Nebraska Football: Five burning questions heading into the offseason
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Five burning questions heading into the offseason

Here are five of the most pressing questions facing Nebraska as it enters a critical offseason for head coach Scott Frost...

Quarterback Adrian Martinez's looming decision on whether to return in 2022 will be a major domino for Nebraska's offseason.
Quarterback Adrian Martinez's looming decision on whether to return in 2022 will be a major domino for Nebraska's offseason. (USA Today)

1. How will Frost assemble his staff?

With the 2021 season now officially in the books, Frost can focus his full attention on filling the four assistant coach openings on his staff for '22.

Frost said from the beginning that he chose to fire four members of his staff who had been with him since his days at UCF before the season ended as a way to get a jump on finding the best available candidates.

He also said he did it because he knew NU had a short window to complete its staff and hit the ground running into the offseason.

It will start with the offensive coordinator position, which Frost said would likely dictate to some degree how the other three spots are filled.

Depending on who Frost is eying for that title, the first domino could fall as soon as this week. It also could go as long as into the College Football Playoff in January before the entire coaching staff is set.

2. Will Adrian Martinez return?

Nebraska still has a handful of players weighing their options on whether return for an additional year of eligibility due to COVID-19 or to take the next steps in their careers.

No Huskers' decision will have a more significant impact on how the Huskers approach this offseason than quarterback Adrian Martinez.

Injuries have disrupted Martinez's NU career in each of the past four seasons, but he's still managed to etch his name all over the school record book as one of the most productive QBs in program history.

Frost has said that he would welcome Martinez back for a fifth season with open arms but added that he would support the fourth-year junior in whatever choice he made.

How much will the eventual new offensive coordinator impact Martinez's situation? Will the OC want to bring in his own guy to run the offense?

Also, Martinez just underwent surgery for a torn labrum in his right throwing shoulder for the second time. How much will that impact his performance in the future?

3. Will Nebraska hire a full-time special teams coordinator?

Nebraska's special teams have been awful every year under Frost, and this season was the worst they have been yet.

The list of times the third element cost the Huskers victories in 2021 goes on and on, as there were failures in all aspects of the kicking, punting, coverage, and return units.

Frost said earlier this year that he was actually happy with the play of NU's special teams overall and that the main problems were with the specialists.

True or not, something has to change in that area for Nebraska to ever be competitive in the Big Ten Conference.

Every other school in the league employs a full-time special teams coordinator. The Huskers have an opportunity to join the club this offseason. Will Frost finally do it?

4. How hard will NU hit the transfer portal?

Martinez will directly impact how Nebraska addresses its quarterback situation going into 2022, but you can still expect Frost to be active as ever in the transfer portal this offseason.

A few other looming decisions will also have a say in what positions become portal priorities. Defensive linemen Damion Daniels and Deontre Thomas, and maybe center Cam Jurgens (NFL?) are a few of the most important.

With a smaller class than usual for '22, the Huskers planned to take around 13 high school recruits and fill out the remaining spots with 5-to-7 transfers.

However, that number out of the portal could be larger depending on how NU closes before the Dec 15 early signing day and how much attrition occurs with its current roster.

5. What does Alberts expect from Frost in 2022?

New athletic director Trev Alberts made his first significant decision earlier this month when he announced Frost would return as head coach in 2022 after four straight losing seasons.

The move was influenced by Frost agreeing to restructure his contract and take a $1 million pay cut from $5 million to $4 million in '22 while also lowering his buyout from $15 million to $7.5 million.

Nebraska revealed the financial details of the agreement immediately. But there were some major unknowns about what needed to happen on the field for Frost to return in 2023.

The restructured contract states that Frost has a chance to push his annual salary back to $5 million and even earn a one-year extension.

For that to happen, though, it would be "in the event Coach Frost performs as head coach for the program for the 2022 season and the program achieves metrics mutually agreed to by the parties."

So what are the mutually agreed-upon metrics?

Is there a pre-determined win total that Nebraska needs to hit? Are there specific teams the Huskers must beat to show tangible progress?

Or are those metrics more subjective and based on whether Alberts still feels the program is heading in the right direction?