BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP: Five NU Players to Watch

By at December 3, 2010 | 11:00 AM | Print

Five NU players to watch in the Big 12 Championship:

Quarterback Taylor Martinez: Count on him playing Saturday, and I think he'll start. Is that a good idea? Only his performance will tell. My take is Martinez at 80 percent isn't as effective as Cody Green at 100 percent because Martinez doesn't have his speed and he doesn't have good enough passing mechanics to make accurate throws while injured. If he's close to 100 percent, though – and that ankle is healed enough that Martinez only needs a shot to numb his severely stubbed toe – he's the right guy to run the Huskers' offense.

Quarterback Cody Green: If Martinez falters, it's the Green Team. What does he have to do? Make throws on third down and not fumble. He's been pretty good on the first count. Not so consistent on the second one. His performance in the Colorado game earned an extra measure of Bo Pelini's trust, however, and that counts for something.

Running back Rex Burkhead: Nebraska's go-to guy in the Wildcat and on passing downs. He'll be called upon to pick up Oklahoma's various, effective blitzes and fulfilling that role may be more important than anything he does with his feet. I'd be surprised if the Wildcat is terribly effective against OU, whether Martinez or Green is the quarterback.

Defensive tackle Jared Crick: He was an absolute terror in the OU game last year, mauling the Sooners' line and making life hell for Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones all night. His quick-twitch speed off the ball will help the Huskers against the no-huddle; Crick can effectively penetrate to break up some of those OU power plays.

Peso Eric Hagg: He'll be busy Saturday. Busier than usual, I suspect. Because OU uses so many different formations and temps in its offense, Hagg will have do a little bit of everything. Play inside the box. Tackle in space. Cover Ryan Broyles in the slot. His versatility will come in quite handy.

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