Husker fans seemed perplexed by Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez’s standoffish press conference Monday, and judging by the blowback on message boards, radio talk shows and The World-Herald’s comment sections, some were frustrated with the four-minute chat, as well.
Tuesday, senior NU left tackle Yoshi Hardrick presented some context to Martinez’s brief answers.
“It finally hit him,” Hardrick said after practice Tuesday. “He’d been holding in a lot. He said he couldn’t take it anymore… It’s the first time I’ve ever seen him, like, mad.”
That “it” is the overwhelming criticism and negativity Martinez faces for each performance, Hardrick said, especially his three-interception showing in a 48-17 loss at Wisconsin.
Example: Spanish class.
“Some girl told him, ‘Stop throwing interceptions,’” Hardrick said. “It’s just too much. He’s in a Spanish class and they’re talking about interceptions.”
Hardrick, who said he texts Martinez daily, added that Martinez’s girlfriend fields a lot of criticism, too, when fans and students don’t say it to the quarterback himself. Teammates pull searches off Google and show him criticisms written by others. Martinez declines to read it.
“He told me he’s sick of it,” Hardrick said. “These next seven games, he just wants the world to get off his back, so he had to do something about it.”
“He’s trying to keep everybody happy, trying to keep everybody upbeat,” Hardrick said. “He’s not holding his head down. He’s trying do the extra things and be a lot better on his passing. He’s trying to go through his extra reads.”
The team is behind Martinez, Hardrick said.
“Everybody loves Taylor,” he said. “He’s the leader of the team. He’s the quarterback. We turn our back on him — it’d be pretty bad… we can’t let him feel like he’s on an island by himself.”