ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

SportsLink

Vandals’ task: Contain NU’s Martinez

From North Dakota, in just its third year removed from the Division II ranks, to playing at Nebraska. Talk about a massive step up in competition for Idaho from last Thursday to Saturday, when it will be at Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium to square off with the Cornhuskers.

We’ve got some thoughts on the matchup (the Vandals are 28.5-point underdogs), and some comments from NU coach Bo Pelini and Robb Akey.


*******

Yes, this is a new year and the Vandals have an improved defense. But they struggled last year containing dual-threat quarterbacks — Colin Kaepernick of Nevada and Jake Locker of Washington in particular — and they’ll take on another one in Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez. The redshirt freshman was electric in his debut last week against Western Kentucky, rushing for 127 yards on seven carries and passing for 136 yards.

“He’s a really explosive athlete,” Pelini said of Martinez. Later in Monday’s Big 12 teleconference he said, “I think he’s got tremendous upside. I thought he performed well. He’s a guy with a real steady, mature approach.”

The prime target when Martinez and NU’s other QB, Cody Green, drop back is Niles Paul, a wideout with lots of NFL upside. SI.com ranks Paul as the top senior receiver in the country. (Scouts also think highly of offensive lineman Marcel Jones.)

With either Martinez or Green, Akey said the Cornhuskers’ offense doesn’t vary too much. “I look at both those quarterbacks and those guys have a ton of talent.” Then he added: “They’re still running that Nebraska offense.”

As for Nathan Enderle, who returns to his home state, his success against an athletic, sizable NU defense will depend in large part on the Vandals’ offensive line. It gave up four first-half sacks against North Dakota, and on each occasion, the defender wasn’t touched by the O-line.

“With our offense, we’ve got to protect our quarterback better than we did in that opening ballgame,” Akey said. “… We didn’t take care of our quarterback well enough.”

Akey said most of the communication issues against UND were taken care at halftime and he expects them to be fixed against the Huskers.

Idaho fared well on the injury front after Week 1. A decision on Deonte Jackson (ankle) will be made later in the week, Akey said. He could have come back in against UND, according to Akey.


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to SportsLink

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

SportsLink is your portal into sports news around the Inland Northwest and beyond. You'll find updates, notes and opinions, and plenty of reader feedback.

Filter










Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on SportsLink.

Contributors

Jim Allen (@srjimallen) Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Recent work by Jim

Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Recent work by Jim

Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

Recent work by Chris

Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here