Have the Nebraska Cornhuskers turned into the Oakland Raiders?

The quarterback shuns teammates and makes cellphone calls during games. The coach has gone stark-raving mad. Are we sure this is Nebraska the Oklahoma Sooners will face in Saturday's Big 12 title game?
by Jenni Carlson Modified: December 2, 2010 at 11:51 am •  Published: December 1, 2010

The starting quarterback got benched during the big game, then stood sullenly alone on the sidelines. Several weeks later, he went to the locker room for treatment during a game but apparently phoned home instead.

The head coach had a near meltdown, unleashing his fury on the referees and his quarterback, then chasing after one of the officials before going to the middle of the field for the postgame handshake.

The big boss called out the coach in the media before having a do-better talk with him.

Sounds like the Oakland Raiders.

It's actually the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

A program long known for its solid reputation and its winning ways has lost its luster. Oh, the Cornhuskers are winning again, returning to the Big 12 championship game, preparing to face Oklahoma on Saturday night and aiming for their first conference title this decade, but the shine is off Nebraska.

Truth be told, this was a team that seemed to be in total disarray the second half of the season.

It started with the Texas game in mid-October. Taylor Martinez came into the game as a potential Heisman Trophy contender, but the quarterback was pulled in the third quarter for ineffectiveness.

He was off. He was abysmal. And that was after his benching.

Martinez spent the rest of that game all but ignoring his teammates. He wasn't in the offensive meetings on the sidelines offering encouragement. He wasn't in backup Zac Lee's ear giving support. Remember, too, that was a hard-fought game won by Texas by only a touchdown.

I understand that Martinez was disappointed, but as the starting quarterback, he is a team leader.

He needed to act like it.

The person Martinez might've talked to most during the second half of that game was his father. Late in the contest, Martinez's dad made his way down to the bench from his seat in the stadium, and father and son spent the last minute and a half of the game talking.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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