In the media heavy world of college football, young men in their late teens and early 20s are consistently poked, prodded, and criticized by the media on a national stage. In the last three years, there may not be another player whose on the field performance has been more scrutinized than Nebraska Cornhuskers QB Taylor Martinez. In this his senior year, Martinez has one last chance to prove all of the naysayers wrong and ride off into the sunset.
Bursting onto the scene as a redshirt freshman in 2010, Martinez quickly let the world know that the next great Cornhusker QB had arrived. Conjuring up memories of such greats as Tommie Frazier and Eric Crouch, Taylor had the Nebraska feeling revived once again after the abysmal years that were the Bill Callahan era. The dual-threat phenom led the Huskers all the way to the Big 12 Championship Game in his first season, which unfortunately for Nebraska resulted in a heartbreaking 23-20 loss to the Oklahoma Sooners.
2011 marked the first season that Nebraska would compete in the Big Ten Conference. With speed not necessarily being a traditional trait of the B1G, many speculated that Martinez would blow through the conference with ease. Well after an October 1st 48-17 trampling at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers, we quickly found out that wouldn’t be the case.
Going back to that 2010 season, as fun as Taylor was to watch on the field, there was one glaring flaw in his game. To put it lightly, Taylor Martinez had the throwing motion of an eight-year old pee wee football player. Prior to this past season, Martinez called upon the services of private QB guru Steve Calhoun to help solve the problem. While successful results were clearly visible, 2012 was still a roller coaster of a season for Martinez and the Huskers.
2012 actually saw Martinez lead his squad to their first conference title game in the Big Ten where they were even a 10-point favorite entering the contest. Well, saying that Nebraska fell just short of that expectation would be the understatement of the century. Despite Martinez having the highlight play of the game, a scrambling 76 yard TD run in which Taylor actually ran over 100, the Huskers were obliterated by Wisconsin 72-31. Another missed accomplishment for the Corona, California product.
This is the last chance for Taylor Martinez to etch his name in Nebraska lore with the Frazier’s and Crouch’s of the world. While Martinez actually does hold many of the Nebraska QB records at this point, championships are what matter in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is something that Martinez has yet to grasp, and he needs to. A trip to Pasadena, California next New Year’s Day would dramatically rewrite the story of Taylor Martinez.