Monday, October 07, 2013

McKewon Says Martinez is a "November QB"; Armstrong isn't yet.

In his weekly rewind of the previous Saturday's game, Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald look a closer, critical look at Tommy Armstrong's performance against Illinois.
There's so much to like — the shake-bake, the willingness to hold himself in the pocket and dare the defense to flush him out, the “court sense” on option plays — and not much to fret over. But Beck's done a good job of protecting Armstrong and putting the load on Abdullah and the offensive line.
Pretty good for a redshirt freshman...and good enough against Illinois. Certainly good enough against a struggling Purdue team. And probably Minnesota as well. But beyond?
But Armstrong would have to make a decent leap in the rest of October to be a full-on November quarterback who can beat three of the Big Ten's five best defenses. Don't kid yourself: As rickety as this Husker thing has looked in 2013, coach Bo Pelini has designs on winning them all. Twelve passes won't beat Michigan. Won't beat Michigan State.
 And Taylor Martinez, for all the arrows thrown at him, made “the leap,” at the very latest, last year, when he beat those defenses, often with second-half comebacks.

David McGee / CornNation
Husker fans should be excited for the future with Armstrong, or perhaps Johnny Stanton at quarterback. Next year. For 2013, though, Nebraska's best quarterback is still clearly Taylor Martinez, when he's healthy.  Will he be healthy by Minnesota?  That's a good question. Some wonder if a turf toe injury can be healed sufficiently at all this season.

McKewon points out that Beck's game plan set up Armstrong perfectly for success on Saturday. With Martinez, the offense does much, much more, and that's why Martinez is still the best quarterback for Nebraska.
Beck designed a game plan in Nebraska's 39-19 victory against Illinois that gave quarterback Tommy Armstrong easy throws from start to finish. Most of them off play-action. All of them provided Armstrong — who usually threw on his toes without following through with his lead foot — an open option down the middle or to his strong, right side.
The push by some to create a quarterback controversy is purely a result of "Martinez fatigue".  Let's be honest... some people simply don't like Martinez.  He's not a perfect quarterback by any means, but some people simply aren't willing to look past his past faults, especially the ones from his freshman and sophomore seasons.  Not all of them have been fixed, but not all of them still apply either.  And it's clear that some people simply have an agenda against Martinez. And so are their friends...
Bottom line is that the only question that can honestly asked about Nebraska's quarterback situation revolve around Martinez's toe. Everything else is pretty much revisionist thinking, tailored to your personal biases.  Armstrong didn't have the best day throwing the ball against Illinois, and Bo Pelini pointed out today that if it wasn't for Kenny Bell's incredible catch of the year, that pass was probably going to be an interception.
I'm not down on Armstrong. I just want to keep the hype in check. Same way I held back on Martinez and the Heisman hype in 2010.  Armstrong is doing OK as the backup, but when Martinez is ready to return, it's clearly Martinez's job.

Anybody who says different is simply letting their personal biases cloud reality.

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