LINCOLN — Nebraska head coach Scott Frost shouldered the blame for the struggles of the Husker offense in the opener against South Alabama Saturday.
So did quarterback Adrian Martinez.
The Huskers totaled just 276 yards against the Jaguars, including just 66 in the second half on only 16 plays, in their 35-21 victory at Memorial Stadium.
“First of all, we have to do a better job as a coaching staff of getting us in the right formations), Frost said Monday at his weekly press conference. (South Alabama) made some changes in the offseason and we got too scheme-y with what we were expecting from them and they ran other schemes. They did a really good job, so we have to do a better job as a coaching staff.”
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Martinez wasn’t going to lay the blame on the coaches or anybody else.
“I probably just have to point back to myself again,” he said. “I think it starts with me there, and I don’t think I did my job well enough last week. That is on me. I have to hold people to that standard. Like I said, I’ll take that responsibility because my teammates deserve better out of me, and I have to be able to bring it at a higher level.”
Martinez said looking at the film he saw some throws he could have made and some reads he missed. There were just some simple things he could have done better that would have helped the offensive production.
“I am quarterback of this team and Coach (Mario Verduzco) has done a good job coaching me up and it is on me at that point,” Martinez said. “I didn’t go out there and execute the way that I should have.”
The Huskers also had issues with snaps too. They had redshirt freshman Cameron Jurgens and Will Farniok as the top two centers on Saturday.
Frost said Jurgens missing practices as he rehabbed from an injury hurt his development at center. Jurgens began his career a year ago as a tight end.
“I suppose it’s like shooting free throws or any other athletic movement: If you’ve done it one million times, it’s second nature,” Frost said. “We’re certainly going to take a look at it and be working on it. I’ve never been a center. That’s one area of football I don’t know a whole lot about.”
One snap over Martinez’s head and led to a loss of 20 yards on the play and killed a potential scoring drive.
“We have to get the snap issue fixed,” Frost said. “That cost us quite a few plays. We made some bad decisions.”
Frost could see the offensive problems coming last week. He said the offense didn’t practice well the first three days of the week.
“I was pleased with our defense. Our offense was nowhere near our standard,” Frost said. “You play how you practice. You’re not all of a sudden going to show up and play well on Saturday, if you didn’t execute things on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Frost said this Monday’s practice was much better.
“Offensively, I have a ton of confidence in our coaching staff,” Frost said. “These guys have done an unbelievable job for a lot of years, putting up a lot of points and yards. They’ll find a way, but we have to practice better and we have (had) a good start this week.”
Frost saw Martinez practice faster and cleaner on Monday with more decisiveness.
“When he takes off, I want him to be an I-Back in a quarterback’s uniform,” Frost said. “That’s what he can be and what he should be. I saw that today. We put him in some bad spots schematically on Saturday. That’s our fault as coaches.
“We put him in some bad spots not being able to get his eyes where they should have been because he was jumping for a bunch of snaps. Those are things we can get fixed. If we give him a good environment, I think you’ll see the Adrian we all know and expect.”
Nebraska safety Cam Taylor-Britt saw the offense step up in practice on Monday.
“Big time,” Taylor-Britt said. “Both sides of the ball. Like Coach Frost said, the day after a game offense has to step it up big time. Today’s practice looked a lot better than last Wednesday. Monday through Wednesday are days we need to come out and practice hard. Today, everybody was practicing hard, flying around on defense and making incredible catches on offense. We have to do it right at the beginning of the week, so you’ll be good at the end of the week.”