Head Coach Bo Pelini and Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck may have their top offensive performer from 2013 returning in running back Ameer Abdullah and they will be returning one quarterback with experience in Tommy Armstrong, but fans would be wise to remember that one year of experience for Armstrong does pale in comparison to the experience their projected 2013 starter under center. Senior signal caller Taylor Martinez, who does hold the record for most starts at the position at the esteemed football powerhouse, missed the majority of his senior season with a foot injury that was not truly defined for the entirety of the season. The fact that it was never truly explained was a bit of a mystery in Lincoln and throughout Husker Nation.
One likely theory is that the Nebraska Cornhusker Coaching Staff held out hope for nearly half of the season that the senior quarterback may return to action. While some Husker fans may have been prepared for the insertion of a new quarterback, it is undeniable the coaching staff was not prepared for the devastating injury that Martinez suffered in the Huskers first contest of 2013.
As the coaching staff held out hope, their silence had was beneficial when scheming against opponents. Prior to the home game against the Northwestern Wildcats there seemed to still be a glimmer of hope that Martinez may return to action putting freshman Armstrong back on the bench to learn from the more qualified Martinez for the remainder of the season. By leaving that bit of doubt in opponents heads the opposition was forced to be somewhat prepared for a possible insertion of Martinez into the lineup. Even the threat of an athlete like Martinez at a position that he has never lined up at, like wide receiver, was something that opponents undoubtedly had to consider. For a good portion of the season, it seemed as if the Nebraska coaching staff were attempting to fool opponents into thinking they were holding an ace in the hole, when in fact they were not. Actually the same rumors seemed to begin circulating as preparations for the Huskers’ matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs began.
The truth is that the Huskers may have needed their opponents to be preparing for an offense that might potentially include Martinez because the offense without him was extremely bland. This was not the fault of Tommy Armstrong or the Nebraska coaching staff, they were quite simply doing all that they could. Very rarely is a college football team prepared for an unfortunate injury to a three-year starter at quarterback that lasts the entirety of a football season.
Nonetheless, as the season has completed, the truth has come out regarding Martinez’ foot injury. The injury was a ligament tear in his big toe, undeniably an injury that would have prevented Martinez from playing football true to his potential. While the injury was devastating it is not an injury that Martinez will be incapable of recovering from. NFL wide receiver Pierre Garcon suffered the same injury and was able to fully recover given proper treatment and recuperation time. Martinez is nearly recovered from this injury and preparing to make a big splash at the NFL combine.