ORLANDO, Fla. — Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez clearly isn't wowed by Georgia or the SEC.

"Everyone thinks the SEC is the strongest in the nation just because they go to the national championship every year," Martinez said after Friday's bowl practice. "I think this year, the Big Ten Conference was really strong. So we'll see how all of our teams play out this year."

Is the Big Ten stronger than the SEC?

"I'd say (the Big Ten) is as strong defensive-wise," Martinez said. "We'll find out."

The Big Ten team is the underdog for three upcoming head-to-head meetings, including Nebraska against Georgia on Tuesday in the Capital One Bowl.

The SEC is 5-1 against the Big Ten over the last two bowl seasons.

Martinez was asked what stands out most about Georgia's defense, which ranks 27th nationally in yards allowed per game.

"Nothing really," he said.

He said it's just another defense, similar to what Nebraska plays in the Big Ten — particularly reminiscent of Michigan State and Ohio State.

He was asked if he sees differences in SEC defenses compared to the Big Ten's.

"Nothing really at all," he said. "Everything is pretty much the same. They're both really good and big up front, good corners. It's almost exactly the same, actually."

The SEC perhaps has more speed ...

"No," he said. "Not at all."

"If we go out there and play, we'll be perfectly fine."

Other nuggets from Martinez:

* He said his ability to bounce back from bad plays is the result of how he was raised by his father.

"If one thing happens, just blow it off and you can't think about it for the next play," he said.

* He said he is 100 percent recovered from an ankle injury that bothered him late in the season.

* He said getting an 11th win this season is important to the program.

"It's very big, because the senior class, it's awesome, and we want to send them out the right way," he said.

* On why Nebraska remains confident in the wake of its 70-31 loss to Wisconsin on Dec. 1: "Just knowing that we went to the Big Ten Championship and we could have came away with a win, but we didn't. And just knowing Georgia is in the same predicament — they should be going to the national championship (game)."

* Nebraska is technically the "home" team in the Capital One Bowl, which Martinez thinks bodes well. "We haven't lost at home yet, so it's probably good."

* PEAT OFF TEAM: Todd Peat Jr., a redshirt freshman defensive tackle from Tempe, Ariz., is no longer part of the team, Bo Pelini confirmed.

Pelini had no further comment.

The loss of Peat has no immediate impact on the team because he hadn't advanced to a level where he could contribute meaningful minutes. However, his situation helps illustrate the problems Nebraska has encountered in recruiting defensive linemen. In the 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes, the Huskers landed eight defensive linemen, and six have had little-to-no impact.

Peat missed all of spring practice because of a back injury, and played very sparingly this season. He saw action in mop-up duty against Idaho State and appeared to be out of shape.

A four-star recruit, Peat redshirted in 2011 and worked on the scout-team defense.

Peat's younger brother, Andrus, is a freshman offensive lineman at Stanford. Andrus seriously considered attending Nebraska before announcing on signing day he would attend Stanford.

* PENSICK'S RETURN: Nebraska junior center Cole Pensick hadn't flown commercial in a while. He's used to those team charters.

But Thursday night, he boarded a commercial flight to join the team a day late in Orlando. He was just happy to be out of bed.

A nasty virus hit him Wednesday morning. He couldn't eat or drink anything and keep it down.

Fortunately for Pensick, it was just a 24-hour virus.

"It was some nasty stuff. I was hurting," Pensick said. "But I'm over it now. Glad I'm back here, moving on."

While Bo Pelini said Mark Pelini could also see snaps at center, Pensick is the lead candidate to start there against Georgia as the team fills the void of the injured Justin Jackson.

"Everyone's out there working hard and working hard for the guy to the right and left," Pensick said. "It's just a matter of those one little mistakes here and there, we're trying to minimize them, though, and keep it going through all four quarters.”

While Georgia's defensive line has Nebraska’s respect -- "I'd like a few of those cats," Husker defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski said -- the Huskers are not going overboard with flattery in the days before the matchup with the Bulldogs.

"Not anything else that we really haven't seen. Athletic. Big. Can move. Nothing that the Big Ten doesn't have in their D-lines," Pensick said. "We're just going to have to come down, hone in and get after them."

* TRYING TO BE SPECIAL: The month leading up to any bowl game is always an interesting mix of conversation about the game itself and also those young players about to jump into the fire next year.

There's a reason why Zaire Anderson and Avery Moss -- two players who won’t even play in Tuesday's game -- were popular interview subjects this week.

Moss is in that group of young D-linemen — Vincent Valentine, Aaron Curry and Greg McMullen are some of the others — who Nebraska needs to rise up the ladder quickly in 2013.

"Everybody in our class, we talk to each other and we're like, 'We're going to be that class that can change Nebraska around,'" Moss said. "It's good that we all think that way and hopefully it's not just talk. It's going to be something we do."

How does a coach balance getting looks at young players during bowl practices while also putting the proper attention on the veterans who will play in the game?

"The first two weeks of bowl prep, if you look at it as a four-week stretch, the first two weeks we had five practices or so where the focus was getting everybody reps, but we got a lot of the younger guys real quality reps," said defensive coordinator John Papuchis. "The last two weeks of the bowl prep … is devoted to making sure we're fully prepared for the game at hand."

* LOYALTY: Asked as he left Nebraska's practice Friday what he had planned for the day, Husker athletic director Tom Osborne said he was going back to the team hotel to watch "Frank's team" — that is, Frank Solich's Ohio Bobcats, which defeated Louisiana-Monroe in the Independence Bowl.

Osborne long has emphasized the importance of a team's mind-set going into a bowl game. It's often the difference, he says.

* HERE AND THERE: Approximately 150 high school coaches attended a clinic put on by Husker coaches following Friday's practice. ... The temperature reached the 70s Friday.

Steven M. Sipple and Brian Christopherson

Reach Steven M. Sipple at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com.