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NEBRASKA FOOTBALL: Is T-Magic Turning The Corner?

By Huskerlocker @huskerlocker

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By Brandon Cavanaugh
Almost three months ago, 77,670 red-clad fans saw Taylor Martinez struggle versus vanilla defensive looks during Nebraska’s annual Red-White Spring Game. After comparing him to the competition that day, a few eyebrows rose. Some felt that it was only a matter of time before the same kid who was touted as a potential Heisman candidate early during the 2010 season was put on the shelf. As we draw closer to fall camp, a transformation is taking place.
Over the past year, Martinez could be compared to the elusive Bigfoot. If you could snap a photo of him, handing it over to the National Enquirer might net you some quick cash. He's now seen hanging out with clusters of teammates. Shortly after settling in, freshman running back Aaron Green tweeted that the sophomore quarterback was palling around with him and other Cornhuskers.
He even sat down with’s Dennis Dodd to talk about the infamous incident between him and Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini last November. The important thing about the interview with Dodd isn’t that Martinez stood up for Pelini or that he explained things from his point of view with poise, but that the discussion took place at all. This isn’t the same young man that bashfully stammered through his first post-game dialogue after the Cornhuskers hammered Western Kentucky 49-10 to open the 2010 season.
For the past few months, there has been speculation about whether or not Martinez could take a step back, analyze his redshirt freshman year for what it was and move forward. Thanks to several of his teammates, that appears to be what’s happening and this can only mean good things for the future of both Nebraska’s offense and the Cornhuskers’ team as a whole.
He has several weeks to continue sharpening his skills in Nebraska’s new offensive system and having a talented athlete like Brion Carnes to push him will test his nerve. Determining the better quarterback between Ron Kellogg and Tyson Broekemeier to round out the top three will be crucial to the Cornhuskers’ success in 2011 as Bubba Starling’s place on the roster is written in pencil.
Martinez seems to be making mental strides heading into the heart of summer, but there's still much to be answered. While he has to be considered the odds-on favorite to start versus UT-Chattanooga, he’ll have to show that he can display the confidence that he’s regaining for sixty minutes of football. In the meantime, it’s good to see “T-Magic” get a smile back on his face. If Nebraska wants to have a legitimate shot at any major hardware this season, he needs to be able to keep it there.
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