018. Cobb added it felt as though Nebraska was building a solid foundation with Martinez at the helm, and then 2019 happened.
“Yes, Martinez battled injuries,” Cobb wrote. “But that alone does not explain why his completion percentage, number of passing touchdowns, and yards per game all dipped as a sophomore. There were multiple factors involved, including poor offensive line play and perhaps a lapse in focus on the part of a young player receiving national accolades.”
The analyst went on to say that “the frustrations” of 2019 should be behind Martinez now. He pointed to the team getting a new offensive coordinator in Matt Lubick as one of the big reasons why Cobb thinks the quarterback is going to have a resurgence.
The analyst believes the replacement of Troy Walters has given the entire offense a chance for a “fresh start.” Cobb also believes Martinez is too talented to have his step backward last season have a lasting effect.
During his assessment of Martinez, the analyst admitted the entire offense struggled often in 2019. He believes not only is the quarterback too good to have problems generating yards and touchdowns, but the entire unit is loaded with talent that should be better in 2020.
As a true freshman, the quarterback appeared in 11 games for Nebraska, completing 64.6 percent of his passes for just over 2,600 yards and 17 touchdowns, with just eight interceptions. In 2019, his completion percentage dropped to just 59.4 percent and he threw for 700 fewer yards in just one less appearance. He also saw a big dip in touchdown passes (10) and an increase in interceptions (nine).
Martinez’s running ability didn’t appear to be affected by his passing struggles. After rushing for 629 yards, eight touchdowns, and averaging 4.5 yards per carry in 2018, he posted 626 yards and seven touchdowns with a 4.3 yards per carry average last season.