Nebraska Cornhuskers: 10 Reasons They Won't Cry If Taylor Martinez Transfers
OK, so the headline probably made you do a double take, but I'm serious.
If Taylor Martinez were to transfer at season's end, as has been speculated ever since a much-publicized on-field argument with Bo Pelini, the Huskers would not miss him as much as the college football world thinks.
Now, I'm not saying Martinez will leave Nebraska. In fact, I doubt he will. But if he does, the Huskers will do just fine without him.
10. Jamal Turner
Turner is a dual-threat quarterback who is the most likely quarterback in the Huskers' 2011 class to actually be a Husker.
He is obviously not a guaranteed star, but if the Huskers are interested in another Martinez, Turner could more than likely play that role. He is known more for his legs than his arm and excels in the zone-read offense.
If anything, Turner may even have a little more upside as a dual threat than Martinez does.
9. Martinez Can't Run Against Good Defenses
Many people attributed Martinez's declining rushing numbers to injury.
I didn't see it that way.
What I saw was Martinez struggling against any decent defense he faced.
The first test was Texas, where he managed just 1.6 yards a carry on 13 attempts. Then Missouri, 1.3 yards a carry on 12 attempts. Texas A&M, 1.5 yards a carry on 11 attempts. Then the worst of them all was negative-2.3 yards a carry on 14 attempts against Oklahoma.
That won't work in the Big Ten.
8. Rex Burkhead
Just a warning: I'm only being half serious with this one.
But really, I think I saw Burkhead throw some better passes than any of the quarterbacks made all season long.
Additionally, our running attack was much more effective when Burkhead was under center rather than Martinez.
Not that they would ever consider Burkhead at quarterback, but I hope there are more Wildcat packages in 2011.
7. The Drama
Martinez isn't necessarily to blame for all the drama that surrounded him, but he definitely deserves some culpability.
His attitude, and a reportedly over-involved father, helped fuel rampant reports throughout the season about Martinez quitting and transferring.
Husker fans don't need to be jolted around for another season.
Any big hit this season seemed likely to knock Martinez out of a game.
He certainly was no Brook Berringer playing with a collapsed lung.
Bruises and bumps were more than enough to keep Martinez out of a game.
Whether it was because he simply isn't big enough to handle the punishment or doesn't have the desire to play through minor injuries, Martinez didn't seem like a competitor when he missed playing time in big games due to bruises and sprains.
5. Denard Robinson
Remember when Robinson and Martinez were supposedly competing against one another for the Heisman?
Martinez dropped off when he played Texas, while Robinson dropped off when he began Big Ten play.
This should be a warning sign to the Huskers.
Robinson and Martinez are very similar players, and like Robinson, Martinez will struggle in the Big Ten.
If anything, Robinson is probably better than Martinez, and if he can't do well in the Big Ten, what does that say for Martinez?
4. Martinez's Decision-Making Skills
OK, so the kid was a freshman, and it may sound rash to say he doesn't learn. However, over the course of the season, his decisions seemingly got worse, not better.
When Martinez would feel hands on him, he would still attempt to throw the ball, leading to numerous unnecessary turnovers.
Other times he would exhaust his options at receivers and instead of throwing the ball away would take a sack. One of these crucial moments was on the Huskers' second-to-last drive against the Oklahoma Sooners in the Big 12 Championship Game.
3. Not a True Dual Threat
I don't know how much we can blame Martinez for his inability to be an elite passer considering the Huskers' receiving corps, but teams certainly weren't afraid to let him pass.
In fact, the Huskers' struggles came when teams dared them to pass and played against the run.
What happened in those situations? The Huskers offense would stall.
For Martinez to be able to run, he first has to establish his passing game. In 2010 he was rarely able to do that, and that doesn't bode well for 2011.
2. Doesn't Execute the Zone Read Well
The Huskers' great running numbers hid something from their fans: Martinez wasn't great at the zone read.
Sure, he was better than Zac Lee at it. A heck of a lot better.
But there were still plenty of occasions where Martinez made the wrong decision—more often than not when he chose to hold on to to the ball rather than hand it off.
Martinez at times seemed a bit selfish when he would opt to hold on to a ball and charge into a defensive line rather than hand it to a running back who seemingly had an open lane.
1. Failure to Perform in Big Games
Martinez struggled insanely in the Huskers' big games this season.
You have already seen his running stats against Texas, Missouri, Texas A&M and Oklahoma.
In his bowl game, he was equally as bad, averaging just 1.6 yards a carry on 14 attempts.
Against Texas, he completed just four passes, after completing six against Missouri, 11 against Texas A&M, 12 against Oklahoma and seven against Washington in the Holiday Bowl.
Only in the game against Missouri did he throw for more touchdowns than interceptions.
The only big game he stepped up in was his five-touchdown performance against Oklahoma State, but the bad definitely outweighs the good here.