Will Taylor Martinez be the difference?
Huge game, huge weekend.
Nebraska visits Stillwater on Saturday and in today’s edition of Behind Enemy Lines, Nebraska beat writer Brian Rosenthal of the Lincoln Journal Star.
1. How have the Huskers responded in practice this week after a disappointing loss to Texas?
Reporters can’t watch practice at Nebraska, so we can only judge by what players and coaches are saying. The mood at the weekly Tuesday press conference seemed more somber than usual, but tight ends coach Ron Brown said he’s seen great resiliency from the team.
2. How has Taylor Martinez responded to his benching?
Martinez hasn’t spoken to reporters since the Texas game, and by nature he’s very quiet and a difficult person to read. That said, Martinez showed the last time he was benched – in the South Dakota State game – that he’s not fazed. The next game he ran for 241 yards against Kansas State. Coaches and players reiterate that Martinez has a very strong confidence.
3. Who could be an X-factor for the Huskers?
I’d keep an eye on Kyler Reed. He’s a tight end with receiver speed and skill, and aside from the long TD reception at Kansas State, has been relatively quiet.
4. Biggest strength offensively? Defensively?
Nebraska’s strength on offensive is Taylor Martinez’s speed. He’s the difference between last year’s sputtering unit and this year’s offense that, until Texas, had been among the most productive in the nation. Defensively, if there’s a better secondary in the nation than Nebraska’s, I’ve yet to see it, hear it or read about it. But Oklahoma State will present, by far, the most difficult challenge to date for cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Alfonzo Dennard.
5. Biggest concern offensively? Defensively?
The biggest concern on offense? Ball security. Nebraska has fumbled 23 times this season, and against Texas dropped eight passes, including three for touchdowns. The defense has been suspect in stopping the run. The line obviously misses Ndamukong Suh, probably more than some expected, actually. Tackling was a major problem against Texas, but until that game, has been very sound.
6. Any freshmen to keep an eye on?
Martinez is obviously Nebraska’s most notable freshman, although he’s a redshirt. True freshman Quincy Enunwa has played some at wide receiver, but isn’t a major contributor. Other than some backup duty by Andrew Rodriquez on the offensive line, and by Ciante Evans in the secondary, there have been no other true freshmen play.
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