Starting quarterback Taylor Martinez hasn’t played but a handful of live snaps this spring, but he might never come out of a game this fall.
“I want to win,” NU offensive coordinator Tim Beck said Monday. “We’ll do whatever we’ve got to do to win.
“If we’ve got to play Taylor every snap, then I’m going to play him every snap.”
Michigan got caught short in quarterback experience in Lincoln last season during a 23-9 loss.
Starter Denard Robinson left the game for good late in the second quarter with a nerve injury in his elbow. Michigan was driving for a go-ahead score at the time. His replacement, little-used Russell Bellomy, completed only 3 of 16 passes for 38 yards with three interceptions.
That loss left the Wolverines one game back of Nebraska in the Big Ten Legends Division.
Beck said such situations won’t impact his decision on trying to get whoever the Huskers’ No. 2 quarterback more game experience.
“We’re fortunate with our number of guys that we rep our No. 2,” he said. “And even our No. 3 gets some plays. Some programs, their No. 2 gets just two or three plays.
“When we do our two huddles, our guy is getting the same exact reps that Taylor is getting.”
A couple of months into the season, Beck said, even if the backup hasn’t played much, he will have run 60 plays a day in practice as opposed to 10 at a lot of schools.
Depth good at I-back
With Ameer Abdullah out, the carries at I-back this spring haven’t been limited to just Imani Cross and some Husker walk-ons like King Frazier and Graham Nabity.
Beck said Monday that fullbacks Mike Marrow and Andy Janovich have played some snaps at I-back and that Marrow “had a really nice scrimmage” on Saturday.
“We’ve used all kind of guys back there,” Beck said. “We threw Jano back there to get him a couple carries, just to see what he can do as a big back.”
Frazier, a redshirt freshman from Lee’s Summit, Mo., probably has benefited more from the practice reps than any of the backup I-backs. Beck said Frazier has been “catching a lot of the coaches’ attention.”
“Overall, I really like that group,” Beck said. “I like their physicality and how they’re playing and the toughness that they’re playing with, and they seem to get better in terms of knowing and grasping the offense.”
Mitchell feels confident
NU cornerback Josh Mitchell said better communication has helped lead to some of his progress in the Husker secondary.
“Right now, my confidence is high,” he said. “I just want to step into my role and try to become a leader out here. So I’m just trying to lead by example, and one way to do that is to have some good confidence.”
Nebraska has some of its best depth at cornerback, with Mitchell, Ciante Evans and Stanley Jean-Baptiste leading the veterans. When Andrew Green returns in August, he will join a group that also includes Mohammed Seisay, Daniel Davie and Jonathan Rose.
“It’s really competitive,” Mitchell said. “That’s what we want.”
Freshman end shines
It’s still early in the developmental process for defensive end Greg McMullen.
That’s what defensive coordinator John Papuchis told the redshirt freshman after McMullen showcased some of his potential ability with a productive scrimmage Saturday.
McMullen spent the 2012 season on the scout team, so he’s just now receiving first-team reps, tutelage and attention.
It seems the coaches would like McMullen to utilize his 6-foot-3, 285-pound frame more often, which is what happened Saturday, according to Papuchis.
“He’s a big, physical kid who’s athletic, and when he turns it loose, he’s hard to block,” Papuchis said. “I thought he took a good step forward on Saturday just because he turned it loose.”
‘D’ impresses Enunwa
Nebraska’s defense, now building confidence, sort of surprised its counterparts on offense during the opening plays of Saturday’s scrimmage, senior receiver Quincy Enunwa said.
The offense soon found its footing, Enunwa said, but he left the practice field impressed with the improvement of the inexperienced defenders, especially at linebacker.
“They were really firing,” Enunwa said. “They were really just competing out there, making plays, running all around the field. It was just really nice to see that, especially from young guys.”
— Lee Barfknecht, Rich Kaipust, Jon Nyatawa