Husker Head Coach Bo Pelini says this week's fireworks surrounding him have not put a damper on Big Red preps for the Jackrabbits on Saturday. But there is the matter of the QB's wheels.
The team put in about two hours of practice on Tuesday after which the coach said, "The last 48 hours haven’t affected our team at all. I thought we had a great session yesterday. We got a lot of things accomplished and had a good meeting. We talked through a lot of things, and I saw those effects today. They came out and had a great practice. They were focused, and I think their mindset is the right way right now.”
And with the talk turning back to the field, here's something you'll want to take note of: senior starter Taylor Martinez is still a foot short of his game.
“Taylor did not practice today,” Pelini said. “He was in a boot, and he has some turf toe that’s bothering him. We’re going to keep him in a boot for a couple days, at least yesterday and today, and see how it goes.”
Since starting his first game as a true freshman in 2010, Martinez has started 42 of Nebraska’s 44 games at quarterback, including 32 straight contests. The last game that another quarterback started under center for the Huskers was the 2010 match-up with Colorado. However, Pelini has to have a backup plan in case Martinez is sidelined, and he mentioned it on Tuesday afternoon.
“Ron (Kellogg III) and Tommy (Armstrong Jr.) split the reps today,” Pelini said. “Who can execute the offense, lead it and execute the game plan will determine who would start if Taylor can’t go. We don’t have to change the game plan much between those two guys. We limited things a little bit, but I feel that those guys can both handle the full game and what we’re trying to do.”
Kellogg III, a fifth-year senior, has seen action in five career games, including the win over Southern Miss on September 7. In that game, Kellogg completed four of five passes for 24 yards and rushed once for nine yards.
On Tuesday, Pelini noted the confidence he has in his veteran quarterback.
“Ron is obviously an experienced guy with a tremendous amount of confidence who can really throw it around,” Pelini said. “Ron’s a smart football player that we can also use in the run game some.”
Nebraska’s other option at quarterback is redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong Jr., who also saw action against Southern Mississippi in week two. Armstrong gained 23 yards on four rushing attempts in his Husker debut.
Although he is known for his ability to make plays with his legs, Armstrong was praised by Coach Pelini on Tuesday for his intangibles and passing game.
“Tommy’s a real dual-threat guy and a great leader, I feel,” Pelini said. “He has a great command presence about him, and he can do a lot of different things. Obviously, he’s a big strong guy who can run, but he’s a very capable thrower and I like what he brings to the table for us.”
NU will face the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT.