Inter-Squad Scrimmages, Taylor Martinez and Miles’ Hire one Week Later

By at March 31, 2012 | 9:58 AM | Print

Inter-Squad Scrimmages, Taylor Martinez and Miles’ Hire one Week Later

Every week, the Husker Locker staff sits down after being presented a number of questions addressing various aspects of Nebraska Cornhuskers sports. With no prior knowledge of the other panelists’ answers, here are their thoughts:

This week:

ESPN.com’s Brian Bennett recently threw out the idea of schools scrimmaging against others instead of each other. Would you be interested in seeing this?

Brian: I wouldn’t mind this. It’s a common thing to have NCAA basketball teams scrimmage against each other in the preseason.

Score isn’t kept and it’s mostly only for stats, but I wouldn’t think that one scrimmage against a team you’re not scheduled to see in the season wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

James: Obviously it would be much more interesting to send your ones against another team’s, and actually coach like a game.

The downside is this needs to be considered to be a “pre-season” game. Do you play another power program (Nebraska/Michigan) or maybe a non conference team (Nebraska/Oklahoma as a spring tradition)? You also may only have a spring game every other year.

If you work it where Nebraska pays a team to come in, say Kansas or South Dakota State, you don’t really get the level of competition you’re looking for.

Plus, you might have a coach from a smaller school try to beat Nebraska during a spring game and use it as a motivational tool.

No one really thinks pre-season games in the NFL mean anything, but most early regular season games don’t mean much either. College football fans aren’t trained that way.

One way or another, spring scrimmages would ultimately effect the polls, which would then cause coaches to take them more seriously, potentially diluting their “practice” usage.

I think if you could do it with a friendly program, ensure Nebraska still has a spring game annually at home. One away and one at home could be cool, but you must have strict rules are in place (talking Pro Bowl type stuff here) to ensure the result is ultimately meaningless beyond being good practice.

Chris: While I think this would be a fun idea, I also don’t know how practical it is. However, they do make it work in basketball.

It just seems like your risks for injuries would be higher in a less controlled environment, but quarterbacks could still wear the green jerseys. Also, it’d be a lot more expensive for most schools who are already struggling to keep up with travel costs during the season.

You’d think some schools would call this an unfair advantage.

Greg: Personally, I don’t see the sense in doing this. First, if it’s in place of the Spring Game, not all athletes will be on campus. If it’s in August, you risk injury that could sideline an athlete for months. My two cents: it’s not worth it.

Brandon: Honestly, I would. Naturally, there’s a risk factor to be taken into account, but the idea of Nebraska versus Iowa or Kansas sounds like a cool idea.

If the schools wanted to run with it, there seems to be not only a bump in earning potential, but exposure on larger television networks seems to be a given.

That said, I enjoy the controlled aspect of the current “major” spring scrimmage along with the environment provided for visiting recruits. You could make the argument for a scrimmage versus another team and having Nebraska’s original spring game, though.

This idea has profit potential, but I’m not sure all coaches would find the risk acceptable. Brady Hoke sure does. I doubt Bo would, but if someone wants to ask…

Do you think Taylor Martinez’s recent work in California and the staff’s continuous focus on his footwork this offseason pays dividends this fall?

Brian: Well…no?

We were told last year how better Taylor was getting in the pocket and how much more comfortable he looked. While he didn’t lose more games for Nebraska per se, he sure didn’t go out and win anything with his legs.

The arm was better at times through the year, but I will hold judgement till December at best to see what kind of improvement Taylor has.

One other point about this: if Nebraska was serious about Taylor getting better, not to mention Brion, there should be a quarterback coach on this staff.

Whether you give the job to Tim Beck or hire someone like Joe Ganz, if you’re that serious about it, don’t pay an outsider to assist a player who touches the ball every single offensive play. Rex is probably the only exception to that rule.

James: We’ll see, it’s one thing to do it in practice, it’s another thing when the game is on.

Fortunately, Taylor is a third-year starter, so hopefully all of the training won’t go right out the window. I will say this: in the spring practice footage I’ve seen, he looks like an actual quarterback.

Maybe not a great one, but much more like a one than last in season’s highlights which get cut up to mock his throwing motion and footwork.

Chris: To some degree, it has to.

Taylor’s footwork has been awful his first two seasons, so any improvement should help. I get leery of reports about how much a guy has changed his mechanics, worked all off season, etc. during the spring as it seems like we hear it every year to no avail.

However, Beck did seem very confident in Taylor on BTN, and was critical of Taylor’s footwork from last season, so that is a good sign.

Until T-Mart can do it in front of live bullets, my concerns about the passing game remain in place.

Greg: What about the work on his throwing motion, as it’s bowling-shoe ugly? (Editor’s note: Expect an angry e-mail from Brian)

Any improvement from Taylor will be welcomed. As this is his third year as starter, he should have a strong enough grasp on what it takes to succeed at Nebraska.

To answer your question with a question, will Tim Beck open the playbook and show us the T-Magic of two years ago to make Taylor a true dual-threat QB?

Brandon: Practice doesn’t need to make perfect for Taylor, it simply needs to help him continue to improve.

He’s to the point where baby steps aren’t acceptable anymore, though. There needs to be obvious improvement from last year to his junior season and beyond.

It’s encouraging to see him spending time with specialists and for the offensive staff to be drilling home better footwork. If he can drops back further and curtail his hopping in the pocket, there are strides to be made in the passing game based on those changes alone.

At this point, who/what are you looking forward to watching most during the Spring Game?

Brian: Who the leaders are on both sides of the ball. We all know it’s Rex’s show on the offense, and now Kenny Bell and Quincy Enunwa have stepped into that role somewhat or so we’ve been told.

Defensively, it’s time that someone who has been around like a Will Compton or a PJ Smith to step up and be the chief among the indians. That could be the role that a guy like Mo Seisay could step into, but for now the BMOCs have to show themselves.

James: Martinez’s throwing motion, the offensive line, David Santos, Jamal Turner and Aaron Green.

Chris: 1. Mohammed Seisay – Can he lock down a corner spot and replace Dennard?

2. Aaron Green – I loved this kid’s film. I want to see him with that sort of confidence at this level.

3. Jamal Turner – I believe he is our best offensive weapon and I’d like to see him used as such this season. It all starts in the spring again.

4. Taylor Martinez – is all of the hype true? Did he really improve his mechanics?

Greg: How about that defense? Let’s see how they work, how those hips move, and how much of an understanding they have of the schemes.

Brandon: It’s tied between the offensive line and quarterbacks. I’m interested in seeing if the left hand knows what the right’s doing under Cotton/Garrison this year, and it’s hard to not be at least somewhat curious to see if quarterbacks have improved, plateaued or regressed at this stage.

One week removed, how do you feel about the Tim Miles hire?

Brian: I’m a little more open to it, then I read that John Groce went for the same price as Miles. Does it mean that he said no to Nebraska? No one knows.

He could have been thinking about it, he could have said no to the same amount of money or even more. The fact that non-basketball people told Tom Osborne that it was a good hire combined with the fact that the only good thing I have been told about it “just give him a chance” is making me leery.

Miles is off to a good start with a big PR push. To keep the fire going, he’s going to have to get some momentum that will take him through a possible 10 win max first year. Getting Akoy Agau from Omaha will help, too.

Is Agau a great get? If you’re in Lincoln, and these are the kids you have been losing to Creighton and Minnesota, he sure is.

James: Probably the best Nebraska could’ve done.

Groce wasn’t going to pick us over the Illini. I like that Miles is a salesman. I think he’ll have lots of fun press conferences and interviews here. If he can recruit, that will be a huge win.

The Big Ten is a tough, tough conference, and Nebraska has been a bottom-dwelling team for too long. Even if he doesn’t win here, I’m hopeful he could stock the cabinets and make some progress to help set up a new staff if it doesn’t work out. Leaving Nebraska better than he found it, essentially.

Chris: I’m already very impressed with coach Miles.

He cut the fat from Doc’s latest mess of a recruiting class, and has hit the trail/phones hard. He has a certain energy about him that reminds me of John Calipari – like he never sleeps.

Granted, it’s all VERY early, but he seems to have a passion and presence that will pay off down the road. Recruits seem to have responded well in the short term too, always a positive factor.

Greg: I’m even keel. I look forward to what he will bring to the men’s basketball department while knowing that it will take some time to turn the program around.

Brandon: After putting in quite a bit of research, I dig it.

Miles wasn’t the name hire, and that seemed to be the issue with a number of fans. So many viewed the signing as the biggest in program history, so when Nebraska didn’t bring in John Groce, let alone Shaka Smart, it was going to be hard to satiate those looking for the “name.”

Miles understands the necessity for nation-wide recruiting with an emphasis on locking down Nebraska talent. He’s been doing that for years, so it should be second nature.

I want to see who his remaining assistants are and what his philosophies are like, but I’ve remained cautiously optimistic, and am finding it harder to dislike Tom Osborne’s choice.

Follow the panel on Twitter:

Brandon: @eightlaces
Brian: @btbowling
James: @JamesStevenson
Greg: @thehooch36
Chris: @chriz_labenz

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