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March 28, 2011One of the biggest knocks with sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez a year ago was his leadership skills.
Martinez addressed this topic, along with several others on Monday in what was his first media interview since Nebraska's 20-3 win over Kansas on Nov. 13.
Martinez said on Monday that he feels more comfortable in his role as NU's starting quarterback and he's ready to take more ownership of this football team.
"I'm a lot more comfortable," Martinez said. "Last year Zac (Lee) was a senior and I didn't want to feel like I was overtaking him. I didn't want to give the feel to all the seniors that I was just a freshman trying to lead them. This year I'm much more of a leader.
"I really haven't taken more steps. I've always been the same leader. I don't really go up (to guys) and slap them on the butt. I show it more on the field."
Another thing Martinez wanted to put to rest on Monday was some of the rumors that were flying around about him in November and December.
It was speculated by several people that Martinez considered leaving Nebraska, but he said that was never the case at all.
"I never was going to leave," Martinez said. "All that stuff that came out was all rumors. I'm just letting you guys know it was all rumors."
Martinez added that the criticism he received a year ago was also something that he didn't let bother him.
"(The criticism) didn't wear on me at all," Martinez said. "I don't' really go home and watch TV and listen to stuff that you guys write or other guys write. I got some criticism. I've heard it from some players and coaches and other people around town that they don't like me, but I don't really care what people think about me."
When asked about his thoughts of losing Shawn Watson to Louisville over the off-season, Martinez said he was obviously disappointed, but he's also excited to work with newly named offensive coordinator Tim Beck.
It's been an adjustment for Martinez to learn Beck's new system, but he feels like it will really compliment his strengths once he's comfortable with everything.
"It's starting to come back for me and I'm starting to get back into a rhythm," Martinez said. "I'm still trying to learn this offense and I'm still trying to get used to it, but once I learn it, it will be really good.
"I was shocked that Coach (Shawn) Watson left because I really liked him. I wish he would've stayed here and I wish we could've kept running that offense, but I'm glad Coach Beck moved from the running backs coach to the offensive coordinator."
Sophomore wide receiver Quincy Enunwa said on Monday that he's already noticed improvements in several areas from Martinez this spring.
Enunwa said in particular he's become a better leader and is playing with more confidence.
"(Martinez) is definitely making his reads going through every read instead of just taking it down and running it," Enunwa said. "We're obviously fine with him running, because he's a great runner, but he's making the right reads now and getting the ball to where it needs to go."