October 18, 2010

Pelini second-guesses pulling Martinez

There were more than a few Nebraska fans who were a bit stunned when star quarterback Taylor Martinez was benched in the third quarter during Saturday's 20-13 loss to Texas in favor of senior Zac Lee.

Though Lee did a decent job of managing the offense and leading one scoring drive and coming a dropped pass short of leading another, there was a lingering debate over whether pulling the young but talented Martinez was the best decision in the long run.

After two days to mull on his decision, head coach Bo Pelini said he might reconsider the move if he had to do it all over again.

"You look back, and I don't know if it was the right thing to do," Pelini said during his interview on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference on Monday. "If you look back Taylor wasn't the only problem. We were just looking for a spark. It was a tough situation as a young guy, and like I said, you live and learn as a head coach. You don't know if that was the right decision to make, but it was the decision that was made, and you move forward."

In his nine possessions against the Longhorns, Martinez led the Huskers to just three points and five fumbles (one lost) on 4-of-16 passing for 63 yards and 13 carries for 21 yards.

To his credit, his numbers would have been significantly better had his receivers not dropped three potential touchdown passes during the game. Even so, Nebraska's coaching staff decided it had to do something to give its offense a spark, and Martinez just seemed like the obvious scapegoat.

Looking back, Pelini said the combination of Nebraska's missed opportunities and the play of Texas's defense would have made it tough for any of his quarterbacks to have much success on Saturday.

"I give credit to Texas," Pelini said. "I think they did a good job, but I always believe it comes back to executing. We didn't do that consitently. We had a number of missed opportunities and blown opportunities, and you've got to make plays. We left some yards and left some things out on the field, and it's hard to do against a good football team. We've just got to execute better, and it comes back to us doing our thing with consistency."

As both he and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson insisted after the game, Pelini once again said Martinez was still be the starting quarterback and that nothing had changed in NU's offensive approach.

When asked one final time about Martinez's standing with the coaching staff at this point, Pelini clearly and sternly put the issue to rest.

"I have confidence in Taylor Martinez," he said. "I'll just leave it at that. I mean, I have a tremendous amount of confidence in the guy. I'm really not going to revisit that anymore."

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