How badly do the Nebraska Cornhuskers want their star senior quarterback back in the lineup? Not that badly, it would seem.
Head coach Bo Pelini, offensive coordinator Tim Beck and Taylor Martinez himself have decided it is the best decision for the team if Martinez rests again this week. This should not subtract from Martinez’s desire to play or generate the pervasive thought that he is not a tough player.
Martinez is in fact showing what many Husker fans have hoped for over the past three years: maturity. Martinez has really developed composure and good decision-making skills on the field in his time at Nebraska. Now he is really showing his maturity by accepting this temporary absence from the starting lineup.
Martinez played with the injury in the disappointing loss to UCLA about a month ago. Since then, he has been sidelined against opponents that the Huskers have been favored over. The same can be said for this weekend as the Huskers make their first road trip of the season, visiting the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette. The Huskers are 14-point favorites.
There has been no harm in resting the quarterback up to this point. If the Huskers are able to escape the weekend with a victory, they will be entering a bye week, giving Martinez another week to nurse his turf toe before the Huskers go on the road to Minnesota, which could provide him with an opportunity to get back into the swing of things.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers got off to an outstanding start, but have had their own issues at quarterback and have had to deal with coach Jerry Kill’s unfortunate battle with epilepsy. The Huskers will likely be favored in this game, giving Martinez a chance to shake off the cobwebs and even some rest if needed.
By November 2, Husker Nation will be ready to see their quarterback at full speed, hopefully. That is the day the Northwestern Wildcats come to Lincoln. They will be a true test for Nebraska, who will likely be the underdog in Memorial Stadium. The Huskers will need a quarterback for this game. Whether it is Martinez or freshman fill-in Tommy Armstrong, it will be time for one man to lead the Huskers offense.
Following the Northwestern game, the Huskers will travel to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines, then home against the Spartans of Michigan State and on the road to Happy Valley to face Penn State. Finally, they will have their rivalry game against Iowa in Iowa City. The Huskers’ second half of the schedule is not going to be a cakewalk at all.
The most interesting revelation from Martinez injury may be just how unselfish he has been. This can be said because the only one who has suffered throughout this last month has been Martinez himself.
Yes, the young man from California who has been scrutinized by Huskers fans at times has not been resting on the couch relaxing as his team takes on some of their softer opponents. In fact, Martinez has missed out on opportunities to pad his already-impressive records at Nebraska.
He has endured the thought of losing his starting position to a freshman and done so with great composure. He has finally completely erased his name from consideration for a Heisman trophy for the second straight year. He was considered for the award each of the last two seasons.
Martinez could have selfishly tried to play and put up huge numbers against lesser opponents, but has chosen not to because he would rather be there for the team when they need his senior leadership in the second half of the season.