Moving On Without Martinez
The misinformation about injuries for Nebraska continues. It now appears that what's been called a turf toe injury has been something else (though presumably it involved NU quarterback Taylor Martinez's toe or toes). Add to that a hip pointer for Taylor, which may sound fairly benign but can be debilitating (for at least a week or two) and you get a player that is not himself. Sure, he can still make a nice audible as he did to set up a touchdown pass to tight end Sam Cotton against Minnesota, but the lack of a run threat hurt the Cornhuskers in both the rushing game and the passing game in the loss to the Golden Gophers. So Nebraska will now move forward with the quarterback tandem of Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg. What might that mean?
In the four starts by Taylor Martinez, the quarterback was sacked six times. In three starts by the tandem Armstrong and Kellogg, NU signal callers were sacked just a single time. To be fair, all of the sacks came in the UCLA and Minnesota games where Martinez was already hurt and the defensive lines were strongest. Still, you have to wonder how different things might have been with the other quarterbacks playing.
Once Martinez was hurting, he stopped being much of a weapon as a runner and the designed runs mostly vanished from the game plan. Armstrong, by contrast has the full arsenal of designed quarterback runs and zone read plays at his disposal. He was used often in that manner in previous games, particularly if you consider he shared time on the field with Kellogg.
Martinez has fumbled four times this season, losing one. Tommy Armstrong fumbled once and it was recovered by Nebraska. Ron Kellogg hasn't fumbled this year. Considering what a problem it's been for the team in recent years, and continues to be for the running backs, if that number declines that can only be a good thing. Unfortunately, that might be offset by Armstrong's greater number of interceptions for the year.
There are things Martinez can provide that will be missed, but there are elements that Armstrong and Kellogg bring that can offset and potentially even improve on what is lost. Chances are that fans won't be clamoring for Martinez to return unless or until the Huskers lose a game without him.