LINCOLN — Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck said Tuesday that the game plan for Minnesota doesn't have to be put on hold until the Huskers know the status of quarterback Taylor Martinez.
Martinez has practiced Sunday and Tuesday this week as NU prepares for the Gophers, leading to the belief that he will play for the first time since the Sept. 14 UCLA game.
But Beck said the Huskers might watch Martinez all the way up to kickoff Saturday before deciding, meaning Tommy Armstrong and Ron Kellogg also will be preparing to run whatever Beck installs.
“I think some of the things that we do offensively (all of) our guys can do, regardless of who's at quarterback,” Beck said. “Some of our passing game, running game ... really they all can do. Some guys may do it better than other guys, or maybe they're more efficient at times, but we still run all the same stuff pretty much with all of them.”
NU coach Bo Pelini has said by midweek each of the last three games that Martinez would be out and Armstrong would start. Martinez, recovering from turf toe, now is being eased back into drills.
“He's doing whatever he can do,” Beck said. “If he needs a break, we give him a break. If he needs to sit out a period, we sit him out a period.”
Beck said Martinez has been “getting the cobwebs out a little bit” as he returns, but is helped by his experience.
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Martinez declined interview requests Tuesday. An NU spokesman said the senior quarterback would talk to reporters after the Minnesota game.
Armstrong, a redshirt freshman from Cibolo, Texas, has started the past three games in Martinez's absence. He ran and passed for 207 yards against South Dakota State and added 135 passing yards and two touchdowns against Illinois, but he threw three interceptions against Purdue. Kellogg, a senior out of Omaha Westside, hit 10 of 13 passes for 141 yards and a score against the Boilermakers.
When asked if Armstrong has earned some reps Saturday even if Martinez starts and plays, Beck said that's also true of Kellogg.
“But you can only play one at a time,” he said. “We'll kind of cross the bridge when we get there. It's so early in the week to tell right now.
“We're going to play the best guy and the healthiest guy and the guy that's going to help us win ... and whoever that is, it is.”
World-Herald staff writer Sam McKewon contributed to this report.
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