Steven M. Sipple: Martinez quick to tout brother's prowess

2013-08-07T23:50:00Z 2014-06-07T12:31:05Z Steven M. Sipple: Martinez quick to tout brother's prowessBy STEVEN M. SIPPLE / Lincoln Journal Star

Things I know and think I know:

Taylor Martinez perhaps watches the Johnny Manziel hysteria and counts his many blessings.

It's Camp Chaos at Texas A&M.

It's Camp Calm at Nebraska -- through three days, anyway.

Martinez, the speedy Husker senior quarterback, has the starting job sewed up. So, no roiling QB controversy to shake up camp, as was the case in August 2010. Martinez now has command of a high-powered offense. He will wear a "C" for captain on his game jersey, indicative of the respect he's earned from teammates and coaches, and hopefully most fans. He is seemingly in a great place in his life.

If Taylor seems light and airy, don't discount the family factor. His eyes light up when brother Drake Martinez's name is broached. Drake told me recently Taylor is his best friend.

"Drake should play for us this year, just based on what I've been hearing from the coaches," Taylor Martinez said July 26 during Big Ten Media Days. "I think they're going to try to get him on the field."

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Drake Martinez is listed in the Nebraska media guide as a defensive back. He practiced Tuesday with the safeties. Watch his high school film. He's a vicious hitter. He made 130 tackles last season as a senior at Laguna Beach (Calif.) High School. As a running back, he rushed for 1,613 yards and 23 touchdowns, averaging 9.4 yards per carry. He could be a demon on special teams.

Taylor hints that Drake might be a shade faster than him. Ponder that for a second. Taylor raised eyebrows at Big Ten Media Days when he said, "I guarantee I'm probably the fastest player in college football, so that shows you how fast he is."

Taylor and Drake apparently are very different in their approach to the game.

"I think I'm a meaner person," Drake says matter-of-factly. "I think quarterback is Taylor's spot. He's more composed than me."

Said Taylor: "I think Drake has more of a defensive mentality -- he loves to hit. We'll see. I can't wait to watch him."

* Credit Nebraska coach Bo Pelini for Drake Martinez choosing NU over Michigan State and Vanderbilt, among others. When Pelini was recruiting Taylor Martinez in 2008, the coach talked to Drake about someday playing for the Huskers.

"Once Nebraska offered him, in his mind he was coming here the whole time," Taylor said. "I really didn't know about (Pelini's early discussions with Drake), and neither did my parents. But I'm really glad he's here."

* I've said many times Pelini likes when folks doubt him, and doubt his program. Doubters keep his blood pumping. They help him retain his hard edge. He seems to like the friction. A lot of competitors probably possess such a mentality. But perhaps Pelini should embrace the current calm. A quiet, focused fall camp would be best for a youthful defense that faces a lot of learning packed into a month.

* Make no mistake, there is chaos at Texas A&M. But don't count out the Aggies making a national championship run if Manziel is eligible. Two reasons come to mind: 1. Kevin Sumlin; and 2. Cam Newton.

Why Newton? Stay with me here. If the NCAA cannot prove allegations against Manziel, he might play an entire season under a cloud of suspicion, like Newton did at Auburn in 2010. The greats often can manage the noise and drama. Their strong will and talent take over. The playing field becomes the ultimate sanctuary. All Newton did was lead the Tigers to the national crown.

It is worth noting that A&M has hired the same Birmingham, Ala., law firm that Auburn used in 2010 to help Newton remain eligible.

As for Sumlin, talk to people close to him. They'll tell you his teams are disciplined. They'll tell you he understands today's players and gets this generation. If anyone can keep A&M on course, it's Sumlin.

* Sept. 14 can't arrive soon enough. Johnny Trouble vs. 'Bama will transfix the sporting world, assuming J.T. is still in the fold.

* From a purely physical standpoint, Nebraska junior-college transfer Randy Gregory looks ready for the bright lights. A Husker practice observer remarked Tuesday that it looks like NU stole the 6-6, 255-pound Gregory from Georgia's roster last January, if you know what I mean. If we were in SEC territory, I might even say it appears Nebraska got its money's worth. Bada-bing.

* It appears Scott Frost is on track to become a major-college head coach someday (at Nebraska?). Joe Ganz will rise quickly in the profession (Martinez raves about him). Another ex-Husker quarterback, Zac Taylor, is a safe bet to keep rising. Think of the experience he's getting as Miami Dolphins quarterbacks coach under head coach Joe Philbin.

"In some ways, it's no different coaching here (in Miami) than at the college level," Taylor told me recently. "You have to make sure your guys believe in your system and can play fast. That's the bottom line."

* Nebraska's prowess this season on offense has sparked memories of all-time great Husker offenses. In that regard, I'll take the 1995 offense over the 1983 "Scoring Explosion" group every time. The Tommie Frazier-led 1995 group averaged more yards and points than the 1983 edition, even with Lawrence Phillips missing half the season.

The 1982 and 1989 offenses often get overlooked despite putting up colossal numbers. Is there a more underappreciated Husker quarterback than 1989 starter Gerry Gdowski? I think not.

OK, maybe Jammal Lord ...

* Says Kansas coach Charlie Weis: "Talk is cheap. We've all had a lot to say and haven't done a damn thing. It's time to shut up and go to work."

Am I the only one who likes that guy?

Reach Steven M. Sipple at 402-473-7440 or

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