Life after Taylor Martinez began earlier than expected and the results weren't all that great. However, the future could and needs to rest on the feet and arm of one player: redshirt freshman Johnny Stanton.
Before thinking I'm crazy, let's remember that Nebraska has a way with making mythical legends out of quarterbacks—and doing so at a very quick rate.
Just ask Tommy Frazier, who came in with a lot of hype and was thrust into a starting role early. Ask the recently departed Martinez, who experienced the exact same thing with some pretty exciting results until the very end.
The question entering this spring is, who will be the Huskers' signal-caller in 2014? Will it be Tommy Armstrong Jr., who saw extensive action as a redshirt freshman in place of the injured Martinez, or will it be the much-hyped Stanton?
If Nebraska wants to be dynamic on offense, it will go with Stanton, who happens to be the latest quarterback to experience the hype machine of Huskers nation.
Yes, in some Husker circles, he has been built up to mythical proportions. However, there's a reason for it.
Stanton has the pedigree to be a star, being an Elite 11 finalist—something names like Matt Leinart, Tim Tebow, Vince Young, Andrew Luck and Jameis Winston all claim as well. That's not bad company to keep in the world of college football.
Not only does the game Stanton likes to play scream "star" at Nebraska, the numbers Armstrong put up in 2013 don't inspire a lot of confidence.
|Tommy Armstrong 2013 Stats|
|Completion Pct.||Yards||Touchdowns||Interceptions||Rushing Yards|
Stanton has a chance to be what Armstrong isn't—a scary enough running option that makes teams not gang up on star running back Ameer Abdullah, while also possessing the arm to scare opponents in the passing game.
Armstrong did neither in 2013 according to the stats, but a look inside them also shows that there wasn't a lot of improvement over his time behind center from week to week.
|Tommy Armstrong Passing Stats (Game by Game)|
|Game||Completion Pct.||Passing Yards||Touchdowns||Interceptions|
|South Dakota State||80||169||1||0|
The numbers don't show a lot of improvement, but they do show a quarterback who was wildly inconsistent all season long. Yes, Armstrong has experience on his side, but what good is experience if it provides mediocre results?
About the only confidence-inspiring thing Armstrong did in 2013 was the game-winning drive against Michigan.
However, there were multiple bad decisions made and frankly a lack of confidence-inspiring moments overall.
What does Nebraska exactly have to lose by going with Stanton? Its defense is a year older, and given how it finished the 2013 season, it should be just fine. Why not hand the reins of the offense over to someone who can be a long-term fixture right away?
Stanton is the true definition of a dual-threat quarterback, possessing the better arm and more impressive running ability of the two quarterbacks fighting for the starting job.
If there's going to be inconsistency from a quarterback in 2014, why not let it be from the one that has the more diverse and dynamic skill set?
For Nebraska to be at its most competitive, Johnny Stanton needs to be the answer at quarterback in 2014.
Andy Coppens is Bleacher Report's lead writer for Big Ten football. You can follow him on Twitter @ andycoppens.