Iíll admit up front that I have never been the biggest Taylor Martinez fan. I always thought Cody Green had more potential and thought Green never really got a fair shake at Nebraska. I still wonder what he would be like if he had been given the time to grow and make mistakes like Martinez was given, but that is a different argument for a different day.
At the beginning of this season I let it all go and told myself Martinez is our man. He has proven he can win games and I thought he would be our best shot at winning a championship this season. So I promised myself no matter what happened I wasnít going to ask for Martinez to get benched this year because I knew no matter what he was the most talented QB on our team. Well I am breaking that promise. Iím asking for the kid. Give Tommy Armstrong the ball and letís see what he can do against tougher competition.
Iím breaking my promise, but maybe not for the reason you think.
I coach a middle school basketball team here in Kansas City, Mo. We had a pretty good squad last year and I had two very good point guards. One kid was an absolute stud though. This kid could shoot, pass, controlled the offense better than most kids I saw all season. There is no doubt in my mind this kid will shine when he makes it to high school. When he played he stole the show and took over the game. My other point guard was good, but he made more mistakes. He struggled dribbling and forcing some bad passes sometimes. He wasnít near the shooter either. But when he was in the game running point the team responded. Players who were scared to shoot before would let them fly and they would make some too. They moved the ball great and got everyone involved.
I still think Martinez is the most talented QB on the team. I actually think a Martinez at 75 percent healthy is still probably more ready to run the offense than a 100 percent Armstrong or Ron Kellogg, mainly because of Martinezís experience and familiarity in the system.
The fact is for some reason or another the best player on the field isnít what is always best for the team. When the game was on the line for my middle school basketball team I always made sure my back-up point guard was bringing the ball up the court because I knew the whole team would perform better with the ball in his hands.
That is why I am breaking my promise and calling for the back-up. Everyone said going into the Minnesota game that we should be able to win with our back-up. Well we lost with our starter. The loss wasnít Martinezís fault and he doesnít deserve the blame. Bo Pelini said after the game that Martinez was not the problem. But he definitely was not the solution.
Look back at the Minnesota game and then look back to the three game featuring Armstrong and Kellogg. Ameer Abdullah was the featured player in the three previous games and he took control. Despite breaking run after run Abdullah somehow got lost in the mix with Martinez under center. The receivers who were making big plays all over the field before were dropping more balls then we have seen all season. The defense may not be amazing, but they had been turning the ball over when our back-ups were in, against MinnesotaÖzero turnovers.
Martinez has faced a lot of unfair scrutiny and I am just as guilty of that as anyone else. He has given a lot to the University of Nebraska. He owns a lot of spots in the record books.
Sometimes the best athlete isnít what is best for the team though. So whether Martinez is healthy or not I think you stick with what has been working for the whole team.
Brian Bosiljevac is a freelance writer and Omaha native now living in Kansas City, Mo. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. New to Twitter. Follow him at @brianbosiljevac. Thanks for reading.