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With a new coaching staff in place, Nebraska players will have an equal shot at playing time for the Huskers in 2018.

Nebraska football mailbag: Which redshirts will have shot at playing time?

Have Nebraska football questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Nebraska mailbag to talk all things Huskers. This week, we discuss Nebraska’s redshirts and their impact in 2018, who could compete for playing time next season, and much more.

I think it’s anyone’s game with the new staff and fresh eyes. Everyone will be evaluated fairly, and that should make this spring very interesting.

I’m interested to see what quarterback Tristan Gebbia can do this spring against incoming freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez and sophomore QB Patrick O’Brien. Starting quarterback Tanner Lee will most likely declare for the NFL draft (see below), so I’m not really factoring him into the equation right now.

Martinez has gotten a lot of hype, but I don’t think the starting quarterback role is immediately his. Gebbia could easily make a case for himself, and it will be interesting to watch the quarterback competition play out.

I’ll also be curious to see how Broc Bando and Matt Sichterman are used on the offensive line. I think those two could be extremely valuable and could earn a good amount of playing time in 2018.

With all that said, the player I think who will earn the most playing time is redshirt wide receiver Jaevon McQuitty. He was expected to have a significant role in 2017, but a knee injury kept him from playing as a freshman. The 2018 season should redeem that first season lost for McQuitty, and I’m personally excited to see how coach Scott Frost uses him in his offense.

No, I do not. I think wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. has always been NFL-bound after this season. I can’t imagine that changes. As for Lee, I think the addition of Martinez to the quarterback room is reason enough to move forward. He could graduate transfer, but I believe he’s NFL-bound, too.

While Lee didn’t necessarily live up to the hype this season, the intangibles are still there. He’s got the size and the arm, which has kept NFL teams interested. I imagine he’ll get picked up by someone, even if it’s as an undrafted free agent.

I’m going to answer your second question first. I sincerely cannot predict yet how many of the incoming players will redshirt. If they fit the style and speed that Frost and his staff want, they’ll have a shot to earn playing time.

Frost has been clear that every player will get a fair evaluation, and that will include the incoming players. With that said, I could see players like Martinez and offensive lineman Will Farniok redshirting. However, if they’re the best at the position? Frost will play them.

As for the tight end position, I doubt we see any players move. I could be wrong, but I think Frost and his staff are recruiting the players they want at wide receiver and defensive end. I especially don’t see any of the tight ends fitting the speed Frost needs at wide receiver, but maybe someone will surprise me this spring.

The relationships disappeared. Former coach Mike Riley and his staff — namely Keith Williams and Donte Williams — were the ones with the relationships to recruiting targets like Joshua Moore and Cameron Brown. Their departures changed things.

However, Frost and his staff have worked quickly to make up for the losses on the recruiting trail. Moore and Brown would have been great additions to the 2018 class, but Frost is working to find other top targets.

Nebraska’s 2017 defense was shockingly close to the Huskers’ 2007 defense statistically, and that’s a rough realization to come to. The Omaha World-Herald compared the two, and I recommend reading at your own risk.

The reality is this defense needs to find its footing again and get back on solid ground. I think getting away from the bottom in most categories nationally would be a reasonable expectation in 2018. Nebraska’s 2017 defense finished 116th (of 129) in scoring defense and 102nd in total defense.

Maybe a goal could be getting into the top 100? That’s reasonable, right?

First and foremost, I expect a lot of points.

As for the game itself, I think Central Florida can be competitive with Auburn. While I expect the Tigers to win, I could see UCF keeping it within a touchdown by the end. Auburn’s defense is better than UCF’s, but the Golden Knights have one of the top scoring offenses in the nation. Auburn’s defense will be challenged to find answers for that.

Auburn is the better team but I don’t think UCF is going to roll over. I’m expecting a fun game all-around. And like I said, I expect points. Lots of points.

Frost has said there needs to be a focus on wide receivers and defensive backs. He’s backed that statement up with the offers he and his staff have put out.

However, Land of 10’s Chris Bumbaca touched quite a bit on what is next for Nebraska on the recruiting trail. That includes key targets for Nebraska, including 3-star offensive lineman Hamilton Hall. I recommend checking it out.

I’d like to. I’ve learned a great deal from cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles’ senior notebooks and I’m happy to hear others enjoyed them, too. It helped that Radley-Hiles really embraced the opportunity and allowed his personality to shine through. He approached this with the best attitude, which made it easier than ever to work with him on.

If I can find another athlete willing to embrace the project like Radley-Hiles did, I’m absolutely going to pursue it. I think it opens up the recruiting world in a unique way, and allows fans to see really what these athletes go through before signing day.

Maybe a little bit. But who am I to kill a dream, right?

If it’s not sold out, it will be close. I’m going to go with you, though. I think Memorial Stadium will be 90,000 fans strong for Frost’s big debut.

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