Finish Strong

Playing a complete game key for Martinez

Funny the things you find in the depths of football winter. Like this stat, for example, from the always reliable cfbstats.com: Cam Newton was a perfect 19 of 19 passing on Auburn's opening drives in 2010 with a 284.73 passer rating. That's a pretty specific time frame but perfect is still perfect. According to the cfbstats database no other quarterback has been perfect since they started tracking stats in 2005.

Of course from our perspective we're not interested in Cam Newton, we're interested in Taylor Martinez . He wasn't too bad on opening drives last year either. It's the rest of the game where things started to slip.

Martinez ranked 15th among all quarterbacks last year (with 15 or more attempts) with a 171.11 passer rating on opening drives. Overall Martinez had a 138.78 passer rating (37th in the nation, 6th in the Big 12). Take away what he did on the opening drives and Martinez was left with a 134.69 passer rating for the rest of the game.

Those aren't bad numbers for a freshmen. Martinez rating was better than Zac Lee's overall rating in 2009 and 20 to 30 points shy of what Joe Ganz was able to tally in his 19 games over two seasons in 2007 and 2008. The intriguing stat was what happened to Martinez's rating and numbers as the games went on. Here's his breakdown by quarter:

1st Quarter - 35-53, 520 yds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 167.13 rating

2nd Quarter - 32-60, 479 yds, 4 TDs, 3 INTs, 132.39 rating

3rd Quarter - 27-49, 409 yds, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 126.44 rating

4th Quarter - 22-34, 223 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT, 123.64 rating

Based on passer rating alone you can see that Martinez performance gradually got worse as games went on. The rushing stats don't show the same steady decline but there is one number that pops out.

Martinez was most explosive on the ground in the 3rd quarter averaging 8.06 yards per carry followed by 5.55 ypc in the 1st and 5.35 ypc in the 2nd. In the 4th quarter, however, his yards per carry dropped to 2.82.

What happened to Taylor Martinez as games wore on? That's a tough question to answer but the general feeling for the season overall was that teams started to "figure Martinez out." He blew through teams early. Not just the non-conference cupcakes, though that certainly factors in, but Washington, Kansas State and Oklahoma State too. As the season wore on the injuries piled up, true, but teams had also seen a good deal of "the Magic" on tape.

Was the same thing happening on an in-game basis? Maybe. Or maybe Martinez, at this young stage in his career, is just a fast starter for now. Look through the top rated passers from 2010 and you can see a general pattern sort of emerge on a quarter-by-quarter basis. The best QBs tended to start high, settle in at a lower rating in the 2nd and 3rd, before finishing at a similarly high level in the 4th. Andrew Luck was the poster boy for this hot start/strong finish type of QB.

Martinez has at least got half of that equation down and he's got a lot of areas to grow in as he develops as quarterback. Just be sure to put closing games near the top of that list.

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Comments 43 comments so far

One’s performance does sometime slip a bit when 1) you get injured during the game or 2) you have a preexisting injury and it gets aggravated during the course of play or 3) the game plan that has failed during the first 3 quarters forces you into desperation mode in the 4th.

turf toe. ever had it? if so u would understand why Martinez declined in production.

I have had turf toe. It sounds pretty meager but it’s excruciating. Injuries certainly influenced those numbers but I can’t help but think there was something else at play as well.

Really interesting article. It may not be anything specific, but I wonder if perhaps it isn’t more of an attitude issue. Veterans learn to walk the fine line between confidently “making things happen,” and desperately “forcing it.” The first is what winners do, knowing they can do it. The second is what rookies do, hoping against hope that it’s possible. I tend to think martinez can end up being the kind of leader who can make it happen, who can lead a team at the end by force of will and confidence gained from experience. Then again, I may be forcing it.

As the season goes on, and as games go on, defenses adjust and get better - especially the well-coached teams (read: Oklahoma). Good defenses take things away. It might work once early in a game, but not too much more after that.  By the time the 4th quarter rolls around, both offensive teams know they have only a handful of plays that have a real chance of working.

Heck, in the 2009 contest with OU, the Sooners basically had one run play they went to by the 4th quarter. That’s no over statement. It’s on film.

The point - things get much, much, tighter down the stretch against elite teams. Martinez’s 4th quarter production - along with that of the whole NU offense - will improve as the offensive coaching staff becomes more able to re-calibrate and adjust what they are doing based on what the defense takes away.

While physically gifted, Mr. Martinez appears to suffer from deficiencies of mind, not an uncommon issue in such parts.  This bodes poorly for 4th quarter production and Big 10 competitions, but at least Nebraska’s culture will not be impacted negatively.

I also don’t believe Martinez has the mentality necessary to be QB.  As long as play goes smoothly he is an effective weapon but if improvision is required he thought process breaks down and he panics.  Not what you’d call a cool customer.  Maybe some of it is just maturity but there are those that operate well under the gun and those who just want to.  Martinez is a want to.

He was freshman. As much as I liked and respected Frost, his junior year was no bowl of cherries either.
I have every faith Taylor as a quaterback. I think the new quaterback coach will help him by not telling him to stay in the pocket until he is killed. He also needs to run more north south and not east west.

He was a Freshman, had injuries that slowed his progress and it hurt him as the season went on as more times got a better look at him and how to defend him. 

As far as I’m concerned we need a healthy Taylor Martinez next year to carry us through our first Big 10 schedule which is a tough one.  He has some issues to improve on, leadership, and getting rid of the ball but I believe he has the ability to be a fantastic college Quarterback.  Let’s keep in mind even as a Freshmen, his passing numbers were better than Zac Taylor.  I liked Zac but we need someone with Taylor’s athleticism at QB.

Agree 100% with your comment. Healthy Taylor a must.

I’m amazed that everyone wants to jump on Taylor and blame him for the second half of the season imploding. That’s absurd.
If your complaining about his play late in the season, realize Taylor probably had never been in those situations before…or anywhere close for that matter! I have a feeling he has always been a winner and has mostly won in his life, therefore he just simply didn’t know what to do when the walls started caving in. But how could he have anyway? He was just a freshman last year first off, and especially towards the end, he really didn’t have much help from the O line or receivers; or anybody else for that matter except for Helu (not entirely fair I know). Everyone on the offense was confused…which I think are 1)coaching issues, and 2) game management issues. I think it was mostly Sean Watson to be frank, but Bo does bear a little bit of the responsibility as he is the head coach.

Now, I’m sure those stats are from the whole year. Lets kick out all the stats after he got hurt because he did NOTHING after his injury except for one throwing touchdown, THEN lets take a look at what he did (he is on the official Heisman watch list btw). His season stats were incredible frankly, even if he looked like a deer in the headlights at times - that was down the stretch, again, after suffering what amounts to a major injury for that type of player. It was totally to be expected if you think about it. A stallion doesn’t run too fast if it’s got a bum leg does it? The incredible thing to me is, and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…almost 99% of his production came in the first 7 games…only half of a season. His one half a season stats most new quarterbacks would love to have in a whole season. You build on the possible and positive things, not the worst.

We as a team were heading straight uphill…hell no one could have stopped us if we played like we played against K State in every game…until Talor got hurt. Then it was straight downhill. But even at that, we still didn’t get blown out by anyone. All of the games we lost, we could have won. We beat ourselves.

So as bad as it seemed last year, a lot of it is really explainable and frankly, not that bad when everything is factored in. To get an idea of what it will look like going forward, look at the first half of the season, not the last.

So the question is…as good as they were in the beginning of last year, since we have a lot of the same offensive players back and they’re healthy now, and a lot of great new talent coming in, and with the whole regime change now in effect and all, and a whole new offense, how good are we going to be…if not this season, what about next year and the year after that? What happens if these guys actually pull it off and get this offense as good as the defense? Scary.

It’s an open competition at QB. Martinez, Green, and Turner are getting all the media coverage, but I think Brion Carnes is going to make some noise this summer and fall. He’s got a more fluid throwing motion than Green or Martinez. Seems to be a pass first run second type of QB. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have speed though (4.5s). He’ll bring the versatility that Beck wants in his offense. Reminds me a lot of Tyrod Taylor, the Va Tech QB. I’m hoping he can take the job over and let Martinez and Turner run around at WR.

The staff lied about how serious the injury to tmart was.. turf toe was one of him but he had to have had a very serious ankle/ligament damage n maybe something with his foot. Why you ask why I think that….turf toe is serious enough to keep u down speed wise but tmart was getting caught by dline man in the ou n washington game. Which means either he never fully healed or the injuries were a lot worse n the staff didn’t trust zac or green to run the offense. U can also blame watts easy I don’t adjust in the game offense. Hence how if we didn’t lead by the first qtr the game was over. In conclusion 1. The staff didn’t give full detail about how serious the injury was 2. Tmart never was above 50% in ou n wash game. 3. The staff didn’t trust n wasn’t on the same page so they weren’t gonna throe lee or green out there unless they absolutely had to.

I hope that Taylor has improved mentally, both maturity and seeing the game progress.  Too many times last year you could tell before he got the ball he was going to get sacked.  Now how can armchair quarterbacks see an obvious LB blitz coming from the week side and not audible out of it?  Those are the little things that made him “Look” like he was trying to lose the game.  The difference between good and great quarterbacks are those little pre snap reads.  Taylor knew he could not run the last few games of the year but he put himself in double lose situations.  Watson has alot of the blame too.  However that was last year, I and all we can do is hoe he took all of those pains in stride.

No one wants a novel. All I gta say is playrs replacing our seniors Is pry best mentaly and prepared replacment since 99. We lost great playrs hardly show on feild cum this season

Some mistakes are assuming facts not in evidence.  Specifically did Taylor have the ability (was he allowed) to audible? I do not think so but I do not know.  I do know he is a good scrambler but stayed in the pocket.  I remember an article that indicated the OC wanted him to stay in the pocket and not give in to his natural instincts to take off and run.  I think we are blaming the wrong person for the sacks. Time will tell.

Pry bos best recruiting clas this last year n this year so many weapons. Martinez wipe ur daddys tears from ur face turner rite behing u

I agree with TJ.  The failure on offense was a team effort….  beginning with the coaching.  Just given Martinez’s apparent confident (border-line cocky) attitude, I think his failures and frustrations from last season can help make him a better field general next season if he learns from it.  Great physical ability… hope he can grow in the other areas of leadership.

The good news is that this is just a game.  One whose outcome will not affect any of us directly one bit.  Regardless of whether Martinez pulls it together or not doesn’t make a hill of beans difference in the grand scheme of things unless you are a player or coach.  This is just trivial babble we use to fill in the gaps.

One thing that needs to be factored in that is not reflected in QB rating is FUMBLES. I wil certainly cut this kid a break as a redshift freshman but he MUST take care of the ball better. He needs to be taught to protect that ball; part of the problem may be that no one was fast enough to catch him and hit him from behind but this is big boy football now, especially in the Big 10. Anyone who watched film last year saw a gifted and dangerous athlete but one that could also be physically rattled. I hope he takes that “next step” and develops the toughness that we saw a young Scott Frost develop (and I was one of the fools yelling for Frost’s head his first year…).

Taylor… Whiney little baby. Team voted him off at the end of last season. An offense won’t follow a player they don’t respect. Coaches frustrated by him. He doesn’t respect the coaches. How many high schools did he play for? T-bag will be gone after next season. I don’t know why we pulled him back from UCLA anyways.

Option left, Without Taylor for last season NU would have lost three more games. Especially against OSU. Try to keep a civil tongue in your head.

Well, y’know, Nebraska’s recruited back to back highly rated QBs since both Green’s and T Magic’s frosh seasons. Green was considered a top prospect, even though some thought he might switch positions, after a while. Martinez was considered to be foremost an exceptional multi purpose athlete.
Really, this could be the most athletically gifted collection of Nebraska quarterbacks. Ever… From a run fast - jump high, standpoint.
Will they all be in Lincoln, this time next year?

Beck’s been real clear that the winner will be proved out, by the time the season starts. Everyone’s equal. The coaches saw T Magic clearly beating out his more experienced competitors last year, with the secret kept until the week of, if I remember. The same could happen to him, coming up.
Whether he wins out or no, the fresh changes would seem to benefit him the most. Assuming Green’s skill set isn’t “taylor” made for this latest offense. Which, would be cool, too.
T-Magic’s problems were obvious. The injuries and the lack of timely, corrective coaching. That crazy offensive design and what it did to all the players, didn’t help. Not his dad, or peoples perceptions of his attitude and character.

Withy t-bag we lost 4 games. Every one we watched him wet his pants not knowing what to do. He’s not the boy for the job.

With Taylor we won four games we would have lost.  Eight losses in one season is worse than four. Complex math I know.

Also, he was injured and should not have played in several games in my view.  Also, as indicated he was instructed to stay in the pocket and not to take off running. So not his fault.

How hard will a kid who doesn’t want to be there play? Is it possable to give 110% for a team you have no respect for? Let him go. Let someone who wants to be there play.

Option left, you continually make assumptions about Taylor that are without foundation.  You do not know anything about Taylor nothing about football in general and people specifically. Taylor will perform will because he is a competitor and practices and gives it his all, whether you think so or not. He has devoted most of his life to football and cares deeply about winning.

Option left, I’d shut up if I were you. Stephen has you on every count! You know nothing about people or Nebraska football. Taylor should not have been on the field after his 2 seperate injuries and then re-injuries. But he went in there and tried, even with his hands tied. he still was out there trying, even with the idiotic coaching that didn’t exactly encourage not to run…can you imagine not encouraging Taylor Martinez not to do what he does best?

Phys Ed in Charleston is half right. Perhaps, another vocational perspective would help with the insight that t-magi is not smart (eq and iq) enough to play qb.  Yes, the PE one earns some points by recognizing that an offense rivaling the unimaginative culture of the state was partly to blame. Nevertheless,  Nebraska football is no less corrupt now than when coach oz laughably “adopted” mr. Phillips to rescue a national championship run. Mr Pellini’s character deficiencies will reveal themselves in the Big 10—who knows, maybe even the cerebral, purple clad lads from Evanston will get some sweet revenge.

You’re a lousey writer.

Thank you.

Not so smart NU. You are trying to rewrite history and doing a pretty lousy job. Coach Osborne worked to get Phillips help so he could finish out and have a chance for a life. Osborne did not need Philips to win a championship. If you had watched the game AND understood what was happening you would understand that. Obviously either one, the other or both are not true. Osborne suffered physically/medically from this attempt to ction and unfortunately Philips was determined to fail in life, but Coach Osborne did everything he could have done to help.

Mr. Johnson is mostly wrong.  It is clear that oz did everything he could to coddle a criminal—perversely portrayed as charitable work—in an obvious attempt to cynically improve his team’s winning percentage.  Truth hurts sometimes. That’s why some protest too much. Let’s move on.

The only thing that should move on is you. No facts just lousy opinion. I think you are a Colorado troll. You are no Husker fan and certainly lack perspective and respect for the program and its coaches.  What you have accused Coach Osborne of is just sad and frankly disgusting. TO Osborne has worked most of his life for Nebraska and kids that need help, most of which never set foot on a football field. Most of the money awarded due to championship wins he donated to help underprivileged youth and frankly I will not stand by or “move on” while some low life like you casts these kind of vile assertions against a man of his character. Sign off and do not return, you have nothing worthwhile to contribute to the discussion.

Oh SJ, you and Phys Ed can be so silly. I am not a Colorado fan. I’m an NU fan, and I love the nuanced and cultured city of Chicago, despite Nubraska connections.  Someone here needs to provide objective perspective and tough love when needed. I guess that I’ll have to persevere in that regard.

Not so smart NU non fan - Stop trying to fool us, you are not even fooling yourself. Anyone who accuses Tom Osborne of anything such as you did in an earlier post has no business on a Husker website. I lived near Chicago and it is no excuse to attribute what you did to Coach Osborne. Just admit you were wrong about his bending the rules to get Philips in so he could win a championship and go away. Man up.

It is tempting to take the popular path and bend to peer pressure, but I am a man of principle and cannot lie. Therefore, I must decline your entreaty to do the wrong thing.  Despite some admirable qualities, TO made a regrettable mistake, just like many of us do—some more than others. Maybe he experienced a fleeting moment of desperation and greed, having been agonizingly close so many times before.  That’s okay, he’s only human.

Manure with honey on it is still manure. Referring to Philips in the 1995 championship, he only played about 12 minutes at the beginning of the game if memory serves.  And for those who forgot Philips was out for much of the season attending anger management workshops out of state so for much of the season Philips was a non factor. Nebraska won the game handily. So everything I have said is true and you are stilling casting dispersions on Coach Osborne. People in Nebraska tend to be polite but you are testing my patience with the nonsense you keep spewing. You are wrong, and will be wrong tomorrow and the day afterward. Many Nebraska haters at the time echoed what you have said, but it was untrue then and it is untrue now.

Very well. I understand that you are extremely angry, but i guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree and move on.

Not so smart NU.  Not angry at all. I just have a low tolerance for people who lie about Coach Osborne and say things that are simply not true and are based on no knowledge of the situation. I do not agree to disagree. You are flat wrong and maligning the integrity of someone who does not deserve such vile comments. Simple and said with a smile.

Great! Everybody is smiling then.

Let’s all join hands to sing kumbaya and hope that Mr. Pelini’s temperament does not radiate any further than SJ and PE.

Sarcasm is a fine art of which have no depth for.  Simply stop talking and go away as you do not seem to like any of Nebraska’s coaches, past or current. As I observed earlier, you are not a Husker fan, just a troll.

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