Nebraska Football: What Taylor Martinez Must Do to Win over His Doubters

Patrick Runge@@patrickrungeCorrespondent IJune 15, 2012

Nebraska Football: What Taylor Martinez Must Do to Win over His Doubters

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    Taylor Martinez has never been a beloved figure amongst Nebraska fans. Ever since his injury midway through his freshman campaign, and then the ugly scenes in College Station and internet rumors of his transfer, Nebraska fans have laid the blame for much of NU’s struggles at Martinez’s feet.

    Some of that blame is, of course, justified. But in all likelihood, Martinez will be Nebraska’s starting quarterback for the next two years. So what must he do to win over the Children of the Corn?

Complete More Passes

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    Taylor Martinez has a career completion percentage of 57.4 percent, which is simply not good enough to make Nebraska’s passing offense a credible threat. Much ink has been spilled in the offseason about how Martinez has been working on his mechanics to increase his completion percentage. If he is successful, and can more effectively move the chains through the air and keep Nebraska’s offense on the field, he will gain a lot more fans.

Turn the Ball Over Less

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    Texas. Texas A&M. Oklahoma. Wisconsin. Michigan. In each of those game, Taylor Martinez was responsible for a critical turnover or two (or three) that cost Nebraska critical momentum and, ultimately, the game. If there’s one thing that will infuriate a fanbase more than anything, it’s turnovers, particularly in critical games and at critical moments. The fewer turnovers Martinez is responsible for, the more likely it is that his detractors will quiet down.

Find His Freshman Form

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    Taylor Martinez wasn’t always a subject of derision from Nebraska fans. At the beginning of 2010, Martinez was setting records with his feet, and putting himself in the Heisman Trophy discussion. But then Martinez hurt his ankle against Missouri, and his running threat was gone for the year. In 2011, his rushing average dropped from 6.0 yards per carry to 4.6, and Martinez became far less of an explosive threat.

    If Martinez is able to rediscover his form from the start of his career, he will bring a lot of smiles to Nebraska fans.

Be Frendlier

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    The press conference hasn’t always been the avenue for Taylor Martinez to shine. In his freshman year, he rarely spoke to the media, leaving his teammates on the hook to answer questions about Martinez’s performance after a loss. In 2011, he spoke more, but still came off to many fans as having a cocky demeanor. Perception is reality for many fans, and if Martinez can figure out a way to come off a little better with the fans (getting some lessons from Rex Burkhead would help in that department), it would go a long way toward convincing some of his doubters.

Win

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    Tommie Frazier was never the most pleasant person to interview, and was not well liked by all of his teammates. Like Taylor Martinez, he was brash and cocky and had little tolerance for what he saw as distractions from the fans.

    But Frazier won. A lot. And he is a beloved figure in the minds of Nebraska fans. If Martinez wins, everything else goes away and he will be embraced by the Children of the Corn.

    If you would like to contact me directly to schedule an interview, ask a question or to get my recipe for a killer peach cobbler, you can send an e-mail to patrickrunge@gmail.com. (DISCLAIMER: Peach cobbler recipe might not be all that killer.)

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