Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So Did Taylor Martinez Continue to Regress?

Listening and reading comments from Husker fans in recent days, I detect a sense of fatalism with respect to the opinion of Taylor Martinez's future as a quarterback at Nebraska. Not all fans, mind you...but certainly a sizable group. It's not that they are making things up; Martinez didn't have a great performance in the spring game. But while I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt due to the circumstances, others aren't.

That's not to say that those observations are invalid. Did Martinez throw behind his receivers? Yep. Did Martinez not see a blitz coming?  Absolutely. But let's remember something else: Martinez is not an experienced quarterback in the traditional sense. He made the switch in high school, and what we saw on Saturday was Taylor Martinez being asked to do all the things he isn't so good at. His talent is taking off and running --- and he was asked not to do that. One time he did scramble for a nice gain, but most of the day, he threw the ball or handed off.  And the Martinez critics are right in one respect: if that's what Nebraska wants to do on offense, Taylor Martinez isn't the quarterback we want on the field. Of course, if what we saw on Saturday was Nebraska's offense, that's not something I think is going to be all that successful.

Frankly, I have to wonder if these are the same fans that tried to pump Martinez for Heisman consideration in September and October last season? Do some fans have a manic-depressive streak running through them? ("Martinez is great! Sucks! Great! Sucks! Tastes Great! Less Filling!)

One of the more absurd ideas I've heard promoted is that Pelini has a "blind spot" for Martinez's shortcomings. Really? Have we already forgotten Pelini's outburst in College Station last November? That frankly doesn't make any sense. Pelini wants to win too much for that.

What I do know is that Pelini does things his way, and no matter what we as fans think, he's going to do things his way. And he should; he's had the benefit of watching the other 14 practices this spring, and he knows more about the medical status of Martinez's ankle.

I also know this: Bo Pelini isn't going to tell us what he's going to do unless he wants to and until he's ready to. He didn't tell us about the changes on his coaching staff until he was done with everything. And if he's thinking about making a change at quarterback, he'll handle it his way.

I feel pretty confident that if Brion Carnes outplays Taylor Martinez this summer and fall, Carnes will be the starter when Chattanooga comes to Lincoln on Labor Day weekend. But just because Carnes appeared to outplay Martinez in an exhibition where they weren't running most of the offense doesn't mean that Carnes is the better quarterback at this point.

One thing I know about Pelini is that he wants competition, and nobody has a starting job sewn up at this point. Carnes could be the starter next September. Cody Green could turn things around and become the starter. Heck, Ron Kellogg III could be the starter.  And maybe, just maybe, Bubba Starling will turn down many gubily millions of baseball dollars and win the starting quarterback job in the fall.  Some of those ideas are unlikely, mind you. But nothing is assured either.


Brett said...

2 points. Bo has been Very clear that the Husker offense will not be shown until September. And, Bo isn't looking at the stats from the practice this weekend.
I think it will be a great QB race this fall, Tsometimes, BC and maybe that baseball player? but Bo showed last year that he is willing to put the best player on the field. Lets get that leg healed up and ready for the triple option practices this fall! er. whatever it is they want to run.

firepally14 said...

I think one has to start out by being rational. Nether Green or Taylor did not have a great day last Saturday. The other two qb did do well. Were they going against the same level of defense? No they were not. The offensive line was not a cohesive unit either but a mixture of players. This is what happens when you "draft" teams for each side instead of playing the number 1 offense against the number 1 defense. That would allow fans a better sense of the playing level. But that is not the purpose of the red/white game. They just want to look at all players. Taylor will be there in Sept. I believe if he is healthy we have a great chance to go undefeated. That said, I think we also have some very good back up quarterbacks for next season. Green needs to go to wide receiver and make points and go pro.

Us said...

I was following into that march against Taylor for awhile but I went back to Youtube and watched his highschool film. If we are going to run a fast Oregon style offense, I believe Taylor will excell. The guy had over 3000 yards passing yards his senior year in highschool. Last years offense was not built around his strengths and I think this year it will be. We also have recruited the speed in other positions to match. If you want to see what I believe the offense will look like this year (at least similar), watch his highschool Youtube clips. I am really excited for the offense this year. I think it is going to be a breakout year. GBR!!

Casey McCabe said...

I think people bought too easiily into the "Taylor can run, but not pass" meme. He was actually a surprisingly good passer in that remarkable first half of a season, and he was plagued all season by receivers dropping perfectly placed balls.

The problem is his confidence got shaken and he hasn't gotten it back. I don't think it's so much about the injury, either. He got the yips across the board, allowing sacks, afraid to run, not making the instinctive decisions.

It's his brain, not his ankle, and that could be good news or bad news, depending on which you think is easier to fix.

firepally14 said...

I also went and looked at the high school clips for Martinez. In the right system he will excel. Of course his high school receivers could actually catch the ball. Our receivers need to do better in that area.