Lincoln, NE - After working out with quarterback guru Steve Calhoun and participating in the Manning Camp, Nebraska junior quarterback Taylor Martinez isn't backing down from his National Championship goals. He also has a few new ones.
"70 percent or above," said Martinez when asked about his desired completion percentage in 2012 – he threw 56.3 percent in 2011. "This is my first time ever in a second-year offense and I think this year the receivers and the tight ends are going to be really good. I actually know where to go with the ball now. I've learned a lot.
"I'm more comfortable and more knowing what our game plan is. Last year we kind of switched it up a lot and we really didn't know what Coach Beck wanted early on in the games. We really didn't know how to prepare for them and a lot of times when we went into a game; we had to change up our game plan. We know what defenses are going to give us this year, so it's a lot better for us and Coach Beck."
Completely healthy entering practices on Saturday, Martinez revealed to reporters on Friday injuries from his 2010 freshman campaign hampered him going into last season.
"Pretty much everything that was nagging me. I actually didn't go into cleats until I think the first day of fall camp," said the junior. "Right now is the best I've felt since my redshirt freshman year."
A healthy Martinez might also mean fans will see him out of the pocket more in 2011, something that could help open things up in the passing game.
"I think this year I will be running the ball a lot more," said Martinez. "Hopefully our backups will learn a lot more this year and be more experienced from the offense. Hopefully this year I can take more hits and run the ball a lot more."
Martinez was asked on Friday to access his development as a quarterback during his time in Lincoln and over the summer.
"I grew a lot with my throwing motion and stuff like that. I've grown as a leader, as a vocal leader and as a better player on the team," said the junior.
"With it being his second year in the offense, he just looks more comfortable and more confident. It's a fun thing to see," said Ben Cotton. "Going through seven-on-seven all summer, he's seeing his reads, sticking to his reads and getting the ball where it needs to go whether it's deep down field or in the backfield. He's doing a great job getting the ball to the guy who's open and the guy who's going to gain yards for us. I'm proud to say Taylor has come a long way as far as being more comfortable and more confident."