Nebraska Football: The Tremendous Trio That the Huskers Must Play in 2011

Brandon CavanaughCorrespondent IFebruary 19, 2011

Another sold-out Memorial Stadium comes as close to quiet as 86,000-plus people can be as Nebraska’s quarterback takes his place under center.

The ball is snapped and tossed to the back, but wait! It’s a reverse!

After being cradled following another toss, the pigskin goes flying through the air with a spiral that would make the finest of Cornhusker quarterbacks proud.

Nebraska pulls off a SportsCenter-quality play to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes in their first home game as a member of the Big Ten.

The lives of Taylor Martinez, Jamal Turner and Bubba Starling will never be the same.

Several Nebraska fans remember a similar call when the Cornhuskers defeated then-No. 2 Oklahoma during the 2001 season. The play, known fondly as “Black 41 Flash Reverse Pass,” is required reading when it comes to Nebraska lore.

It may be time to tear a page out of the old playbook and dust it off.

As the Cornhuskers head into their first season of Big Ten conference play, they need every advantage available.

Three tremendous athletes are all due to be in Lincoln come the fall. Two already are, though the third's arrival is causing the most debate.

Each one needs to be on the field with high frequency come next season if the Cornhuskers want to be in the Big Ten Championship Game, let alone win.


Taylor Martinez

What a season “T-Magic” had in 2010.

First, he was hailed as the second coming of former Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch.

Insult would literally be added to injury as Martinez fought through an ankle injury before transfer rumors swirled following an embarrassing dressing-down by head coach Bo Pelini during a loss to Texas A&M.

Taylor would find himself struggling to make an impact through the remainder of the season.

As Martinez prepares to return to the field in 2011, he needs to realize that he is, by sheer definition, a true athlete. As such, he needs to take the opportunity to help Nebraska in any way possible.

In 1997, a do-it-all youngster named Charles Woodson not only won the Heisman Trophy, but also helped lead Michigan to a share of the 1997 national championship.

Taylor might not be a defensive back, but he is a legitimate threat at a few positions and has shown the same playmaking ability that Woodson did.

When the Nebraska offense is on the field, Martinez needs to be placed somewhere, if not under center.


Jamal Turner

Turner has been in Lincoln since December, so he's likely comfortable in his new digs.

Much like Martinez, Turner doesn’t have massive size on his side, but try catching the 6’1” 175-pounder from Arlington, Texas.

Interestingly, newly promoted Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck was Turner’s main recruiter.

As a senior in 2010, Turner accumulated 1,888 yards rushing and 35 TDs on the ground while passing for 1,551 yards and eight TDs.

Some work on pass accuracy and vision will likely be needed, as his interception total mirrored his touchdowns.

Keep in mind, however, that Jamal played in Texas' most difficult division while at Sam Houston High School.

Nebraska would do well to use Turner primarily as a rushing threat. Beck’s tutelage will likely allow for the occasional pass when defenses are ready to plug up an assumed run.

A power spread featuring Martinez and Turner interchanged at the quarterback and running back positions is a disturbing thought for opposing defensive coordinators.


Bubba Starling

Is Starling an amazing dual-threat college athlete or major league baseball prospect-in-waiting?

Arguments are raging as to whether Bubba will actually ever wear Cornhusker scarlet.

Some are extraordinarily passionate about their stance.

Bubba’s name is on the roster. Expect him to have a number and photo come the fall.

Starling, while a fantastic overall athlete, has a bright future at the quarterback position. In fact, should he shun pro baseball, he has every opportunity to take over as Nebraska's starter.

He not only has excellent size, but his speed is ridiculous for a 6’5” quarterback. Former Florida Gator Tim Tebow was a bruiser that could connect on a jump pass with the best of them.

Bubba Starling is an ankle-breaking, linebacker-faking, deep ball-throwing, touchdown-sowing, grinning, winning son-of-a-gun.

Nebraska can and will use him as such.

There are far more athletes than just these three in Lincoln and more will be trucked in over the summer months. The new staff that Bo Pelini assembled would be foolish not to use this triad in every conceivable way.

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