Nebraska football will enjoy a rare treat in 2013: a four-year starter at quarterback. In a program built on developing talent and not headlining recruits, this is a truly unique circumstance.
Taylor Martinez has been through a lot as the Huskers’ signal-caller. From his coming-out party against Washington his freshman year, to his standout performance at Kansas State, to his forgettable night in Madison that unfurled a media firestorm directed at the young quarterback, Martinez has seen a lot.
But as seasoned of a veteran as he is, the finale of his Husker career will not be without its own challenges.
Despite the substantial improvement Martinez has made in many aspects of his game, there remain three issues that could easily rear their heads his senior season. The likelihood of these recurring problems to impact his 2013 campaign makes them the biggest pitfalls he must avoid.
Taylor Martinez has not shied away from the limelight since arriving in Lincoln. Partly through his own doing and partly thanks to others, Martinez has found himself entrenched in drama time and time again.
First, there was the supposed texting in the locker room at Texas A&M and the rumored departure from the team that followed.
Then, there came the NCAA inquiry into his father’s business relationship with the university.
How about the tiff between he and numerous media outlets that largely blamed the 2011 Wisconsin loss solely on him?
And this is not to mention his incessant and publicly announced goals such as a 70 percent season completion rate and a national championship (optimism and ambition I personally love to see from a quarterback).
However, none of this drama has been helpful, and much of it has hurt the Big Red. The Nebraska football team is at its best when its personality reflects the state it represents. Martinez would do well to leave his diva past behind him and stay outside the spotlight like he did for much of 2012.
Taylor Martinez’s throwing motion is one of the most painful visuals in all of college football. A close second, though, goes to the image of Martinez taking a hit from a rushing defender.
Never to be mistaken for Tommie Frazier, Martinez certainly does not have the frame to be challenging linebackers in the open field. But even so, the way he frequently hits the turf makes one think there will be only pieces left of him once the play ends.
After playing much of his freshman and sophomore years with nagging injuries, these hits become even scarier for fans to see. Even though the spring game showed that Nebraska’s offense could most likely endure the loss of Martinez, it is undoubtedly more dangerous with him under center. Much more dangerous.
This is the no-brainer biggest pitfall Taylor Martinez must avoid in 2013. And the reason is simple: Turnovers have plagued him his entire career at Nebraska.
Since he was a freshman, Martinez has been a headache for Husker fans. One minute, he seems to be the next great quarterback in the program’s history. His runs against UCLA and Wisconsin in 2012 come to mind.
The next minute, though, he turns the ball over at the most crucial time, like his red-zone interception against Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Martinez has the speed, the experience and the throwing accuracy necessary to become an elite quarterback within Nebraska’s system. He just needs to continue the strides he made last year to improve his ball security.