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July 18, 2011

Key Huskers: No. 5 Taylor Martinez

As the dog days of summer continue, HuskerOnline.com is introducing a new series breaking down Nebraska's top-15 players on the roster heading into 2011.

In today's installment of "Key Huskers," we take a look at sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinezand where he stands entering the start of fall camp.

Martinez's strengths

Clearly the strength of Martinez is his natural athletic ability and his explosive burst to get past the first and second levels of a defense.

When Martinez is healthy, he's nearly unstoppable. At times during 2010 we saw that from him in games against Washington, Kansas State and Oklahoma State.

Martinez has also proven to be an adequate thrower, especially when healthy and opposing defenses were daring him to throw it early in the season.

What he still needs to prove

Martinez needs to prove several things at this point. No. 1, he needs to prove he can be a leader for this offense.

With only two scholarship quarterback on the roster, Martinez is really all NU has right now. They almost have to put all their eggs in one basket and hope he can take that next step.

Martinez also needs to prove he is a fit in Tim Beck's new offense. There's still a sense of the unknown here, mainly because during the spring he looked rusty at times and wasn't 100 percent.

Most memorable play or moment

There were several memorable plays or moments for Martinez. Any of his long runs in the Kansas State and Washington games were plays you didn't see another player in the country make.

I was also equally impressed when he threw for 323 yards and five touchdowns in the Oklahoma State game when nobody thought he could consistently throw the football. This also came after the Texas loss, which showed he had the ability to bounce back.

It's hard not mention Bo Pelini's sideline blow-up at Martinez in College Statoin, which become a hot button topic for several Husker fans. The incident was stemmed by when Martinez went back to the locker room to have his injured ankle looked at by trainers.

Martinez called his father from the locker room to give him an update on his injury and that's what led to Pelini's blow up during the A&M game.

2011 outlook

I think the biggest thing for Martinez is he needs to come out of the gates early and make some big plays in NU's four non conference games.

This will really help get his confidence back to where it needs to be. If Martinez can get going early, that will answer a lot of the question people have about him before NU heads to Wisconsin to open up Big Ten play.


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