Most everyone saw this coming, but Bo Pelini made it official Friday: Taylor Martinez’s Nebraska career is over. He won’t play in the Gator Bowl.
Martinez was in street clothes for the Huskers’ two-hour practice session on the University of North Florida campus Friday morning. They have just three more practices until Wednesday’s game against Georgia. That’s apparently not enough time for Martinez to return to full strength.
“It’s a shame,” Pelini said. “But he’s not where he needs to be, to be able to go out there and play the way he wants to play.”
Nebraska’s been preparing all month as redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong would start next week’s match-up, anyway. Armstrong (ankle) seemed to be moving around without any limitation during Friday’s half-padded workout.
A few tidbits from practice (which was open to reporters) and the interviews afterward are below….
>> Senior Andrew Rodriguez could see snaps at guard and/or tackle during the Gator Bowl, Pelini said. His role appears to be contingent on the health of offensive guard Mike Moudy, who missed the last three games of the year with a shoulder injury. All of the linemen (besides senior Spencer Long) practiced Friday. It’s the “healthiest we’ve been in a while,” Pelini said.
>> Watch out for senior defensive tackle Thad Randle next week. Pelini spotted him on the practice field Friday and said this to the injury plagued veteran: “Looks like you have some young legs on you.” Randle took some first-team reps at tackle Friday, presumably benefiting from the time off to recover from a demanding season.
>> Sophomore Charles Jackson, who’d moved to safety during the offseason, appeared to be working mostly at cornerback Friday.
>> Speaking of the cornerbacks, the first- and second-team guys all stayed well after practice to work with position coach Terry Joseph — because they’ll be challenged by Georgia’s talented group of receivers. There was plenty of teaching going on during practice, too. … Said junior Josh Mitchell of those pass-catchers: “Fast, fast. And really good route runners. When you combine those things, you’re going to have a really good group.”
>> True freshman Kevin Maurice took reps at defensive end during Friday’s practice, which he’s never done. The Orlando product will have nine family members at the game.
>> Adam Taylor, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound I-back who’s redshirting this year, wore a No. 3 jersey Friday. He’ll be the scout teamer designated to simulate Georgia running back Todd Gurley during practice. (Gurley, by the way, is listed at 6-foot-1, 232 pounds). … Taylor impersonating Gurley? That’s a good match, according to defensive tackle Vincent Valentine. “He’s a big, powerful back,” Valentine said of Taylor. “He brings his legs through every time and lowers his shoulder and finishes runs.”
>> Defensive tackle Kevin Williams (season-ending knee injury) wasn’t in pads or a helmet, but he did some conditioning work along the sideline Friday. … Linebacker Trevor Roach (season-ending foot injury) was suited up, but appeared to be limited.
>> Receivers Jamal Turner and Alonzo Moore didn’t seem to be bothered by any sort of injury Friday. Turner planted sharply and cut inside on a dig route during one-on-one drills, using his eyes to throw off a defender — it earned him some praise from the coaches.
>> NU quarterback recruit Zack Darlington attended practice with his dad, Rick, who’s also the coach at Apopka (Fla.) High School. Zack’s set to enroll at Nebraska next semester. … Also on the sideline Friday was Apopka standout offensive tackle Martez Ivey, a 2015 prospect who already has scholarship offers from many of the nation’s top programs.
>> Nebraska practiced in cloudy and breezy conditions Friday, with temperatures settling in the mid-50s. The Huskers worked out on a grass field, which will soon be filled with divots and mud patches by the time they’re done with it.
>> Defensive end Greg McMullen was asked why it was so cold. “Global warming.”
>> No live tackling for the Huskers Friday. Their big contact day is likely Saturday, what would mirror a Tuesday practice during a normal game week.
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Photos: Nebraska in Jacksonville
Video: NU’s first practice in Florida
Video: NU coach Bo Pelini talks after practice
Video: Huskers take a dip in the ocean