Nebraska Football: Evaluating the Cornhuskers' Star Quarterback Taylor Martinez

Billy GeorgeCorrespondent IIOctober 4, 2012

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 29: Quarterback Taylor Martinez #3 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers throws the ball down field against the Wisconsin Badgers during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 29, 2012 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska won 30-27. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Eric Francis/Getty Images

If there's one guy in the B1G who has stepped up his game this season, it's Nebraska's QB Taylor Martinez.

He has been playing at a totally different level than ever before through the first five games this season. In the off-season, the Nebraska coaching staff did a heck of a job helping Martinez perfect his delivery, follow through and release in the passing game, and it has paid off tremendously.

Martinez no longer looks as if he's playing shot put, and fans are no longer in fear of him dislocating his shoulder while throwing the football.

The following video demonstrates his goofy throwing motion before it was corrected:

Notice how his elbow is down next to his rib cage, preventing him from getting leverage on his throws, and leading to a much less productive passing game. Another thing to note is his footwork. Look at how his feet are parallel to each other as well as to the line of scrimmage. In that stance, he had less force behind his throws, as he couldn't effectively step into his passes.

All that has changed.

As a result of Martinez's improved stature and quick release, his completion percentage and QB rating have drastically improved, he is averaging more yards per pass and more yards per game than he has in his entire career and the Nebraska offense is looking very sharp.

Here are some cold hard facts about Taylor Martinez, however.

While he has been very efficient in completing 67.8 percent of his passes this year, the junior out of Corona, Calif. has only completed 56.7 percent of his passes (going 34 of 60) versus AP-ranked teams (UCLA and Wisconsin). This is one trend that he hasn't quite improved on yet, as he has always been less productive against ranked teams.

Luckily for Martinez, he has a talented group of running backs around him as well as an improving offensive line. In fact, the Cornhuskers are fourth in the country when it comes to rushing the football, with 1,529 yards on the ground. More impressively, five of Nebraska's leading rushers average at least 6 yards per carry.

Perhaps that's Martinez's recipe for success?

In conclusion, this upcoming game against Ohio State in Columbus will measure just how good of a quarterback Martinez is. As of now, he is playing better than just about every quarterback in the B1G, despite his inconsistencies against the tougher opponents.