While Bo Pelini isn't saying anything, it would seem that with the precious little we have heard about the quarterbacks, might lend to the idea that as much as things change, they really don't change that much at all.
We haven't gotten any indication that anyone has separated themselves from the others. That's how Bo likes it as he either doesn't want his players to know or it's the rest of the world he's trying to keep in the dark. As it is, it puts us in a bit of a state of guessing to try and figure out how this whole quarterback situation will shake out come Saturday.
My logic for this simply goes from what we know and what we think we know.
We know senior Zac Lee has the most experience. We know that Lee was the quarterback the coaches opted to keep at starter when sophomore Cody Green got his shot against Baylor and Oklahoma with mixed results. We know that Zac Lee had surgery in the off season to repair an elbow issue which apparently nagged him for the entire conference season last year. And we know that perhaps his best game of the season came against Arizona in the Holiday Bowl, where he, along with a stout performance by the offensive line, put their best performance of the year together, when you are looking at both sides of the ball and the opponent being more than a Sun Belt tomato can team.
Zac Lee should still be the man, at least early on
We know sophomore Cody Green has two starts under his belt. We know Cody Green is a better runner than Lee, and from watching him play we can say that we think he still has a ways to go in managing this offense, learning when to and when not to throw the ball as well as just his accuracy. We can assume he's fairly adept at the system with a season of actually practicing in the Husker offense.
As for Taylor Martinez, we know he can run, and we know he hasn't played in an actual game.
Just from a purely logical standpoint, that tells me Lee starts, Green backs him up and Martinez would be number three.
But as the Husker coaches are going to want to see what they have from all three, and the opponent (Western Kentucky) is expected to be woeful this year under a new coaching staff, that might give them a bit of wiggle room depending on how the early part of the game goes.
So, this is how I figure it's going to go, and it's not dissimilar to how the last game of preseason works in the NFL:
Zac Lee will start. They will throw him in a lot of situations, see how he's running and see how he manages the pocket. While this isn't a game where Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson is likely to start throwing in the kitchen sink when it comes to a game plan, I imagine he will want to test as much of each QB's versatility as he can. And with an expectedly solid running game, that should give each QB a chance to be able to make plays with the knowledge that they won't have to make them all.
So, Lee starts, and depending on how the game goes in the first half, he could play all of the first quarter and maybe a bit into the second. If the defense is stiff and WKU really can't do much of anything, I'd wager Green could go in, and he'll get a similar package of plays to Lee.
|Green won't have a better opportunity than now to show if he's improved
and if so, how much.
Once they get into the second half, if it's a blowout by that point, Green might get a few reps early, but I would expect Martinez to come in so that they can work him through his paces. With Martinez, it's pretty obvious his big strength is running. But they will want to put him in situations where he has to make plays with his arm. If it's indeed a blowout, though, I doubt Watson will go crazy with deep balls. So, given the scenario of a lopsided score by the point he goes in, it will be a lot of running and the passing game will be a lot of short stuff, screens, passes off into the flats, crossing routes, etc. They would probably opt for that strategy with Martinez anyway, because what little he did do in the Spring Game, didn't really prove all that much when it comes to accuracy, consistency and decision making.
All of this depends on, of course, how the game will go. But to me this might be the worst team Nebraska has faced since Bo Pelini arrived. It's not that they don't have some talent, but it's not much. And they are coming off a winless season last year, and this year they are sporting a brand new coaching staff. For WKU, this is a money game, and perhaps a chance to figure out who some of your playmakers are. But don't kid yourself, this match up isn't so much a match up as it is a mauling waiting to happen.
With all that in mind, that will give Watson and company a chance to shake the cobwebs out of the offense, see what each of the quarterbacks can do and yes, I definitely expect to see three, and maybe even four if the score gets that out of hand.