LINCOLN — The head coach and the quarterback get the blame when things don’t go well in college football.
Both Nebraska coach Scott Frost and quarterback Adrian Martinez are willing to stand up and take the heat for Saturday’s 48-7 loss to Ohio State, which moved up to No. 4 this week in the Associated Press ratings.
But at his weekly press conference Monday, Frost said Martinez doesn’t deserve the heat he’s been getting from some fans and some members of the media.
“I can’t believe he needs to be defended if you know football and watch that game,” Frost said. “There’s a lot of things that needed to be fixed. It’s just the nature of the game that the head coach and quarterback can get all the praise and the blame, and I think he knows that.”
Frost said Martinez made some good plays Saturday, and he’ll make some going forward as the season progresses.
“That’s just the ups and the downs of the game,” he said. “Adrian’s going to be just fine.”
When Frost looked at the tape of the game, he saw Martinez trying to make things happen. Both Frost and quarterback coach Mario Verduzco talked to him during the game.
Frost Said he talked to him “two or three” times.
“He doesn’t get rattled so that’s not an issue,” Frost said. “We just need to communicate with him what we’re going to do to adjust and fix things, but I’m not for a second painting it as Adrian struggles. We win and lose as a team. We make great plays and bad plays as a team.”
Martinez didn’t really want to talk about the Ohio State game. He’s looking forward to playing Northwestern Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
“I think the rest of us, the rest of the guys on this team feel the same way,” he said. “We are already moving on toward this next week, we are already focused on this week’s opponent, Northwestern. We realize we have a really good team in front of us, and we are excited for this opportunity to go out there and play again in front of Memorial Stadium.”
Martinez was just 8-for-17 passing with three interceptions against Ohio State. He led the Huskers in rushing with 81 yards on 15 carries. That total included 23 yards in lost yardage on four sacks.
Frost said Martinez is smart enough to not blame himself for all the trouble the offense had against Ohio State.
“I think if you’re a competitor, the first place you look when things don’t go well is yourself,” Frost said. “We do it as coaches, too. ‘What one play could we have called differently or what thing could we have done differently?’ If you’re a competitor, you don’t point fingers, you point the thumb at yourself and that’s the first place you look when you try to improve.
“I’m sure he’s doing the same thing. He’s played well all year. He’ll continue to play better. He’s a great kid and a great player.”
Frost and his coaching staff will try and help Martinez deal with unexpected things thrown at him. That means receivers have to be in the right spots and the pass protection and center snaps need to be better.
“We’re putting an awful lot on him anyway, but when he is worried about where the snap is, worried about who is coming unblocked, worried about if his receiver is going to be in the right place,” Frost said. That’s too much to put on a quarterback. So, we’ll continue to dial all those things in, I think. As some of our young guys on offense get some more reps, get some more experience, they’ll continue to get better.”
As far as Frost is concerned, Martinez has played well.
“He played tough Saturday. He got us some yards when there wasn’t anything there,” Frost said. “He was dealing with a lot of pass rush with very little time to make decisions. They (Ohio State) have a really good team. They’re No. 1 on my ballot and the season will play out, but where it sits right now that’s as good as a team I’ve seen, and he was dealing with a lot of that. I think that he did pretty well under the circumstances.”
— The Oct. 12 game between Nebraska and Minnesota in Minneapolis will kick off at 6:30 p.m. and be televised by either FS1 or BTN.
— Frost opened his press conference by offering condolences to several in the Husker family. That included the family of Ron Licht, a lifelong Husker fan and father of Jason Licht, Husker offensive lineman Christian Gaylord who lost his father and sophomore linebacker Jordan Paup (Central City) who lost his grandfather and niece last week.