Upon returning to campus Monday, Nebraska’s football players had an optional week of weight lifting with strength and conditioning coach Zach Duval.
But NU players, quarterback Adrian Martinez said Friday, were ready to get to work right away.
“We know what we want to accomplish, and that’s going to take some hard work and dedication throughout the semester, throughout the fall, throughout the season,” Martinez said on the “Sports Nightly” radio program. “It starts now.”
Martinez, a freshman All-American according to the Football Writers Association of America, said the 2018 season featured “a lot of lessons learned the tough way, games we should have won.” The Huskers will use those losses as “fuel” for 2019. Martinez is “excited” to lead the way, even though he’s a 19-year-old true sophomore.
“I think the guys on the team respect my mentality,” Martinez said. “I’m really trying to establish myself as that leader, as someone they can look to on and off the field.”
Over the next two months, Martinez said, teammates have to “give their all in the weight room” and get incoming freshman “on the same standard” as the rest of the team.
Playing in some of the Big Ten’s historic stadiums — such as Michigan and Ohio Stadium — was a “dream come true.” The only thing better, Martinez said, would have been winning some of those games. And while the FWAA recognition was an “honor” for Martinez and his family, Martinez wants to see more success for the team going forward.
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Nebraska's head football coach Scott Frost walks off the bus as he arrives at Memorial Stadium for the Unity Walk prior to the game against Akron that was rained out.
Nebraska's quarterbacks coach, Mario Verduzco, removes a unlit cigar from his mouth as he and the Huskers arrive at Memorial Stadium for the Unity Walk prior to the Akron game that was rained out.
Purdue's D.J. Knox (1) leaps over Nebraska's Lamar Jackson (21) bringing the ball to the 1-yard-line during the second quarter.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. (8) fails to make a catch while guarded by Colorado's Evan Worthington (6) and Delrick Abrams (1) during the third quarter.
Nebraska's Jack Stoll (86) is hit and flanked by Purdue's Tario Fuller (25) and Dedrick Mackey (1) on a kick return during the second quarter.
Nebraska's former head football coach Tom Osborne looks on from the sideline before the Colorado game.
Shelley Malone and Jayme Malone, of Lincoln, who have been married for 42 years walk through a shaft of light in the concourse of Memorial Stadium prior to the Troy game.
Nebraska's Devine Ozigbo (22) carries the ball upfield against Northwestern during the fourth quarter.
Northwestern's Flynn Nagel (2) bobbles the ball that was ultimately intercepted by Nebraska's Tre Neal (14) during the fourth quarter.
Nebraska's Austin Allen takes the field with fellow Huskers prior to kickoff against Northwestern.
Nebraska's head coach Scott Frost burries his face in his hands after visiting an injured Luke Gifford during the fourth quarter against Northwestern.
Cheese head, Brett Peterson, of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and corn head Casey Conner, of Athens, Wisconsin, look on during the Wisconsin game.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez enters Ohio Stadium prior to the Ohio State game.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez (2) celebrates his touchdown with teammates Kurt Rafdal (82) and Brenden Jaimes (76) against Ohio State during the second quarter.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. (8) attempts to leap over Ohio State's Damon Arnette (3) during the first quarter.
Nebraska's head football coach Scott Frost exits the field after the 36-31 loss to Ohio State.
Nebraska's senior Jerald Foster (67) is embraced by head coach Scott Frost during a senior ceremony prior to the Michigan State game.
Nebraska's Jaevon McQuitty (4), Tanner Farmer (63) and Jordan Ober (84) participate in the tunnel walk before the game against Michigan State.
Nebraska's head coach Scott Frost hoists a football in the air after defeating Michigan State 9-6.
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost leads the Huskers on the field for the first time as coach before the Akron game that was rained out.
Christa Rahl cheers as she and the rest of the student section wait out the weather delay against Akron.
Morgan Peatrowsky of West Point, Nebraska, stands in the rain as the crowd is cleared from the bleachers because of lightning before the Akron game that was rained out.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. falls into the fans seating while going for a fourth quarter pass against Colorado.
Nebraska's Dicaprio Bootle breaks up a pass intended for Colorado's K.D. Nixon in the third quarter.
Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander runs the stairs at Michigan Stadium before the start of the game.
Husker fans Ian Froemming, center, and Chris Miller, right, both of Omaha, aren't impressed as Michigan scores a first quarter touchdown.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez is sacked by Michigan defenders Devin Bush (10), Michael Dwumfour (50) and Devin Gil (36) in the second quarter.
Purdue's Kenneth Major breaks up a fourth quarter pass intended for Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr.
Fans walk around campus before the start of the Nebraska and Minnesota.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez throws a pass in the second quarter against Minnesota.
Red balloons fill the sky as Nebraska scores on it's first drive against Minnesota.
Nebraska's Aaron Williams celebrates making a 4th down stop in the second quarter against Minnesota.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. pokes Nebraska head coach Scott Frost while he is being interviewed after the Minnesota game.
Nebraska's JD Spielman walks into the end zone for a second quarter touchdown against Minnesota.
Nebraska's Noah Vedral throws a pass in the third quarter against Bethune-Cookman.
Nebraska Head Coach Scott Frost waves to the crowd as he leaves the field after defeating Bethune-Cookman 45-9.
Nebraska's Noah Vedral sits in the end zone after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Bethune-Cookman.
Bethune-Cookman's David Israel throws a pass in the third quarter against Nebraska.
Nebraska's Noah Vedral dives for a touchdown against Bethune-Cookman.
Nebraska's Devine Ozigbo runs against Bethune-Cookman.
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost congratulates Mick Stoltenberg on his pass interception late in the fourth quarter against Illinois.
Nebraska's Devine Ozigbo runs for a fourth quarter touchdown as Illinois' Jartavius Martin chases him.
A stiff wind blows the beard of Lyle Bridgmon, of Falls City, Nebraska around, as he waits for the start of the Nebraska and Michigan State game outside of Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska's Devine Ozigbo gets tackled by Michigan State's Andrew Dowell, No.5, and Kenny Willekes, No. 48, on the first drive of the game.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. reaches for a punt midway through the third quarter against Michigan State.
Nebraska's Matt Jarzynka hugs his mother Susan, as she and his father Mike Jarzynka participate in senior day ceremonies.
Nebraska's Jerald Foster lifts up place kicker Barret Pickering after a field goal against Michigan State.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. catches a pass against Michigan State at the 12-minute mark in the fourth quarter.
Nebraska's Barret Pickering, center, celebrates hitting a fourth quarter field goal with teammates Tanner Farmer, left, and Kurt Rafdal, right.
Nebraska's Dicaprio Bootle, left, and Cam Taylor celebrates beating Michigan State 9-6.
Antonio Reed, right, forces Michigan State's Rocky Lombardi to fumble the ball in the fourth quarter.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez scores a fourth quarter touchdown against Iowa.
Iowa's Jake Gervase can't stop Nebraska's Jack Stoll from scoring a first quarter touchdown.
Nebraska's Devine Ozigbo celebrates a first quarter touchdown against Minnesota.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr gives a peace symbol after scoring a touchdown against Illinois.
Nebraska's Adrian Martinez jumps in the air after a win over Michigan State.
Nebraska's Maurice Washington is lifted into the air after scoring a touchdown against Iowa.
The golden feathers atop the Minnesota band hats glow before the game against Nebraska.