Nebraska Football 2012: Why Taylor Martinez Experiment Needs to End
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I know, today is National Signing Day, and focus should be firmly fixed on the incoming class of athletes who will call Lincoln home. But with the signing of Tommy Armstrong, the extremely talented QB out of Texas, I offer a very poignant opinion:
The Taylor Martinez experiment needs to end. Bo Pelini needs to move the kid to WR or safety, or anywhere else where passing isn't a necessary skill.
Remember when "T-Magic" took the world by storm in 2010? Remember when College Gameday wouldn't be complete without some mention of the blazing-fast freshman QB? Remember the absolutely punishing performances against the likes of Western Kentucky, Idaho and Washington?
On that same note, remember the duds against Texas, Texas A&M and Washington, part II?
No other major college football team can lay claim to what Big Red has, a non-QB trying his hardest to play QB while looking nothing like a QB. Michigan's Denard Robinson used to be Martinez's closest comparison, but last season showed us that while Robinson has improved the mechanics and fundamentals of his passing game, Martinez is still woefully awkward.
True, Martinez has improved his decision making and game management skills. And these are very vital to the QB position. But, instead of drastic improvement as a player, we saw drastic improvement as a manager. I heard way too often, "You know, he is throwing less interceptions, and he is learning when to slide."
Hardly earth-shattering stuff.
Enter Tommy Armstrong. I know it is dangerous to put your faith in an incoming freshman, but the kid looks like the real deal from recruiting videos and already possesses a better throwing motion that Martinez.
Who should be NU's starting QB in 2012?
He may not be as fast as T-Magic, but when you look at the QB position holistically, Armstrong looks like the greater sum of all the needed parts.
Armstrong isn't going to start for Nebraska next season, and he may even redshirt, but it would behoove the coaching staff to take a serious look at this youngster from Texas.
Rex Burkhead leaves Lincoln after next season, and the passing game is going to have to step up so the talented bevy of young running backs behind him can smooth the transition.
Unfortunately, Pelini and Co. have left little room for anyone but Martinez as the main signal-caller. Backup Brion Carnes literally took only a few snaps last season, which means the next couple of seasons will hang perilously at the precipice of Martinez's health. If he goes down, the next option is a guy who has completed two passes.
The reason for the lack of playing time for Carnes is that the Husker coaching staff knows that Taylor Martinez is a project. Practice isn't enough. He needs to continue with as many reps as possible in game situations.
Because of this, Nebraska appears ready to carry Martinez as its starting QB for the next two seasons. Of course, because he has been the single biggest project on the team.
But the experiment needs to end. Bo needs to cut the cord, take his losses and at least open up competition for the position, and this includes talented incoming freshmen.
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