The status of starting quarterback Taylor Martinez remains undetermined Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said at his Monday press conference. That could mean redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong will get his first taste of a road environment as the Huskers begin to prepare for Purdue and the first road game of the season.
“Taylor’s business as usual right now,” Pelini said. “I think he felt a lot better yesterday. It’s day to day and if he’s ready to play, he’ll play. We’ll see how the next couple days play out.”
Pelini gave a pretty clear picture of where Martinez is at in his recovery and exactly what the Nebraska coaching staff is looking for to determine if he’s ready to go.
“I think he can run full speed right now, but can he get to full speed in a hurry? No. That’s the issue,” Pelini said.
“Right now he’s having trouble planting on that foot and pushing off and getting to full speed. If he could ease into it (he’d be OK), but that’s not how the game is played. You’ve got to put that foot in the ground and he’s got to have comfort and confidence that he can do that.”
With roster limitations on the road, Pelini said he still expects Martinez to travel regardless of whether he is available to play or not.
A few other notes from the Huskers’ weekly meeting with the media:
–Pelini said he expects wide receiver Jamal Turner (hamstring) and cornerback Josh Mitchell (ankle) to return to action in the “next couple of days.” The two starters left with injuries in the second half of the Huskers’ win over Illinois.
–Kenny Bell’s one-handed catch for a 37-yard touchdown was still a hot topic of discussion Monday. The junior wide receiver was asked if he heard from any new or surprising people on Twitter following the grab:
“SportsCenter is really the only one that surprised me,” Bell said. “That was kind of cool. SportsCenter and College Gameday were the only ones that really surprised me.”
But Pelini was willing to add another name to the “surprised list.”
“I felt bad for the safety because I think the safety thought he had a pick. Having played that position, I’ve been there,” he said.
–A week after playing what Pelini called his “best game,” defensive end Randy Gregory is in the unique position of having to prepare to face the team he thought he’d be playing for. Twice.
Gregory, an Indiana native, committed to Purdue out of high school and maintained that commitment after his freshman season at Arizona Western Community College. But after he got injured after the first game of his sophomore season, Nebraska stepped in and, when the Boilermakers’ brass decided to make a coaching change at the end of the 2012 season, Gregory made the switch.
“Lucky for me, the staff got fired the same weekend (I visited Lincoln),” Gregory said. “That kind of made it easy for me.”
But Gregory’s Purdue connections still run deep. He said that he’s been to West Lafayette for a handful of home games and knows a number of players on the team having grown up 90 minutes away.
–When asked if he was read to make a start on the road, quarterback Tommy Armstrong responded with a simple “yes sir.”
There’s a reason for that confidence.
“Our state championship games were played in Cowboys Stadium. That was, I think, 40,000 (people). We played in Houston, that’s 20,000. Our high school, we had up to maybe 15,000 or 10,000. That helped a lot,” Armstrong said.
As a junior Armstrong led Cibolo Steele to the Texas 5A Division 2 state title as a junior and made a return trip to the state championship game as a senior.