Notebook: Nebraska Monday presser

Nebraska could get senior quarterback Taylor Martinez back this weekend, just in time as the Huskers hit a six-game stretch featuring all opponents over .500.

LINCOLN, Neb. - After not seeing the field in over a month, Nebraska senior quarterback Taylor Martinez (turf toe) could return to action this Saturday against the Minnesota Gophers.

Martinez, who was an All-Big Ten player last season, practiced on Sunday for the first time since the Huskers' match-up with UCLA on September 14.

"He took some reps and we will see how he progresses," said head coach Bo Pelini. "We will see if we can give him a little more Tuesday and just play it by ear as the week goes on…it's an injury that can take a long time, you just don't know."

Pelini has repeatedly stated Martinez will not play until he's 100 percent and more importantly can plant his foot and run up field.

"There are a lot of ifs," said Pelini. "He's got to feel comfortable putting his foot into the ground.

"Obviously he's got some rust in some areas that he's got to get cleaned up. It's going to be about getting back footwork wise and how he feels comfortable doing all the different movements and play actions and footwork."

In his absence, No .25 Nebraska (5-1) has won three in a row, using a two-quarterback system. The combination of redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong and senior Ron Kellogg III have thrown for 680 yards, with five touchdowns and three interceptions on 48-of-77 passing.

"I'm very optimistic, I would love to have Taylor back," said junior wide receiver Kenny Bell on Monday. "But, at the same time, I have just as much faith in Tommy and Ron if he can't play. They have been playing good football for us."

Getting to the meat of the schedule

After having two bye-weeks in a matter of 28 days, the Huskers will start a brutal six game stretch, with no time off and six games against opponents .500 or better at this time.

"Probably when I first looked at the schedule with two byes I wasn't thrilled, said Pelini. "But it's been a good thing for us. It has helped us prepare us for this six week stretch we're about to face. At the end of the day, it's my belief that we have to continue to progress as a football team, no matter who the opponent is."

A young defense, Nebraska has shown major signs of improvement in their last three contests, giving up only 15.3 points per game.

"I think our kids are looking forward to getting on the road for the second time," said Pelini. "There's a lot more development that needs to happen, if we keep getting better as the year goes on, we'll like the results."

Minnesota does what it does

Kenny Bell said it best on Monday, "Minnesota hasn't changed in three years."

That doesn't mean the Gophers haven't gotten better, the junior wide receiver will be the first to point it out, but schematically Nebraska knows what to expect this Saturday in Minneapolis.

"They believe in what they are doing," said Pelini. "They are physical up front and have good size. They are committed to what they do. They aren't necessarily looking to get fancy in some areas and they want to play ball control offense. They are heavily committed to stopping the run on defense. They do it well."

Minnesota is 5-2 on the season after beating Northwestern on the road 20-17 over the weekend. A win over Nebraska would make the Gophers bowl eligible in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2008-2009.

The search for a guard

Two weeks after losing All-American candidate Spencer Long up front for the season to a PCL injury, Nebraska is still in search for a starting guard to replace him.

While it appears junior Mike Moudy, who played in Long's absence against Purdue is the guy, questions remain who will be the third guard in the rotation and if Moudy will keep the job.

One option could be turning to junior college transfer Chongo Kondolo, who was scheduled to redshirt up to this point.

"That's always a consideration," said Pelini. "We have a lot of football left this year and we are going to do what will give us the best opportunity to win.

"We are trying to find our best combinations and the best way to go about it. We have only had four practices since [the injury] so we will see how it plays out."

Kondolo hasn't been getting first-team reps according to Pelini, but has been getting work in practice in case Nebraska would need him. The Fresno City College product did get work with the first-team unit before the season started, impressing Long for his ability to pickup the offense so fast.

Kondolo picked the Huskers over schools like Tennessee, Maryland, Illinois, Fresno State, and Florida State.


• Tight end Jake Long is questionable this weekend with an undisclosed injury. The senior was seen wearing a boot as he left practice last week.

* Nebraska's games with Northwestern next weekend has been scheduled for 2:30 CT on the Big Ten Network.

* Junior wide receiver Jamal Turner (hamstring) is completely healthy this week according to Pelini.

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports NEXT since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
Facebook | Twitter| E-Mail |

Big Red Report Top Stories