Nebraska Football: The Loss of Bubba Starling Leaves the Huskers Thin at QB

Mike WehlingAnalyst IAugust 16, 2011

Taylor Martinez injured during the Big 12 Championship Game
Taylor Martinez injured during the Big 12 Championship GameTom Pennington/Getty Images

Well, most Husker fans already assumed that this would happen, but Bubba Starling is officially a Kansas City Royal, as reported by the Kansas City Star. Starling made the safe choice by taking up to and possibly more than 7.5 million dollars in guaranteed money.

For the past few months, Husker fans have wondered if Bubba would be like Joe Mauer—a highly talented quarterback/baseball player that decided to take a shot in the pros over playing college football. Some had drawn similarities to former Nebraska recruit Carl Crawford, that left former Nebraska coach Frank Solich also dangerously thin at quarterback.

What does this mean for the Huskers? Well, with the loss of Bubba Starling and the transfer of Cody Green it leaves them with just two quarterbacks on scholarship, sophomores Taylor Martinez and Brion Carnes and two walk-ons, true freshman Tyson Broekemeier and sophomore Ron Kellogg. Yikes!

As we saw last year, Martinez and can be one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the country when he is healthy. But, after he was injured he suffered and the team suffered as well. Going 3-3 after starting the year 7-1.

Former starter Zac Lee led the Huskers through the Missouri game until he too got injured. Then the next game against Iowa State saw Cody Green start until he was benched for running back Rex Burkhead running the Wildcat or Wild Husker. Nebraska then went back to a still injured Martinez to finish the season, which showed how much confidence head coach Bo Pelini had in his backups.

Pelini may have seen this coming as he is having explosive true freshman wide receiver Jamal Turner split his time between wide receiver and quarterback. But should that be the solution?

It is quite obvious that Nebraska lacks quality speedy receivers. If it wasn't for our running backs, they wouldn't be able to move the ball. The only two proven targets for the quarterback are Brandon Kinnie and tight end Kyler Reed. After that it becomes a question of who becomes a viable target. Moving one of the most explosive players Nebraska has had in recent memory would be a mistake.

Nebraska has a terrific running back in Rex Burkhead and a promising future with true freshmen Braylon Heard, Aaron Green and Ameer Abdullah. So Nebraska does have some options to move the ball while they figure out the passing game until the other team loads the box with eight players. Just look at the South Dakota State game.

As it stands, Nebraska is heavily recruiting highly touted quarterback Devin Fuller from New Jeresy as well as the talented dual threat Tommy Armstrong, which has become a two horse race between Nebraska and Southern Miss. The Huskers desperately need one of—or both—of these QBs to commit to give them some depth at the quarterback position.

It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few weeks and months. Will Jamal Turner make a full time switch to quarterback? Will Nebraska manage to nab a highly touted quarterback recruit? Will Taylor Martinez get injured again and the offense flounders with a lack of experience at QB?

There's only one way to find out.

Is it football season yet?