Huskers Taylor-made for Big Ten
Martinez is the right quarterback to lead a more pass-heavy offense in Lincoln
We often don't know about a coach's greatness until he reaches a point where he has to adapt his team to a new environment.
Take Bill Parcells and the New York Giants. From 1984 to '88, Parcells went with a pass-heavy offense led by quarterback Phil Simms as a strategy to exploit the weakness of the passing defense of the Giants' top threat in the NFC, the Chicago Bears.
Fast-forward to 1990. By this time, the Giants' offensive personnel had changed and so had the NFC. Simms was still a great quarterback, but New York's offensive line had become one of the best run-blocking groups in the league. In addition, the San Francisco 49ers had taken over as the best team in the conference, and they had an offense good enough to beat any team in a shootout.
As a result, Parcells adjusted to a power running-focused offense, which ended up being a key reason the Giants won a classic 15-13 NFC championship tilt over the Niners.
Nebraska Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini is in a similar boat heading into the 2011 college football season. His team is going from the Big 12, whose defenses were run at more often than in any other BCS automatic-qualifying conference, to the Big Ten, whose defenses were run at the least among all BCS conferences. The Big Ten also allowed the second-highest yards per pass attempt (7.0) of any of the BCS leagues (see tables below).
In other words, Big Ten offenses last year found that the best way to attack Big Ten defenses was through the air (running less and passing more), and they found good success while doing so (high YPA numbers). On the surface, this looks to pose a problem for the Huskers, who boasted an exceptional running game in 2010 (ninth in the nation in rushing yards per game) and a limited passing game (113th in passing yards per game). The team seems to have acknowledged its need to adjust the offensive playbook, as new Huskers offensive coordinator Tim Beck has indicated he will operate an offense that aims to attack defensive weaknesses.
The better news for the team is that a metric and tape review shows Nebraska has the majority of the personnel needed to make that change -- and it all starts with redshirt sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez.
To read KC Joyner's full take on why Taylor Martinez is the right choice to lead a more pass-heavy offense for Nebraska (and why this new attack will succeed in the Big Ten), plus find out which pass-catcher will play a pivotal role in the offense, become an ESPN Insider today.
MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL HEADLINES
- QB Lunt mulls Illinois after visit, sources say
- Former Arkansas QB Mitchell picks NC State
- McCartney back on WVU roster after 6 months
- Sources: C-USA to put team in Military Bowl
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider CFB content
Expert Takes• Kiper: Top prospects for 2014, by position
• Haney: CFB's top 10 teams based on talent
• Kiper: Top QB prospects for 2014 | RBs | WRs
• Haney: Make-or-break QB prospect scenarios
• Joyner: Prospects set for breakout seasons
• Haney: Prospects who can elevate programs
Post-spring projections• Pac-12: Oregon, Stanford, USC on top
• ACC: Can Clemson win the league title?
• SEC: Bama, South Carolina early favorites
• Big Ten: Surprise winner in Legends
• Big 12: Two-team race for first place
RecruitingNation• Michigan No. 1 in 2014 class rankings
• Luginbill: Answering mailbag questions
• Crabtree: Urban recruits popular draft picks
• Notre Dame, Boise State trending up
• Recruiting updates for Pac-12 teams
• Recruiting updates for Big Ten teams
• Recruiting updates for SEC teams
• Recruiting updates for ACC teams
• Recruiting updates for Big East teams
• Recruiting updates for Big 12 teams
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Travis Haney's blog
Analysis and buzz from around the nation