K-State football players finally learn what it’s like to catch a pass from Adrian Martinez

When Adrian Martinez moved away from Nebraska, his throwing arm was in a sling. When the senior quarterback enlisted at Kansas State a few weeks later, he was unable to grab a football as his body continued to heal after shoulder surgery. And when the Wildcats held their first spring training session, he was little more than a spectator.
Even when participating in practice, Martinez was limited to passing the ball to a running back or pitching the ball to a teammate... with his left hand.
The chances that he'd pass someone in a K-State uniform before summer training seemed far-fetched. But he managed to beat the odds. When his rehab process was deemed premature, he was cleared to start throwing at the bitter end of spring training in April.
Finally, the K-State receivers learned what it felt like to catch a pass from the team's putative starting quarterback. It was a moment senior Phillip Brooks won't soon forget.
"He can throw," Brooks said Tuesday during a catbacker event in Salina. "It was at the end of the Spring Ball that I caught my first pass from him. I ran an out route and when I spun the ball was right there. I was like, 'Ohhhhhhhh!' It was exciting. Then I got a post from him. He did plays.”
Brooks and the rest of K-State's receiving corps spent the majority of spring practice working with returning quarterbacks Will Howard, Jake Rubley and Jaren Lewis. But they spent enough time with Martinez to notice a few things.
"He's got a strong arm," Brooks said. "I can tell you that."
Those words come as welcome news for any K-State football fan who may have worried about Martinez as he raced against the clock to recover from a nasty injury he sustained to his right shoulder when he played for the Cornhuskers.
He's more or less on the same rehab schedule that Skylar Thompson followed last year when Thompson was recovering from a similar injury. Thompson had limited practice in the spring and led the Wildcats to eight wins in the fall.
Speaking to the media recently, K-State coach Chris Klieman said Martinez was cleared to throw alone under the supervision of medical staff. Klieman figured it would be a while before Martinez was ready to aim at moving targets.
Perhaps Martinez is already healthy enough to lead Collin Klein's redesigned offense and build on the staggering stats (8,491 passing yards and 45 touchdowns, 2,301 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns) he's mustered during his four seasons in Nebraska.
"In the last few training sessions, he was able to take a few shots," said Klieman on Tuesday. "He's just getting his rhythm and timing and taking snaps and getting used to Coach Klein's offense."
That shouldn't take long for an experienced passer like Martinez.
He's already ahead of schedule.
"The captain's drills that the kids do over the summer are going to be really important," Klieman said. "Just to try to make up for all that K-State football time he missed in the spring. Adrian is a really good player and he played a lot of football. Now he just has to play in our system. He's done a really good job of learning what we're doing. Now he can use it on the field.”

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