Heading into Nebraska’s game against Wisconsin Saturday, the Cornhuskers will bring a much-improved Taylor Martinez into the Big Ten opener for both schools.
Martinez this season has thrown nine touchdowns against just one interception, ranking first in the conference and 10th in the country in passing efficiency. Numerous observers have been impressed with the growth as a passer the junior has seemingly undertaken, with the notable exception being a defensive member of this weekend’s opponent.
Here is a sampling of Badgers starting defensive end David Gilbert‘s midweek comments when asked about Martinez’s progress:
“It still looks like he’s skipping rocks out there to me.”
“He still can’t throw. I’m just going to say it. He still can’t throw. He’s not going to beat us with his arm.”
Bret Bielema‘s response to Gilbert’s comments?
“He’ll be skipping rocks on the sideline with me for the first play,” the UW head coach said, referring to Gilbert being “benched” for the first defensive snap of the conference tilt. “That’s just not what we are and who we are.”
It appears that Bielema is using Gilbert’s very public ripping of Martinez as a teachable moment for both the player and his teammates.
“The kid is going to learn,” Bielema said. “As a head coach I’ve got to remind my guys all the time that the things we say and the things we put in front of the media… you said it, now you’ve got to play it.”