WKU ready for all Nebraska quarterbacks; Taggart expecting Lee

WKU ready for all Nebraska quarterbacks; Taggart expecting Lee

Zach Greenwell

The buzz continues to grow as Nebraska remains without a starting quarterback — at least everywhere except the WKU locker room.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has yet to choose one of the Huskers’ three candidates — senior Zac Lee, sophomore Cody Green and redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez — as the starter for Saturday’s game, but WKU Head Coach Willie Taggart said he’s not too concerned about it.

“We’re preparing for their offense — not just a particular quarterback,” Taggart said. “They’re going to run their offense. They’re not going to do anything dramatically different no matter who’s the guy in there.”

Pelini told Nebraska reporters Tuesday that he’s witheld his decision because he doesn’t want the situation to “turn into a circus.”

“You release depth charts, be it at the quarterback position or anywhere else, and let’s face it, I understand what it would be like,” Pelini said. “I don’t necessarily want it to be like that.”

Lee started 12 games for the Huskers last season, passing for 2,143 yards and 14 touchdowns. His hold on the starting job might have been firmer if he hadn’t missed all of spring practice following surgery on his throwing arm.

Although the surgery opened the door for competition at the position, Taggart said he “finds it hard to believe” that Nebraska will start anyone but Lee on Saturday.

“Personally I can’t see the other two guys bringing the same thing to the table that Lee did, because he started last year,” Taggart said. “He played, and those other guys didn’t. I don’t care what anyone says, he’s got experience. There’s nothing better than experience and being out in the fire.

“Athletically some could be better, but … making all the changes and making all the throws and leading your team down is different. The other ones haven’t done it yet, and he has.”

Green was the No. 2 quarterback for most of 2009, but he started games against Baylor and Oklahoma and got most of the first-string snaps in the spring. WKU defensive coordinator Clint Bowen, who spent the last 12 years at Kansas, saw both quarterbacks while preparing for Nebraska on the Jayhawks’ staff.

“The Zac Lee kid is very capable of throwing the ball, and he’s a good athlete,” Bowen said. “Green can get in there and run the ‘QB run’ game, so they really have the ability to throw about anything offensively that’s out there.”

Recent rumors from Nebraska say that Martinez, who redshirted last season and worked on the scout team as a quarterback and receiver, has worked himself into the discussion for the position.

Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson told the Lincoln Journal Star earlier this week that the biggest surprise about the speedy Martinez has been his poise.

“I think with him, I think he’s just a baller,” Watson said. “He just wants to play football. All this stuff doesn’t bother him. He’d sooner be away from it and he just wants to show up and play. That’s his mindset. He’s just a different dude.”

Chances are that all three quarterbacks will see some time Saturday. Senior linebacker Thomas Majors said that’s fine, because it’s all about stopping the entire offense — not just one person.

“It doesn’t matter who the quarterback is,” Majors said. “We’ve got to go out there and do our thing. They might have a different game plan, and they might not. We’re going off the film, and if they don’t come out like that, we’ve got to respond to it.

“Most quarterbacks try to protect themselves when they run the ball, but they’re going to pile it in there like a running back. We’ve got to go in there as a defense and hit them in the mouth.”