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Nebraska vs. Iowa, 11.23

Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) breaks a tackle by Iowa linebacker Jack Hockaday (48) during the second half last season in Iowa City, Iowa.

Welcome to the Hot Topic, a new weekly feature we're rolling out with the start of football season. Each week on the Husker Extra Podcast, Parker, Steve and Chris will discus an important topic heading into that week's game, and that discussion will appear in the Journal Star's Husker Extra section on the day before gameday. 

This week it's Game 1, South Alabama. What are the guys looking for Saturday?

Sipple: Does it (the suspensions of Andre Hunt and Katerian Legrone and Maurice Washington's legal issues) dampen the mood of the party?

Parker: We don’t know anything about the root cause of the suspensions for Andre Hunt and Katerian Legrone right now. If we learn about them between now and Saturday, depending on what they are, certainly it could. Overall though, "not really" would be my guess.

Chris: Yeah, once game time gets here, for the people in the stadium, it’s about that. And it’s about the anticipation coming to a head, and it’s time to go.

Sipple: I think so, too. So what you’re looking for, I’d say the first 20 minutes of game clock you want it pretty evident that Nebraska’s got it under control. Going into the late stages of the first half, you want to start thinking thoughts like, "Maybe Adrian (Martinez) doesn’t need to play much in the second half."

Chris: Why is Adrian still out there when it’s 38-0 in the second quarter? Put our son on the bench, please. Our precious boy. Our ebullient baby. Put him on the sideline. Wrap him in bubble wrap.

Sipple: Yeah, I think I understand where you’re going. I just think you want them to have it well in hand. Openers can be sloppy. Nebraska certainly was sloppy out of the gate last year, sloppy for much of the first six games. I think you want to see a little bit cleaner play. I would be disappointed if South Alabama came out and they were getting 4 or 5 yards a crack on the ground.

That’s one thing you watch right away. I want to see them stuffing South Alabama, and creating third-and-longs and then getting to the quarterback. And then of course No. 2 (Martinez), you probably expect big things.

Parker: This is the sort of thing where he could come out and be 18-for-21 for 290 and four touchdowns, and run for one, and I think that you’ll still learn a lot more about the progress he’s made in Boulder (when Nebraska plays Colorado), and on down the line.

Sipple: You don’t think we’re going to learn that much. I don’t either.

Parker: To me it doesn’t really matter if he looks rusty and it doesn’t really matter if he looks great. He’ll be fine, but I just think that the proof with Adrian Martinez — now, the one thing I would say is, if it’s pouring rain and it’s sloppy conditions and all that and Adrian Martinez takes care of the ball and doesn’t turn it over, maybe you can take something out of that.

He turned the ball over 14 times last year. He was credited with 12 fumbles, six lost. So if he takes care of the ball in bad conditions, then hey, there’s something concrete I can take out of it.

I think by and large we know what to expect, or we think we’re going to see, a really high-level quarterback.

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Husker basketball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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