At his weekly Monday press conference, Bo Pelini talked about the status of Taylor Martinez. The news is not good for Nebraska's senior quarterback.
Pelini on possibility of a Taylor Martinez return this year: "I don't know if the chances are real good." Foot injury is main culprit.— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) November 11, 2013
This comment is going to bring out a mixed reaction from fans. Some fans wanted him benched after his freshman season, while others waited until his sophomore year. For those fans, it's a "FINALLY!" or "Hallelujah!"
Hopefully in private, though. I understand the frustration over the turnovers and sacks over the years. Martinez hasn't been the Peyton Manning-like well-spoken leader that some people would like him to be. He's an introvert who's not always the most comfortable in front of the microphone. That infamous quote about how he likes "playing against road games" inspired the parody that became the Tunnel Walk of Shame.
But he's also an all-Big Ten quarterback who led the team to multiple comeback wins last season. If his career is over, his name will be all over the Nebraska football record books. Although some fans will no doubt disagree with me on this, I remain convinced that a healthy Taylor Martinez is without a doubt Nebraska's best quarterback on it's roster.
But, the healthy version of Taylor Martinez hasn't existed since August, and it sounds like it likely won't be back in 2013. And that will end his career at Nebraska. If he hadn't played against Minnesota, Martinez theoretically could have applied for a medical hardship and returned in 2014. Now he's played in too many games, and more importantly, played in the second half of the season. Unlike Northwestern's Venric Mark, this season is it.
On senior day, how will Taylor Martinez be remembered? As the quarterback who led the team to two division championships and multiple thrilling comeback victories? Or as the guy that fans couldn't wait to move on from? Will he get the loudest of roars and cheers, or will he get the polite golf clap?
In other injury news:
Pelini said it was too early in the week to talk about where offensive guard Jake Cotton was in his bid to return #Huskers— Rich Kaipust (@RKaipustOWH) November 11, 2013
Pelini says we could see Andrew Rodriguez at both tackle and guard against Michigan State.— Dan Hoppen (@danhoppen) November 11, 2013
Well, that's not the most encouraging news going into a game against Michigan State.
Bo on chance of Abdullah skipping senior year: "I would be shocked if Ameer was a guy where that was even a thought in his mind right now."— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) November 11, 2013
I have to admit, the thought has crossed my mind that Abdullah might consider jumping to the NFL. We'll have to wait until spring to really know for sure.
Speaking of difference makers, what does Bo Pelini think of defensive end Randy Gregory?
Bo on Gregory: "I’m not throwing him into Suh’s category yet, but I think he can have that type of impact on our program down the line."— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) November 11, 2013
Those are big words. And while I haven't said things like that out loud, I've certainly thought things like that. He's got that kind of ability.
Bo on Westerkamp's punt muff: "I thought I was in a bad dream when I saw it happen."— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) November 11, 2013
You and a couple of million Husker fans as well. But after watching what seems to happen when Michigan takes to the field in athletic competition over the years, you can't be surprised. Even when the receiver with the best hands on the team inexplicably drops the ball in a critical situation.