Taylor Martinez has not been shy with his expectations for the Nebraska Cornhuskers this fall. He came out and said, “If we don’t go to the national championship game, I’ll be disappointed. I think we’re all dreaming that big. We definitely can be that good.” Martinez also made a bold claim yesterday about his expectations for his passing numbers this season. “70% or above” is what Martinez said, replying with a one word “yes” when asked if he was confident he can do it after a season in which he completed just 56% of his passes.
The Cornhuskers are coming off a 9-4 season which ended in a disappointing fashion with a loss to South Carolina. With fall camp starting this past weekend, let’s take a look at two of the questions and an expectation for the upcoming season.
Question #1: Will Taylor Martinez Actually Complete 70% Of His Passes?
There is no easy answer to this question, especially without having seen him throw so far this season. But rumors out of camp have said that Martinez has changed his release point, which has given him more consistency this summer. I do not expect a jump from 56% to 70+%, but I do expect the number to creep into the 62-64% range. Part of how much Martinez’s percentage increases this season depends on the receivers. If they start dropping balls like last season, it could be a long season for the Huskers.
Question #2: How Does The Defense Respond This Season?
Anytime you lose an All-American type player at each level on the defense, it is not easy to replace. But I believe the Huskers will be better this season as a whole. The Huskers have stronger, more physical cornerbacks this season. The defensive line had most of last season to prepare for life after Jared Crick due to an unfortunate injury. The biggest question is on defense, but that should be mitigated by some great athletes coming up the depth chart and through the junior college ranks. The team might have a shaky start, but expect them to get straightened out.
Expectation #1: A Legends Division Title
The Cornhuskers might not be the favorite of every single media type, but they certainly have a chance to win the division. The season could be decided early with games versus Wisconsin and at Ohio State. Those games will not hurt in the Legends Division and in a tie-breaker situation, but if the Huskers come out and get trounced in both games right at the start, it could be a long season. If the Huskers beat Wisconsin and hang with Ohio State at the Shoe, it could be a positive sign to come.