Red Report: Coaches remain cautious with Martinez

2013-03-13T22:00:00Z 2013-04-03T22:36:24Z Red Report: Coaches remain cautious with Martinez JournalStar.com

Nebraska's practice Thursday will mostly consist of scrimmaging, perhaps as many as 100 plays, much to the delight of the players.

Taylor Martinez hopes he can be part of the fun.

"I haven't scrimmaged at all (this spring)," the senior quarterback said Wednesday after the seventh practice of the spring. "I wish I could. The coaches won't let me."

Martinez is preparing for his fourth season as Nebraska's starter. He's the clear-cut No. 1 on the depth chart. The coaches know what they have in him. So it makes sense to keep him on the sideline when the action is "live."

It especially makes sense in light of running back Ameer Abdullah's knee injury suffered Saturday. Abdullah, a projected starter, probably could return later this month, but Husker coach Bo Pelini has said Abdullah may be held out the rest of the spring.

Martinez noted that Abdullah's injury didn't occur during scrimmage action.

During scrimmaging this spring, Martinez has mostly signaled in plays from the sideline.

"I'd rather be on the field," he said. "I think it's boring sitting on the sidelines not doing anything.

"I can't stand it. Sometimes I try to go out there, and they keep pulling me out," he added with a smile.

Martinez plans to spend some of next week's spring break working with quarterback coach Steve Calhoun back home in Laguna Beach, Calif.

* EMBRACING THE WORK: For many players, spring practice is drudgery. It's all practice, no games.

Martinez, though, enjoys it.

"I love practicing, just coming out and hanging out with the guys," he said. "I think it's fun. It's better than doing nothing at home."

* PELINI PLEASED: Pelini challenged his team after Saturday's practice — you know, the "horrendous" practice.

The past two practices, it seems, were much more to Pelini's liking.

"I like the way our guys responded Monday and today," Pelini told reporters Wednesday. "I think that the light has gone on with some guys. I think our practice habits are improving, our attention to detail is getting better, and we've made some significant progress. That needs to continue for the remainder of spring practice."

Pelini said his goal for the first half of this spring, which ends with a practice Thursday before a 10-day break, was to lay a foundation and teach.

"I've seen us make a big jump the last two days as to where we were the first week."

* BUSINESS AND PLEASURE: Pelini said he told players they can't completely forget about football when they go on break.

"Because, then you're back to square one again," he said. "They have to make sure they're putting some time in when they go back home, when they're on break, so when they come back they're ready to roll."

Husker football strength coach James Dobson supplies players with workouts to do during the break — whether they go home or stay in Lincoln.

* ALLEN AHEAD OF PACE: When Taariq Allen was carted off the field after the opening kickoff against Michigan last year, you couldn't help but think the worst.

A torn ACL was the injury. And when doctors did surgery on the wide receiver, it was expected he'd be out until at least fall.

But things are looking up for the sophomore.

"He's way ahead of schedule," NU receivers coach Rich Fisher said. "I think they're going to cut him loose (to compete) in June. … He's been getting after it. And I knew he would. With those types of injuries — because I've had a (torn) ACL and his was worse than mine — it all comes down to how hard you work, how you're going to fight through the pain. The next phase for him is to be able to line up on the field, go out and run around and get it out of your mind."

* INJURY REPORT: Defensive end Avery Moss is still sidelined with an undisclosed injury but could have practiced Wednesday, Pelini said. Coaches are going to play it safe with the redshirt freshman and not put him back on the field until after the break.

Meanwhile, sophomore offensive lineman Ryne Reeves rides around on motorized cart, his left leg in a cast from foot to knee. He injured the leg Saturday and is sidelined indefinitely.

* HERE AND THERE: Ex-Husker safety Josh Bullocks (2001-04) attends practice a lot these days because he's finishing his bachelor's degree. … Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo attended Wednesday's practice.

— Steven M. Sipple and Brian Christopherson

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

Copyright 2015 JournalStar.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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