NU football vs. Minnesota, 10/20/18

Nebraska quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco watches his players before a game last season against Minnesota.

Nebraska football coaches haven't pinpointed a No. 2 quarterback behind Adrian Martinez just yet.

The four-game redshirt rule enacted right before last season obviously adds nuance to the discussion.

But that discussion among staff will occur in earnest soon, Husker quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco told reporters following Wednesday's practice.

The season opener looms Aug. 31.

"I'm certain at some point coach (Scott) Frost will come to me like he did last year and we'll have a discussion about that," Verduzco said. "He'll let me know what the deal is, if we have to make sure Adrian is No. 3 or whatever."

He was joking, of course. Martinez has a stranglehold on the starting role. But there's been spirited competition behind him, with sophomore Noah Vedral of Wahoo and freshman Luke McCaffrey of the Denver area leading the way in that regard.

Vedral has added weight -- he's listed at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds -- and managed to keep it on, Verduzco said.

"He's throwing the ball as well as he's thrown the ball since I've been around him," the coach said.

The speedy McCaffrey (6-2, 200) has improved his throwing mechanics by "leaps and bounds."

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"He worked on it over the summer," Verduzco said. "The fixes he's made are intact. Now he just has to make certain that during the course of a scrimmage or a practice that it happens. It's been really, really, really good."

Verduzco said it's been an "exciting" August for his quarterbacks. As Nebraska shifts to game week next week, the transition should be smooth, the coach said.

"For us it's a heck of a lot easier because during camp, you know, (with) Frosty, the whole playbook's open from day to day," Verduzco said. "When he's calling plays, it gets wild, now. So everything's available to us. Then in game week, things get whittled down. It's not as much volume, so it's much simpler for us."

Martinez, a sophomore who's mentioned prominently in Heisman Trophy discussion, has enjoyed a strong camp overall.

"It's just everything," Verduzco said. "It's the command he has of the offense now. He's more comfortable with everything we're doing -- very similar to my experience with (McKenzie Milton) down at UCF."

Milton's numbers in 2017 as a sophomore improved drastically compared to his 2016 season. In 2016, he completed 57.7 percent of his throws for 1,983 yards and 10 touchdowns, with seven interceptions. His passer rating was 113.0. In 2017, his completion rate jumped to 67.1 percent for 4,037 yards and 37 touchdowns, with nine picks, as UCF finished 13-0.

His rating skyrocketed to 179.3.

"Does (Martinez) miss things?" Verduzco said. "Yeah, he does every now and then. The young cat's a sophomore. But he's just more comfortable, you can tell."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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