INDIANAPOLIS — Quite a bit of praise was thrown Adrian Martinez's way Thursday during Big Ten Media Days.
Nebraska coach Scott Frost reiterated the sort of kudos he's had for the junior quarterback throughout the offseason.
But Husker tight end Austin Allen's observations about Martinez here perhaps stood out the most.
"He's super, super confident," Allen said. "That's all I've got to say about it."
He later elaborated.
"He's got nothing to lose. Guys with nothing to lose can be dangerous," said Allen, the Huskers' second-leading receiver in 2020. "He'll tell you he's had a couple (of) off years the last couple years (after a strong freshman season). He's trimmed down 15 pounds this offseason. He's the second-fastest guy on the team right now. It's crazy. I think you're going to see a completely different Adrian than what we've seen the last couple years, and it's going to be for the better as a leader, as a player and in his character."
Martinez, listed at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, has the second-fastest pro-agility time on the team behind only starting safety Deontai Williams, according to Allen.
The QB's excellent pro-agility prowess helps, for instance, in terms of escaping defenders.
"I'm expecting Adrian to have a really big season," Frost said.
COVID plan: Nebraska is still working to establish its COVID-19 protocols for the coming season while at the same time trying to educate its players about vaccination, Frost said.
NU is still waiting to see how the Big Ten proceeds with its protocols this season after the conference established stringent testing standards last season.
“We’re prepared to handle it if the conference tells us it’s going to be handled on each campus,” Frost said. “I know I’ve had conversations on that, and conversations are going on above my head about ways to handle things like that.”
While Frost didn’t say what percentage of his team has been vaccinated, NU is providing education to its players, and the coaching staff has made their message clear.
“Vaccination gives us the best chance to have a football season that’s uninterrupted,” Frost said.
Williams' confidence: Williams, a 6-1, 205-pound senior, was asked if he's looking over his shoulder (figuratively speaking) to see if Martinez is about to overtake him in terms of pro-agility time.
Williams paused and smiled.
"Let's see," he said. "I run a 3.7, so I'm not seeing nobody."
Martinez, though, definitely recorded one of the fastest times on the team, said Williams, backing Allen's contention.
"He ran a 3.9," Williams said.
Does Williams pride himself on his fast agility times?
"No," he said flatly. "I pride myself as a football player. I know when it comes to the NFL Combine, I'm going to have great numbers. I'm not worried about that. I'm just worried about being the best player that I can be."
Someone pointed out that the NFL Combine is held at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"Yep. I'm going to be here (next spring)," he said.
Fidone 'humbled:' Fleet and athletic tight end Thomas Fidone, the most-coveted recruit in Nebraska's class of 2021, was just finding his stride late in spring drills before he tore his ACL.
Frost, however, said Thursday that Fidone may be available to play this coming season.
"There’s definitely hope for Thomas," the coach said. "His injury was early enough that I can see him getting back. All these kids are young and they heal fast — a lot faster than old guys like us heal. So we’ve got really high hopes for Thomas."
Allen made it clear that Fidone struggled at times during spring practice before he became more comfortable in the offense.
"I think his confidence is through the roof and his potential is through the roof," Allen said. "It all works together. But I think the first spring humbled him just a little bit."
Allen said the veterans on the team noticed before Fidone's arrival on campus that he was quite active on Twitter.
"We always make a joke of people who tweet a lot — I mean, the recruits coming in (saying), 'Hey, Go Big Red fans, follow me,'" Allen said. "Once you get into Nebraska, we kind of dog on those people a little bit. We kind of nudged him away from that, so to speak.
"The first couple of months we kind of said we do our talking on the field. But I shouldn't dog on him too much because he's going to be a really good player. He's going to play football for a lot, a lot of years."
'Dust flying': The news of Texas and Oklahoma perhaps joining the SEC predictably was a popular topic here, but not necessarily a primary talking point in Frost's world.
"I have absolutely no comment on Texas and Oklahoma or another league," Frost said. "As I've said before, I think there's a lot of dust flying around right now and we're all going to have to wait until the dust settles at the end of the day. If that leads to realignment (in conferences), I feel great about the position Nebraska's in. We're really happy with where we are right now. We're looking forward to competing in the Big Ten."
Loud and clear: A letter from new Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts to Husker football season-ticket holders includes a mention that NU will provide the option of receiving printed tickets and parking passes for the 2021 season.
"Long term we intend to continue the transition to mobile ticketing, but we heard the message" from fans, Alberts wrote.
— Steven M. Sipple and Chris Basnett