Hey, Taylor Martinez, how's that right ankle feeling?

Yo, Brion Carnes, have you been poring over the new playbook?

An assortment of pressing questions arise in the wake of Saturday's news that Nebraska backup quarterback Cody Green has asked for a release from his scholarship and is exploring transfer options.

Green's impending departure doesn't necessarily qualify as a code red for Nebraska's quarterback situation, not yet, anyway. However, depth is suddenly a bit of a concern, as the Huskers also learned this past week that scholarship reserve Kody Spano was ending his playing career because of injuries.

Nebraska is down to two scholarship quarterbacks -- projected starter Martinez, a third-year sophomore, and Carnes, a redshirt freshman. Sophomore Ron Kellogg III, a walk-on, appears to be a capable No. 3 man.

Green, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound junior who started four games the past two seasons, evidently decided he wasn't going to ascend to No. 1 on a full-time basis in a new Nebraska offense that likely will include more designed running plays by the quarterback. In fact, Green probably would've had to fight off Carnes for the No. 2 job; that figured to be a close fight. If Green's ever going to be a full-time starter, it'll be somewhere else. In that regard, he's making the right move.

Green's decision underscores the notion that Nebraska's chances for a successful inaugural season in the Big Ten hinge largely on Martinez, the mercurial-but-electrifying athlete who was fabulous at times last season before injuring his ankle last Oct. 30 against Missouri. He still felt pain in the ankle this spring when he made cuts, he said. He looked surprisingly ordinary in the April 16 Red-White Spring Game, completing only 4 of 13 passes with one interception.

Martinez's passing mechanics need work, obviously. He might also consider spending time studying film of players who are adept at avoiding clean shots from defenders. Martinez too often leaves himself open to big hits.

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Nebraska is showing up in the top 10 of some preseason rankings. Folks evidently believe Martinez will be a force similar to his uprising last season at Oklahoma State (435 yards of total offense). He did make significant progress this spring, despite his ankle issue and a toe injury, coaches said.

"He's leading our football team with his presence, his demeanor, his attitude, his work ethic," Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck said during the late stages of spring ball. "Everything we've asked him to try to improve on, he's improving on."

Carnes became the darling of the Husker offseason when he completed 11 of 15 passes for 173 yards in the spring game, running a very watered-down version of the offense. Even operating a bare-bones attack, he was "swimming in it," Pelini said then.

"The light's flickering," the coach said of Carnes. "(It's) just got to stay on."

The lights will be stunningly bright the night of Oct. 1 in Madison, Wis., for Nebraska's Big Ten opener. Would Carnes be ready for that?

A couple other questions: Might Nebraska consider moving true freshman Jamal Turner back to quarterback on a full-time basis? Nobody asked me, but I wouldn't do that. He looks like a future star as a slot receiver. But that doesn't mean he can't practice some at QB, just in case, especially if Bubba Starling does the expected and chooses pro baseball over football.

Meanwhile, here's hoping Green finds success at his new home, wherever that may be (Boise State may be a possibility, I'm told). At NU, Green handled his difficult situation with class and an ever-ready smile. He was a media favorite who enjoyed a few shining moments, just not enough of them.

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


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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