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If Rex Burkhead is the reliable (i.e. workman like) part of the equation, Taylor Martinez is the unreliable (but periodically spectacular) offensive weapon. Martinez has spent his first two years on campus trying continually to find any rhythm in the passing game.
Martinez is the perfect counterpoint for Burkhead. While Rex is a powerful between the tackles runner, Martinez is better in the open field—he would rather run past you than run over you. This has been a boon to the Nebraska read option run game and kept the Husker rushing attack at 15th in the nation.
However, it is the 104th-ranked pass offense from 2011 that is the problem. Martinez struggles with accuracy (completing just 55 percent of his passes a year ago) while also having a tendency to make bad decisions.
When Martinez is on target in the passing game, it opens things up for the running offense and the Huskers can score points in bunches. When Martinez struggles throwing the ball, the offense becomes bogged down and predictable and mistakes happen.
Take for example the game against Wisconsin last year. For most of the first half, Martinez was throwing the ball well and Nebraska was able to keep pace with the Badgers. However, back-to-back bad throws led to two interceptions and completely swung the game in Wisconsin's favor.
The good news is that Martinez is now entering year two in Tim Beck's offense and will have continuity for the first time since he was a freshman. Furthermore, he has the offensive weapons around him to take pressure off. If Martinez can show the maturity of a red-shirt junior on the field, the Nebraska offense could skyrocket, as could his production.