Will Emphasis on Footwork Pay Off for Martinez?

The news for Husker fans coming out of the off week is that quarterback Taylor Martinez spent his Spring Break honing his game. In particular, it's been his footwork when he throws the football that he was working on. That seems to address one of the key criticisms that many have about Martinez - that he too often throws off of his back foot. If he spends the next five months or so working on this aspect of his game. What is the payoff likely to be?


There are a couple of schools of thought on throwing mechanics. One is that a player cannot succeed without proper mechanics and thus they must be perfected. You hear this line of reasoning among detractors of New York Jet quarterback Tim Tebow. Others think that by the time a player is an upperclassman in college, it's probably too late to change mechanics in a meaningful way. If anything, playing with them could actually harm a quarterback. This might be analogous to golfer Tiger Woods going through swing changes even as he was dominating the PGA. Plenty of quarterbacks have enjoyed success without textbook mechanics. Bernie Kosar won a national championship with an unorthodox sidearm throwing motion then went on to reach the Pro-Bowl and some NFC Championship games as a professional. Former Husker signal caller Scott Frost was known for his shotput-style throws, but still he led Nebraska to a national title.

One argument in favor of Steve Calhoun, the quarterback instructor working with Martinez is that one of his former proteges is Cam Newton. In addition to a Heisman trophy and a national championship, Newton had a Pro-Bowl season as an NFL rookie this past year. While Calhoun may or may not deserve credit for Newton's success, it certainly doesn't appear that he hindered Newton in any way. Newton was a 50% passer in limited duty at Florida before completing 66% of his passes at Auburn (after spending time with Calhoun). If the transformation for Martinez is anything close to that, then that could mean big things for Nebraska in the coming seasons.

Martinez is already a threat to run the ball. Rex Burkhead similarly helps sell play action. Many of the best moments for Martinez have come when the defense bites on the run and Taylor gets to comfortably deliver the ball to an open receiver. But perhaps better mechanics will help him make better throws under pressure when the windows are tighter and the margin for error smaller. His feet will be something to watch both in the Spring game and then as the season begins in September. If the days of backfoot throws are over for Martinez, then maybe also we'll see the end of four-loss seasons at Nebraska.

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End of 4-loss seasons at Nebraska? Not hardly. Now, while I’m not going to go into a team bashing like I’m starting to see with a lot of Husker fans, we have to become more perceptive in our new reality.  Unless the B1G take a significant drop in competitiveness, we’re going to see some more 4 loss seasons. We’ll see some 2-3 loss seasons too, and hopefully 0-1 loss seasons in the B1G. There are peaks and valleys, and we’re grinding our way out of our recent valley.

Back to the meat of your post…With TM’s footwork fine tuning, we could see his weight transfer so much more smoothly, correct front foot placement was such an eyesore before. Even though the ball will more than likely still come out like a shot put, he will still be extremely more accurate just by being able to plant that front foot towards his target. I tell you what, I like hearing that he took his entire Spring Break and went out to a QB guru for some help. The kid obviously wants to do well and seems to be working his tail off to become a better QB. I’ll be at the spring game, and home game Numero Uno. I can’t wait to see his improvement. I like the kid and want him to succeed, ultimately with the Huskers succeeding as well. GBR!

I think he will succeed. This can only make him better, as another year in Tim Becks system will too. He had a lot going against him remember…different offenses and coordinators, an injurie. If you remember, he came out in 2010 blazing! Nobody was complaining then!
Throwing and being a stereotypical quarterback he aint, and he aint ever gonna be folks. But he can be good enough to take us to the promissed land (look at Alabama), especially if the receivers can catch. Bump that completed ratio up a bit and he’s golden. If Beck can take advantage of his running skills, he’ll break records at Nebraska.

Whither T-Magic?
He’s 21, now. He was 19 when he was clearly beating out a 5th year Senior starter, and when this season starts, he’ll be 22.
19 to 22 is like “dog years.”
I recall a comment each from Watson, then Beck, last season, something to the effect of “it don’t have to look pretty, as long as it gets there.”
One of the hugely limiting factors in college ball, is the amount of time a coach can instruct a player. His short life as a QB has been from HS until the ‘10 leg tweaks slowed him, was “go make plays.” Opposing talent level quickly caught up and now he’s getting slightly more coaching, from a Cal guru and an OC freshly into his second career season as play caller.
He’s just a great athlete, playing QB, in the finest Nebraska tradition. At this point, he can about fall out of bed, and have a top 10 Nebraska season, all time.
If he really does gain this new quarterbacking skill set and the rest of the team (and staff) can respond in kind…

I’m extremely excited to see how he improves.  Did you catch that interview with Tim Beck on BTN breaking down the differences between Martinez last year compared to spring practice?  You could clearly see a difference in TM’s movements.

i cant wait to watch him this year he will be great and will
see if his improved footwork and throwing motion help
him shed the “uncle rico” nickname

There is a night and day difference! He looks like a real QB now. Combine that improved QB play - more accurate passing, higher commpletion rate, less interceptions - and his blazing speed and you have a real duel threat. Should be interesting this year and next. But they have to design some plays just for his speed…he ended last season not scoring a TD on the ground in the last 7 games. Not good. If he’s not a threat on the ground, and he’s not a threat in the air, the defences will be all over us! I think he’ll be the opposite though. He really is a threat on the ground (ask Ohio State) and will be a threat in the air too looks like so we’ll be fine.

Taylor was a threat all year to run the ball, but the issue is he can’t move laterally. He is a north/south runner at QB, who will run by you, but not juke you.

The runs he needs are the QB inside traps. One cut is all you need and ‘boom’ he’s gone.

He will always be a threat but I want to see more of the diamond look this year. The play were Martinez pitched to Burkhead when the DE committed, and then Burkhead pitched to Abdullah when the CB committed against Michigan for a TD was a great play, and if executed, will always gain yards because you out flank the defense. The saftey would have to come down incredibly quick, which opens up the middle of the field for a backside post to REED, Bell, Turner, ect. Although I can see the DE being instructed to take Burkhead and then Taylor being stuck with the ball, but we should always be able to get positive yards.

Anyway, as long as Taylor can stay healthy, we’ll be fine this year. Bigger question is: can the O-line, win the battle up front. We have 23 o-lineman in camp. You’d think we’d be big enough, strong enough, condiditioned enough to wear on the D-Lineman and move them. If we can’t block for Martinez, it won’t matter what he did with his throwing motion.

I’m glad to hear Taylor’s taking initiative on this.  It’s easy to make excuses or just go into a shell, but he’s doing the right thing by taking this on directly.  I think it reflects his progress as a leader and his increasing maturity (as mentioned by Morrow 19 to 22 “dog years).  Hopefully this will pay off on the field.

It’s good to see T-mart work hard on improving, striving to become a well rounded QB.  Old habits are hard to break, so my main concern is that TM no fall back into his old passing habits when pressure is put on him.  Best wishes for him.

I agree with Mark (from VA) that it’s good to see Taylor working on his footwork.  However, throws off the back foot originate from his poor habit of not stepping toward the target and opening his leading foot.  This, in turn, forces you to throw “across” your body and inaccuracy ensues.  How many times have we seen the ball thrown behind the receiver on crossing routes?  This is the direct result of throwing across your body.  You almost have to side arm it to get the ball to the receiver.  We’ll have to see how Taylor’s mechanics have improved during the Spring Game.  If he struggles again this year with his completion percentage, a 7-6 campaign could be in the works and a switch to wide receiver would benefit his football career due to his breakaway speed.

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You have got too watch this video with Tim Beck:

Maybe you have already seen it but it really does show that he is no longer throwing off his back foot.  I know game time may be different but you will most certainly see his improvement in the spring game.  Have some faith.  I’ve got a good feeling about his progress this year.

he is under great pressure ..more than any in NU hiorsty AGAIN, shock the world comments are for people that can back them up! I deal in black and white! I’ve been on foreign beaches and NO the worlds are not that far apart! Its about a pat on the butt when your buddy goes down OR a IN YOUR FACE, your here, back up the smack .let get it done!Part of all teams problems now days are these PATTY CAKE,dont tell them the truth cause they might get mad and take their ball and go home attitude!Call up Jason Peter, Grant Wistrom and see how much patty cakin they did?Yes our fans are spoiled .spoiled is fine .it leads to certain expectations of which those that sign up for are fully aware of.I used Rex not as an example of someone .but rather something HUMILITY!ALL players should attain to what he has . No blog means squat to a bunker mentality football team anyway ..coaches coach, player play, and fans fan .tasize!Maybe BIG RED would respond better to the following kind Johnson and Johnson Baby powder rant:Lets hope Mr.Taylor Martinez can humble himself to work on his mechanics so he benefits the NU TEAM and lets hope Mr. Beck can work on his nice little pass plays so that we can all sing KUMBYYAH together!COME ON LETS GO ..LETS GO BIG RED!

Jesus, you might want to edit a little.
I love the “maybe he ought to move to wide receiver” remark. That’s not going to happen.

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