Johnny Rodgers said he thinks Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez has the potential to join him someday as a Heisman Trophy winner.

But not without more help than he’s getting this year, Rodgers said.

“I think Martinez is a great athlete,” Rodgers said Thursday at the Omaha World-Herald & Hy-Vee Big Red Today Breakfast. “We’ve just got to get guys upfront who are going to give him the time to do what he needs to do.”

Nebraska lacks depth across the board, said Rodgers, who noted that former teammates John Dutton and Monte Johnson, who went on to long NFL careers, were backups on the Huskers’ 1971 national champions.

“You have to have that kind of depth — when you bring your first team out and your second team in, you don’t notice a difference,” Rodgers said. “You leave guys in there too long, you’ll get a drop-off.”

That’s what happened in the loss to Colorado.

“They wore us down,” Rodgers said. “It was very obvious. It was not just altitude.”

Rodgers said he thinks a bowl trip is a worthy goal for this year’s team, which hosts Northwestern at 3 p.m. Saturday.

But he’s not writing off the possibility of a Big Ten West title.

“Wisconsin is pretty darn good,” he said. “With Iowa, it depends on who shows up that day.”

Get a daily Husker news roundup, recruiting updates and breaking news in your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Recommended for you

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.