Nebraska Huskers: Backup Quarterbacks Have Yet to See the Field in 2012

J.P. Scott@TheJPScottSenior Analyst ISeptember 14, 2012

January 02, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Ron Kellogg III (12) prior to the 2012 Capital One Bowl against the South Carolina Gamecocks at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

The early-season non-conference schedule for most big-time programs usually gives coaches the opportunity to get some big leads and get some of the younger players valuable playing time.

Through two games, that has not been the case for any Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback not named Taylor Martinez.

The UCLA game was a dog fight, so understandably they wouldn't pull their starter. The Southern Miss game, however, was well in hand at the completion of the third quarter, and yet we never got to see Tommy Armstrong, Ron Kellogg or Brion Carnes try their hand at Tim Beck's offense.

Outside of a couple of plays last season, the 2011 spring game and high school highlight videos on YouTube, we really haven't seen any of the three quarterbacks behind Martinez on the depth chart in live action.

The next two games against Arkansas State and Idaho State present the perfect opportunity for one or more of the three to see significant snaps. The Huskers will be favored heavily in both games and by all accounts should have those games wrapped up by the start of the fourth quarter, if not by halftime.

This is not just a case of catering to fan anxiety and curiosity. This is an absolute necessity with regard to the success of the team going forward.

When Rex Burkhead went down against Southern Miss, a whole stable of backs stepped up in his place to show that Nebraska was going to be solid at the position with or without him. Many of us knew this ahead of time, as 2011 provided us with several flashes of brilliance from Ameer Abdullah.

What about when Taylor Martinez goes down?  Who of the backup quarterbacks can step into the huddle and run Beck's offense under live fire without skipping a beat?

The truth is, we just don't know. We don't know because the Nebraska staff has not made a concerted effort to get the other quarterbacks playing time.

This must change in the next two weeks. If ever there were two games where the team needs to empty its bench and get its guys some serious experience, these are those games.

To not do so tells me Bo Pelini and the Nebraska coaching staff are far more concerned with padding Martinez's numbers than they are with dealing with life after him.

The proof will be in the pudding should Nebraska jump out to early leads in either game. If that happens, the amount of snaps Martinez takes will be a direct reflection of the thought process of the Husker staff.