Nebraska returns a three-year starter, so barring injury, you have to assume Taylor Martinez will be taking the snaps this fall.
2013 Previews* Running Backs
* Wide Receivers
* Tight Ends
* Offensive Line
* Defensive Line
* Special Teams
Returning: Taylor Martinez, Sr.; Tommy Armstrong, Jr, RFr.; Ron Kellogg III, Sr.; Tyson Broekemeier, So.; Ryker Fife, RFr.; Evan Williams, RFr.
Incoming: Johnny Stanton, Verbal Commit
Outgoing: Brion Carnes (move to WR), Bronson Marsh (transfer to UNK)
Mike: With an all-Big Ten quarterback returning, this is pretty straightforward, you would think. We'll get our first glimpse of Tommy Armstrong this spring (unless we get another deluge on April 7th), and with Stanton's ACL injury, I expect Johnny is headed towards a redshirt season this fall. A lot of people have been impressed with Armstrong, and I've even heard some scuttlebutt that Armstrong could actually challenge Martinez this season. That might be excessive optimism, but you would like to see Armstrong get some meaningful playing time in 2013.
Billgrip: Love him or hate him, T-magic is back for one final season. He's rewriting the record books at a school that has certainly had it's share of incredible QB's in the past. He's improved his throwing mechanics and has 3 full years of starting experience under his belt. He's a hardened veteran who's every bit as electric as he was when many believed he would win a Heisman trophy. This is a no-brainer. Is it possible for Tommy Armstrong to take the job away from an experienced senior QB? Absolutely. That's exactly what Taylor did to his predecessor. But if that happens, Armstrong better be one heck of a special player. He has to be a special player because Taylor is a special player. If you don't agree with that by now, you never will. I'm sure Armstrong will do just fine in the spring game against a vanilla defense sprinkled with 3rd stringers, and the "anyone but Martinez" crowd will have just enough fuel to start a phantom QB controversy over the summer. But I've got a spoiler alert for you: Aside from injury, Martinez is the guy next year. Meaningful snaps for Tommy boy will be few and far between.
David McGee: It's going to be Taylor. Not much else to say. You don't go and put the all time offensive production leader in school history on the bench for his senior year. We all know Taylor's issues, but barring any sort of injury, he's going to be the guy. I wouldn't mind seeing them get Armstrong or whomever they intend to be Martinez's successor some action much like Gary Pinkel did at Mizzou with Chase Daniel, but this will be Taylor's team.
Jon Johnston: Agreed that this is Martinez job, barring injury, but David makes a good point. It seems to be pretty constant these days in college football that a sure starter plays nearly all the snaps throughout a season, so what we see is a big drop-off when the the experienced quarterback is done. Look at the Big Ten this past season, and you saw the drop off at Wisconsin (Russell Wilson), Michigan State (Kirk Cousins), Michigan when Denard Robinson was injured, and Minnesota when Marqueis Gray was injured. Success in 2013 will be a lot about Martinez and his ability to manage turnovers, but consistency will rely on getting a backup some meaningful playing time.
Brandon Cavanaugh: Putting aside the experience argument, at this point, the staff has put so much time, effort and resources into molding a truly gifted athlete into a quarterback. For all his faults, Martinez did improve from 2011 to 2012. I think everyone felt it was encouraging to see Tim Beck put in the kind of joint effort that he did with Steve Calhoun to make Martinez the best quarterback he could be for 2012.
It doesn't really make sense to not have separation between Armstrong and Stanton. Considering that Stanton's the newest scholarship quarterback to the program, logic dictates he be redshirted and give the scout team what I believe will be some very good looks. I expect to see Ron Kellogg III at No. 3, but I like what Tyson Broekemeier brings to the table.
Salt Creek: RON KELLOGG III is going to surprise all of us. I figured we needed a contrarian opinion. I'm not going as far as Cobby and going to Brion, but RK3 has experience and a clever abbreviation that calls to mind the dynamic playmaker for the Redskins. RK3 will beat out all of the contenders for QB and lead this team to its first conference championship in 14 years. (I'm kidding, it'll be International Man of Mystery Taylor Martinez. I really hope Nebraska finds a way to get a real QB coach on staff though - Stanton and Armstrong shouldn't have to pay for a QB consultant.)
For 2014, Armstrong SHOULD have the edge but maybe Stanton will be the next coming of Tommie Frazier. I hope not, because I'd hate to lock him out of the Heisman AND the College Hall of Fame. Also, that requires a QB coach - Tommie had Turner Gil. (Do you see the thread here?)