Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez, sometimes referred to as “T-Mart” or “T-Magic” has a tendency to polarize Husker fans with his play. There are some fans who only know the guy thrust into the Heisman race after setting a NU QB record for rushing yards (241) versus Kansas State, the frosh record for passing yards in a game, and becoming the only Husker signal caller to throw for 300 and run for 100 in the same game.
Other fans only know the kid who played awful versus Texas, and saw his yards-per-carry average dip post-injury from 8.7 in the first seven games, to 1.5 in the final seven. Knowledgeable college football fans know that he’s somewhere in the middle, a hybrid of the two dualities.
“I think he’s always been a confident kid, he wasn’t a healthy kid at the end of last year,” NU Head Coach Bo Pelini told journalists at Big Ten media day.
“We have confidence in what he can do. He played through some injuries, he wasn’t at a 100%, but Taylor never claimed to be the finished product. It was his first year as a starter, and he understands that as talented as he is, he’s got a lot to learn. And he took the attitude in the off-season that I’m going to make myself better,” he continued.
Martinez was uptight and reserved as a freshman, but he also spent some time playing receiver, and his knowledge of that position no doubt helps his mastery of the system. He needs to grow, mature, and feel more at ease in the QB1 role. This will help him develop into the more vocal leader the Huskers need.
There’s been questions about about his relationship with Pelini, and rumors of his transfer. And it’s pretty easy to suggest where those rumors began: Pelini getting in his face on national television during the Texas A&M game. His physical health is also an issue because he wasn’t the same after hurting the ankle in the Missouri game.
“I think he’s becoming a tremendous leader on our football team, holding his teammates accountable, holding himself accountable. I think he’s poised to have a great year. We feel great where we are at the quarterback position. We have a young man who stepped out in the spring as a backup in Brion Carnes,” Pelini said on dais at media days.
It will be interesting to see what happens with super-prospect Bubba Starling. By August 16th, the 5th pick in the Major League Baseball draft will have to decide between utilizing his 4.36 speed in the Huskers offense or taking his $7-$9 million to sign on with the Kansas City Royals organization.
If he comes to Lincoln, the QB depth chart becomes a lot more intriguing, and camps will form amidst the fan base.
Martinez is fast, quick; and about as dual threat as they come. Pelini has been singing his praises quite a bit this off-season.
“He can do really everything you ask a quarterback to do. He has good arm talent. He can throw the ball outside. He has a long way to go in his decision making, just his knowledge of the game overall. With more experience, he’s going to continue to get better. It was interesting because last year he had such tremendous success early on that everybody wanted to jump ahead. The pressure went up in a hurry. People were talking Heisman candidate, all those things. He was two, three games into his career, which was crazy. Then he got hurt later on in the year. But the young man is committed.”
Just got to let him develop. That’s where we are right now. He is a much more prepared quarterback right now than he was a year from now.”
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports
He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. You can follow him on TwitterPowered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks