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Adrian Martinez

Clovis West quarterback Adrian Martinez (center) scrambles against Clovis High in during the 2016 season in Clovis, Calif.

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA, THE FRESNO BEE FILE PHOTO

Things I know, and things I think I know:

As Troy Walters spoke to reporters last week, Nebraska's giant question mark at quarterback ran through my cranium.

"Some offenses, they react to the defense," the new Husker offensive coordinator said confidently. "We're going to make the defense react to us."

Walters, of course, can back up his big talk, as he helped guide a Central Florida offense that in 2017 led the nation in scoring (48.2 points per game) and ranked fifth in total offense (530.5 yards). The Knights finished 13-0.

"We're going to try to put stress on the defense," he said. "Any time you get stressed out, you don't play as fast. You don't think as fast, right? We're going to try to do that (to defenses) in multiple ways and try to get them out of their comfort zone and give them different looks, different tempos, different personnel groups, different formations so they've got to think a lot.

"The more you think on defense, the less you can fly around and play fast."

On the flip side, the speed at which Nebraska's offense operates will depend largely on quarterback play. How much can we expect from that position in Year 1? Will the quarterbacks be ready to apply pressure on, say, Ohio State and Wisconsin?

Unless a graduate transfer enters the picture, the new Nebraska staff ultimately will decide to go with either an extremely inexperienced QB (true freshman Adrian Martinez or redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia) or a lightly experienced sophomore (Patrick O'Brien). Neither O'Brien nor Gebbia was recruited for a fast-paced spread system that employs the zone-read option.

So, as we speak, Nebraska's quarterbacks are working to learn the new system. If they don't feel a sense of urgency, they can consult the Huskers' 2018 schedule for a boost. At Michigan. At Wisconsin. At Northwestern. At Ohio State. At Iowa. Michigan State in Lincoln.

Walters and the staff will look for the quarterbacks to make regular stops at North Stadium on their own time and get the playbook down pat. After all, spring practice is five weeks away.

"(Husker quarterbacks coach) Mario Verduzco gives them all sorts of homework — the information's online, on their iPads," Walters said. "We can only meet with them for so long, but they can come in voluntarily and do things on their own.

"The best quarterbacks — that's what they do. They find time to really dive into the offense. As a quarterback, you have to know inside and out what we're trying to do. Their No. 1 priority right now is to learn the offense, get with coach Verduzco, learn technique, learn what he wants."

It's more than learning the playbook, though.

"They've got to set the example in terms of work ethic, meeting time, preparation — because they're the leaders of the offense."

Walters spoke with a healthy mix of bravado and realism. He knows UCF didn't become a juggernaut on offense overnight. In 2016 — Scott Frost and company's first season at the school — the Knights finished just 113th nationally in total offense. McKenzie Milton took over as starting quarterback in the fourth game, as a true freshman, and wound up with ordinary statistics: 57.7 percent completion rate for 1,983 yards and 10 touchdowns, with seven interceptions. His record: 5-5.

This past season, Milton completed 67.1 percent of his throws for 4,037 yards and 37 touchdowns, with nine interceptions. His efficiency rating of 179.3 ranked second nationally behind Baker Mayfield's otherworldly 198.9.

So, fast forward to Nebraska's spring practice. How much will Walters expect from the quarterbacks?

"We're going to have high expectations," he said. "But we understand it's a new scheme, a new tempo. They're learning everything. So, we understand this spring might not be exactly what we want. But as long as the kids are trying, giving us their all, competing — that's all we want.

"I mean, I had to learn this system, and it didn't take me overnight to learn it. It's going to take some time."

* I'm not going to be the guy who puts unrealistic expectations on Martinez, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound native of Fresno, California, who's already enrolled at Nebraska. But I did wonder what sort of impressions he's made on Walters.

"The reason he came early was to get in the weight room, get acclimated to college life, get acclimated to the new offense," the coach said. "All the reports I've heard have been excellent. He works his butt off. He's athletic. He's easy to coach. That's going to give him the opportunity to be the guy."

* Nebraska men's basketball coach Tim Miles is proud of his players' stand against racism and violence. He should be proud. Very proud. His players' big-picture sensibilities indicate a high level of maturity. The players have the safety of the student body mind. We can all learn from that sort of selflessness.

It saddens me greatly to hear there are students who feel unsafe on campus.

"If I'm a parent, I want my (child) to feel secure," Miles said. "I want to make sure recruits come in and feel Lincoln is a great place. What our guys are trying to do is show that this is a great school, that this is a great place to live."

* I know this much: One hateful white nationalist on campus has gotten far too much attention in recent days.

* Heard this speculation on talk radio Sunday so, hey, take it to the bank: Case Keenum stays with the Vikings, Sam Bradford goes to the Cardinals and ... drum roll, please ... Teddy Bridgewater heads to the Bills.

I'm guessing Brandon Reilly would do backflips if Bridgewater ends up in Buffalo.

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

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