Nebraska football practice, 8/14

Nebraska quarterback Andrew Bunch (17) throws during a drill as Matt Masker (18), Luke McCaffrey (7) and Noah Vedral (6) await their turn during practice at Hawks Championship Center on Wednesday.

Scott Frost has been effusive in his praise for Nebraska's quarterback situation, both with starter Adrian Martinez, and the sophomore's backups.

On Friday, after a situational scrimmage in Memorial Stadium gave those backups another opportunity to work, Frost again highlighted Nebraska's improved depth at the position.

"You talk about Adrian Martinez, (but) our backup quarterbacks are playing really well right now. Noah Vedral’s playing as well as I’ve seen him play in the time I’ve spent with him. He’s doing some amazing things. Luke McCaffrey had another good day and continues to impress all of us. Bunchy’s (Andrew Bunch) gotten better and Matt Masker’s playing well," Frost said. "That position in particular, again, I think is an example of the whole team that there’s improvement across the board that should help us from a front-line talent standpoint, but also from a depth standpoint."

McCaffrey, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound freshman from Colorado with high-level football bloodlines, elicited an eye-opening description from Frost on Friday.

"I think McCaffrey’s understanding of the offense is elite, honestly, for his age," Frost said. "I think he’s faster than I expected him to be, and he throws it really well. He’s also got that knack to make plays when stuff breaks down with his feet or with his arm, and a little bit of the magic that we want our quarterbacks to have so something can be created even when nothing’s there."

"Elite" and "magic" are two good words to have attached to your ability. Evidently McCaffrey possesses both of those traits as NU's backup quarterback battle continues.

Gaylord out for season: The first major injury blow of the season has come on Nebraska's offensive line, where senior backup Christian Gaylord will miss the season after suffering a knee injury in practice.

Frost confirmed Friday that the 6-6, 310-pound senior from Baldwin City, Kansas, will be out for the year. Gaylord was one of NU's top reserves at tackle, having appeared in 33 career games on both the offensive line and Nebraska's field-goal and extra-point units.

"Some other guys are playing well, but you obviously never want that to happen to anybody and you feel for Christian," Frost said. "But we’ve got some other guys doing some good things, too. So those guys are going to have to step up and be ready."

Even with Gaylord's injury, Frost said the offensive line, like many of Nebraska's units, is making improvements.

"We've still got a couple guys trying to nurse themselves back from injuries that I think will help, but that unit overall is ahead of where it was last year for sure," Frost said. "We're getting some really good plays from our two veteran tackles; Boe Wilson’s doing a great job (at guard). And starting to see some guys play well at the other two spots."

Warner a 'favorite guy': As Nebraska's young receivers generate headlines, and veteran JD Spielman prepares for what many expect to be a big year, a walk-on continues to provide a steady presence in fall camp.

"Kade’s one of our favorite guys," Frost said of sophomore Kade Warner. "Comes to work with a smile on his face every day. Really smart, knows all the receiver spots, a guy we can rely on. He’s been nursing an injury the last few days. Nothing serious, should be back, but it’s given some of the young guys a chance to get reps."

What Warner's role ends up being in the offense remains to be seen, but his versatility and reliability — his 17 catches last season were sixth on the team in 2018 despite him not playing the first three games — make him a security blanket of sorts for Nebraska's receivers room.

Freshmen making impact: Nebraska's freshman class has been as good as the coaching staff expected, and in some cases better, Frost said.

Several from the group appear to be in line for playing time this season, both because of their talent and their ability to ingratiate themselves into the fabric of Nebraska football.

"This young group has come in, learned really fast, adopted our culture really fast; they're good teammates, and there's some really talented kids in that group," Frost explained. "So I think that's really going to help our infusion of talent. We've got to see which ones are ready to play this year and which ones aren't."

Frost added NU will be a "complete" team when the Huskers have four or five similar classes on the roster to increase competition.

But there are already some potential stars in the group. Asked if the newest class contains any Adrian Martinez-type talent, Frost didn't hesitate.

"I think there’s several. I think there’s several guys that are going to be household names at Nebraska someday," he said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7436 or cbasnett@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.


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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