Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
For the first time in a long time the Nebraska Cornhuskers had someone other than Taylor Martinez behind center yesterday. Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Ron Kellogg III not only played well, they contributed to the first ever 300 yard passing and 300 yard rushing effort in school history. While both quarterbacks were impressive against the Jackrabbits, Armstrong has dominated the post game conversation on message boards and sports talk radio.
Armstrong seems to be the complete package. He has a good arm, vision, and the ability to tuck the ball and run. Armstrong can operate the option to perfection and has the touch of a pure passer. He is what you look for in a quarterback to run offensive coordinator Tim Beck’s offense. After yesterday’s performance there will be a vocal group of fans calling for a change at quarterback.
Taylor Martinez has been both a blessing and a curse for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. At times his instinct to run with the football and make defenders look foolish has propelled the Huskers to victory. He has made his fare share of big passes in key moments as well. Taylor can also be self destructive, trying to do too much in one play. He will force passes into coverage and can be indecisive with the ball. He is everything you love and hate about the Husker offense.
With Nebraska having two weeks to prepare for the Illinois Fighting Illini, there will be plenty of time for fans to debate who should lead this offense moving forward. It started before the South Dakota State game was finished. Just as polarizing as head coach Bo Pelini is for some fans, Martinez can be just as divisive. There isn’t a lot of grey matter, it’s either black or white. You support T Magic or you can’t stand him.
Armstrong benefits from being the backup. Even after yesterday’s win, there is a small sample to judge Armstrong by. He has not faced real pressure situations or scrutiny. The redshirt freshman has yet to throw that costly interception that could cost Nebraska a game.
Just as everyone in this state had begun to turn the page on the Bo Pelini debate, a new conversation has quickly taken it’s place. Does Taylor Martinez lead this team throughout the rest of the 2013 season, or does the future of Nebraska football become the present in the form of Tommy Armstrong?
Let the debate begin.