Being the backup quarterback

(As told by Nebraska’s Ron Kellogg)

Editor’s note: Ron Kellogg is a junior from Omaha who made his Husker debut in the season opener against Southern Miss. He’s played in three games this season. Kellogg’s biggest game was against Idaho State, when he threw his first touchdown pass.

1. Being the backup quarterback is different from other reserve positions.

“You have so much other stuff to worry about. You have to know the entire offense, basically. If you’re another position player you just have to worry about your position. It’s fun to think about being a backup, because you have that responsibility, but people also depend on you. You have to have a lot of confidence. You can’t really go out there and perform being nervous. You have to be able to command 10 other guys to do what (offensive coordinator Tim Beck) asks you to do.”

2. Early in the week, the backup quarterback gets a lot of reps during practice. Later in the week, it’s Taylor Martinez time.

“I mostly prepare from watching film and talking with (Coach Beck) and (graduate assistant coach Joe Ganz) about game plans and stuff. It’s just a lot of mental reps in practice, and then when I do go in during practice, taking advantage of the reps I do get. With watching film, you critique things that Taylor might have missed, or he did well on, just to better myself and better the team. Taylor does watch a lot of film and talks to Coach Beck a lot. I’m just up (in the football offices) in general; I’m always up there. Whenever I’m up there I just watch some film or talk some football with Joe or Coach Beck. We have practice starting at 1:30 p.m., so I’m up there from like 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. almost every other day.”

3. Many quarterbacks – Martinez included – got their start  as the scout-team quarterback.

“Being a scout-team quarterback is like playing the Super Bowl every day. Just because, your main purpose is to prepare the defense. By doing that you’re running other people’s plays, which is cool, and then in hindsight you’re making yourself better because you’re playing against coach Bo (Pelini) -- the defensive mastermind. Being able to see all those coverages and pick it out, I’ll be like, ‘This is where I can go.’ Scout team was a lot of practice, and helped me out a great deal. Scout team is something people may not like to do, but it’s really important.”

4. We may not get to play a lot, but being the backup quarterback is still a good way to get on television.

“During the game, I’m on the sideline helping signal in plays. Also, critiquing the defense by looking at the secondary. And then seeing if there are blitzes or a change in coverage, so I can tell Taylor when he comes off the field and let Coach Beck know, ‘Hey, this might work.’ On the sideline, I try to keep Taylor humble and in a good mood. Any opportunity I can get to make him smile – which is very rare, according to people when they see him from the stands smiling – is a victory for me, because I know he’s relaxed and ready to go play some football. My mom tells me all the time she sees me on TV.”

5. When the backups get the chance to play in a game, it’s exciting, because we get to play with the players we’ve been training with since January.

“(During Nebraska’s 73-7 win against Idaho State) it was fun being able to do things from practice on the actual football field. That was impactful for me, and it brought my confidence up a lot more, being able to do it in front of all of those people instead of just doing it at the Spring Game or something. (Kellogg’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Steven Osborne) was memorable, just because I got destroyed while throwing it. I didn’t really care, because it was a touchdown. A truck could have run me over and I wouldn’t have cared.”