Senior quarterback Taylor Martinez was again on the practice field Tuesday night for the Huskers after seeing his first reps on Sunday. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck said it will likely be a “game-time” decision as to whether or not Martinez will play this week.
“He’s doing what he can do right now, and we’re just easing him back into things,” Beck said. “If he needs a break, we give him a break. It’s a day-to-day, period-to-period deal.”
Which quarterback will earn the start against Minnesota? That too remains to be seen.
“Both (Tommy Armstrong) and (Martinez) have earned the right to play, but you can only play one guy at a time,” Beck said. “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, but we’re going to play the best guy, the healthiest guy and the guy that’s going to help us win.”
A few other notes from Tuesday’s practice:
–After relying heavily on running backs in the first half of the season, running backs coach Ron Brown praised the work ethic of his stable. Brown said it’s not just the starters who train as if they’re going to get most of the snaps.
“I don’t want a lazy streak in my room at all,” Brown said. “And the lazy people in my room will eventually want to leave. So you get a guy like Ameer busting his tail all the time, Imani (Cross), C.J. (Zimmerer), (Andy) Janovich, all those guys, they’re constantly working out.”
A coach has to be careful though, Brown said. Young tailbacks can sometimes work to a point of diminishing returns, which the veteran assistant has seen before plenty of times.
“The big thing I want to do is to teach them how to not overtrain,” Brown said. “I’d rather have to back them off as a coach then to spur them on. If I have to spur on a guy, that usually spells trouble.”
–Wide receiver Jamal Turner said he’s nearly back to 100 percent in terms of health after playing nicked up against Purdue in West Lafayette. The junior said playing in that game might not have been the best decision on his part.
“The crazy thing was, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to play or even travel,” he said. “But I was telling them ‘hey I’m fine, I want to play, I’m good’ and they were like ‘OK if you play, we’re going to put all this stuff on you, make sure you don’t hurt it again.’”
Turner said he wanted to contribute, even if he didn’t start. Turner shook his head thinking about his dropped pass.
“That’s a ball I could catch,” he said. “I could have dove for it or something, even though I’m not healthy. So that play kind of sticks in the back of my mind.”
–Tight end Sam Cotton said Tuesday after practice that despite the loss of seniors Ben Cotton and Kyler Reed last season in addition to the fluctuating quarterback situation, the role of the tight ends has stayed the same in Tim Beck’s offense.
“From the tight end standpoint, we weren’t gonna change our offense, it was up to the tight ends to step up and show the offense that we can handle our part,” Cotton said.
Cotton said he’ll take pride in catches and his route running, but always strives to be the most physical player as “an extension of the offensive line.”
“I want to look back and say ‘I really blocked the crap out of that guy,’ because everybody can catch a ball,” he said. “Really playing smart and playing physical is the stuff that I want to do.”