Published Thursday, September 19, 2013 AT 7:05 PM / Updated at 7:48 PM
Practice report, Sept. 19: Martinez doubtful for Saturday, Armstrong would likely start
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong thought his time to be Nebraska’s starting quarterback would have to wait until Taylor Martinez graduated.

But with Bo Pelini calling Martinez “doubtful” for Saturday because of a left toe injury, Armstrong’s shot may come Saturday against South Dakota State.

“If we were to start today, we’d probably start with Tommy Armstrong,” Pelini said. “But you’ll see (senior) Ronnie Kellogg. We want to make sure we look at this practice film — I haven’t visited with (offensive coordinator) Tim (Beck) since practice has been over — but that’s kind of the way we’ve been leaning going into today.”

Pelini said Martinez — who did not practice Thursday — “is either going to play or he’s not. We want him to be 100 percent. I have full confidence in those other two quarterbacks.”

Armstrong, Pelini said, “has made a big jump in the last two weeks” after missing time and reps in training camp because of a knee injury suffered just before camp commenced.

“He had a tremendous week of practice,” Pelini said. “They both practiced well. It’s very close.”

More quick hits from practice:

>> Ciante Evans will move from nickel to No. 1 cornerback if and when Nebraska plays its base 4-3 defense this Saturday. Pelini said Evans bounced back with a good week of practice after a poor second half against UCLA.

>> Top linebackers, for now are Josh Banderas (Mike), Nathan Gerry (Buck), and Zaire Anderson (Will). Their backups: David Santos, Michael Rose and Jared Afalava (Buck). Santos and Rose can play the Will or Mike positions. Afalava, who has missed the first three games with a sprained neck, is healthy enough to play, Pelini said.

“This is the best week of practice Jared’s had in a month, which is good to see, because he’s a guy who can bring something to the table for us,” Pelini said.

>> Pelini said he’s not focused on the identity of the person who took out of Husker Sports Network the audio — that was later leaked to Deadspin — of Pelini’s private-but-profane rant against two World-Herald journalists and Husker fans.

“I have an idea of where it came from,” Pelini said. “It was one room. There’s only certain people involved…that’s for other people to do their due diligence on that.”

>> The 2012 conversation with then-athletic director Tom Osborne — who came into possession of the tape through an athletic department worker — was “fairly short,” Pelini said. Did Osborne take any disciplinary action last year?

“We talked about it,” Pelini said.

He did not know the contents of the audiotape until Deadspin released it this week.

“Until the other day I didn’t know what the tape was all about, what was on it or anything else,” Pelini said. “I don’t even remember when it even came to my attention. I guess I didn’t quite expect to be what it was.”

>> Pelini had no problem with the length of time it took from athletic director Shawn Eichorst and chancellor Harvey Perlman to issue a joint statement supporting Pelini as Nebraska’s coach.

Anytime you go through a situation like this, it’s a difficult time,” Pelini said. “I accepted responsibility and my part in it. That’s how I’ve always operated.

I can say this: I have never gotten anything but full support from Shawn Eichorst and our administration. But, at the end of the day, their job isn’t to take care of Bo Pelini, it’s to take care of the football program and do what they feel is in the best interest of the program. In a situation like this, I know people want them to make a statement right off the bat and there’s an investigation that has to go on there, Is that need to be dotted and Ts that needed to be crossed. I think they always operate like that. I understand that’s how things have to work.”

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Video: Nebraska coach Bo Pelini talks Thursday after practice

About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.