Nebraska football fans have watched quarterback Taylor Martinez grow from a shy, intriguing freshman to one of the program's most prolific signal-callers. Reporters have seen the senior from Corona, Calif., evolve from reluctant interview subject to team captain and more comfortable spokesman.
Martinez still knows when to keep things quiet. He was pressed twice about possible sanctions for those who fumble in practice.
An easy question, but one of those team things. Yes, it would be fun to know if the coaches are monsters and make them watch a bad '80s movie or maybe run a few gassers for each turnover. On the second attempt, Martinez smiled and said, “We'll keep that to ourselves.”
The guy is good.
Q: Has the offense been clicking as you hoped it would?
A: I'm very excited on how the team's progressed these four days. I can't wait to see the next 24, 25 days. The offense is looking really good so far right now. Everyone's coming back, we're all clicking. I'm really glad how the defense is coming along right now.
Q: What do you think of that defense? You get to go against them every day.
A: They're looking really good so far. They're fast and they really don't look like they're young anymore. They've come a long way since the spring.
Q: How's the ball security gone for you and the rest of the offense in the early practices?
A: Really good. I don't think a ball has been on the ground yet. Maybe one or two balls. Except for maybe just like on little weird drills; other than that, like in team situations, I don't think the ball's been on the ground.
Q: Can you talk about the toughness Tim Beck has shown coming back from that (jaw) surgery? It looks like he was in a lot of pain still out there with you guys.
A: Even in meetings he's in a lot of pain. I think his whole mouth is still numb, so it's really tough on him. It just shows he loves coaching, he loves what he does. I just can't thank him enough for making himself better and coming out here and making us better.
Q: Has he tried to yell yet with his mouth wired shut?
A: No, he hasn't had to yell yet. He has other coaches get on us.
Q: Does he have you doing any of that, getting on other players?
A: We have a lot of veteran guys up front and all around, so we really don't have to say much.
Q: Going into your senior year, how are you approaching (going for statistical records) your last go-round with the team?
A: Just keep going out there and having fun, just taking it one game at a time. Just keep on winning. That's the most important thing, and everything else will fall in place.
Q: You've had two wide receivers (Tyler Wullenwaber and Taariq Allen) both coming off knee injuries. How have those two looked so far?
A: So far they've looked really good. It doesn't look like they've had knee surgery at all. I'm really happy they're back on the field.
Q: How is Johnny Stanton looking? And what do you tell a guy when he's a true freshman and he comes in? Now that you're a senior, do you give him any advice?
A: He's looking good so far. He's still young and he's still learning. It's like learning a whole new language. You're not going to be able to go out there and be perfect in the offense your first year or second year, or learning it in a week or two. It doesn't matter if you make mistakes, you just have to be able to go out there and do what you learned from the meetings and from your mistakes, and you'll get better.
Q: You mentioned wanting to go out and continue to have fun. But in the back of your mind, winning a title of some kind, where does that come in?
A: It's not really in my mind right now. We're just taking one game at a time, and that's what my mindset is. I think that's what the whole team's mindset is. If you take one game at a time, you can't really look too far ahead. If you win, you win. If you don't, you don't. I don't want to set my goals to winning a championship, so I'm happy and I'm satisfied with what I've done so far at Nebraska.
Q: Taking it one game at a time, have you started thinking about Wyoming (NU's opening game Aug. 31) at all?
A: We haven't really thought much about Wyoming. We're just focusing on our defense and installing plays. There's a lot of new plays coming in on offense. We're just trying to keep on picking that stuff up.