Lincoln, NE – Over the next several days, Big Red Report will feature a series of positional breakdowns for the Nebraska, as the Huskers great ready for spring football.
Key Losses: None
Contenders: Martinez and Carnes
Breakdown: In just two seasons, Taylor Martinez has put up numbers that will deem him one of the best statistical quarterbacks in Nebraska football history. But if Martinez want's to be known as one of the greatest ever, a conference championship is a must.
The junior is already fifth all-time in quarterback rushing yards, ahead of names like Turner Gill, Scott Frost, and Gerry Gdowski. Through the air, he ranks sixth on the all-time career passing yards list, ahead of greats Tommie Frazier, Gill, and Vince Ferragamo.
Last season, Martinez started every game, and pushed his career record as a starter to 17-8. With a year of familiarity in the Tim Beck offense under his belt, fans expect Martinez to take his game to a new level. He showed great progression as a starter between year one and two. Martinez will need to use the spring to continue to grow.
Behind Martinez will likely be Brion Carnes. The Florida product was the talk of the summer after putting on a show in last year's spring game, but never seriously pushed Martinez as a starter in 2011 –only reporting for mop up duty in two contests.
Much like Martinez, Carnes has had a whole year to get to know the offense better. It's been said Nebraska would like to pass even more than they did in 2011, and Carnes is thought to be the better passer of the scholarship quarterbacks on campus. It's unlikely a quarterback controversy will begin to form, with Martinez being a two-year starter, but Carnes will be given the chance to lock down the back-up role. If he struggles, incoming freshman Tommy Armstrong should be good enough early to contend for the No. 2 spot in the fall. Carnes should take even more of the spring reps than he did last year, considering Cody Green was on the roster at the time.
Rounding out the quarterback depth chart in the spring will be Ron Kellogg, Tyson Broekemeier, and Anthony Ridder. Broekemeier has the tools to possibly be the best throwing quarterback among the five, but missed time last year after tearing his ACL. The freshman did return for light throwing during Capital One Bowl practices, which begs the question, how healthy is he two and a half months later.
Outlook: It's concerning Nebraska only has two scholarship quarterbacks on roster right now, but it never hurts to have a two-year starter in the fold. Quarterback should not be a position to worry about in the spring.