The atmosphere was electric.
The crowd, record setting.
The nostalgia so thick you could practically cut it with a knife.
The 2018 Nebraska football spring game is officially in the books.
I watched. You watched. Now comes the inevitable long, hot summer where we endlessly debate what we really learned, and what is still left to sort out in the fall.
With that said, we may as well not wait any longer. Lets get started.
Who will be the starting quarterback?
It's going to be a fun race. From my perspective, the list of real contenders is down to two: Tristan Gebbia and Adrian Martinez.
There's little doubt Martinez stole the show on Saturday, going 10 of 13 for 114 yards and a touchdown through the air, while adding 60 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. Watching him run, it's not a leap to think those rushing numbers could have been considerably higher if he was "live," and defenders would have been forced to bring him to the ground.
Gebbia was good in his own right, going 12 of 17 for 125 yards and a touchdown throwing the ball, and adding a decent run or two. Yet, it's pretty obvious that while he's mobile enough to be effective, he's nowhere near the runner that Martinez can be.
I'll credit Sam McKewon of the Omaha World Herald for asking the appropriate question when it comes to the quarterback race:
Two ways to look at Nebraska QB situation.— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) April 22, 2018
Who starts game one?
Who's the dude long term?
The second question matters more than the first one.
If I had to make a pick today, I'd roll out Martinez and live with the inevitable growing pains. Despite Gebbia's tireless work ethic and great attitude, it seems inevitable that Martinez will eventually pass him, whether its this season or sometime further down the road. Perhaps that leads to a Gebbia transfer at some point, but that's a risk Nebraska may have to take.
As for Andrew Bunch and Noah Vedral, they just didn't play with the same level of moxie as Martinez and Gebbia on Saturday. Maybe it was just a bad day, but maybe not.
Running back looks settled to me
After listening to players rave about him this spring, and watching him on Saturday, I'm pretty convinced Greg Bell will be the bell cow at running back for Nebraska this fall.
He has a next level gear that none of the other players in the room posses, and while he has plenty of shiftiness in him, he seems to know how to get north-south in a hurry. Bell finished the spring game with 57 yards on just eight carries, an average of 6.8 per attempt.
Devine Ozigbo, Mikale Wilbon, Jaylin Bradley, and perhaps Tre Bryant (depending on his health) will have plenty of opportunities to play, as Frost's offense utilizes multiple backs. But when the game is on the line, and Nebraska needs to be at their best offensively - Greg Bell should be the guy.
The receiver room should be well stocked
Bearing in mind that Stanley Morgan and JD Spielman didn't even play, the receiver room looks to have plenty of options this fall. Tyjon Lindsey played well, Jaevon McQuitty looked solid in his return from injury, and newcomer Mike Williams had three catches and a touchdown to top it off. On the white side, Todd Honas had six grabs for 48 yards for a solid afternoon. That gives Nebraska at least six decent options to run out at receiver.
The tight ends looked like they're ready to contribute as well. Both Jack Stoll and Austin Allen had solid days on the red side, and Kurt Rafdal had one of the better catches of the afternoon for the white team.
Add it all up, and Nebraska should have no shortage of pass catching options.
Mixed bag on defense
As I anticipated going into the game, I didn't learn a ton about Nebraska's defense. They blitzed some, but largely played a fairly simple base package.
There were a few individuals that caught my eye: DaiShon Neal was only credited with four tackles, but it sure seemed like he had more than that. Two of those four went for sacks, and he also forced a fumble. Neal looks like a much improved player from the limited sample size we've seen in the past.
The inside linebacker group also had an impressive afternoon. Mo Barry, Dedrick Young, Jacob Weinmaster, and Breon Dixon all had active days, and seemed to constantly be in the middle of the action.
I didn't walk away with a real strong opinion of any other position group. There were positives and negatives in the secondary, and up front along the defensive line.
One note - I'm a little confused as to why there were so many offsides penalties in the game. Not sure if that was simply an adrenaline thing, or if the offense was intentionally trying to draw the defense offside.
It was (*gasp) a different song on Saturday! How could Scott Frost allow such a thing?? (I kid, I kid).
Personally, I liked it. I'll let Mike'l Severe's Twitter poll do the talking for the rest of the world.
Would you be okay with permanently replacing the tunnel walk music with "Come Together" the Gary Clark Jr version? Or just rotating different jams? Or stick with Sirius? #Huskers— Mike'l Severe (@MikelSevere) April 23, 2018
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