Kellogg Might Be Special
There are a number of ways to interpret the competition at backup quarterback for Nebraska. Joe Ganz let it slip that walk-on Ron Kellogg III (RKIII anyone?) might emerge as #2 behind Taylor Martinez. It sounds like true freshman Tommy Armstrong might be close behind. But Ganz didn't seem to totally count Brion Carnes out of the race either. What does that say about backup spot overall, and Kellogg in particular?
Sometimes when a walk-on emerges, people take that to mean that the scholarship players aren't living up to their potential. There are certainly counter-examples in the history of Nebraska football, including more recent history. Some walk-ons have become All-Americans and many others all-conference. Meanwhile, both Armstrong and Carnes were four-star recruits.
You might have expected Carnes to win the job on his combination of talent and experience and the fact that he was the top backup a year ago. That experience is pretty limited though. Carnes only threw two passes last season, completing both for 26 yards. His rushing total was negative on two attempts. You would expect Armstrong to lack a command of the offense, having not had the benefit of a full year to learn it. Still, his rushing skills have to be a challenge for the Husker defenses that he sees in practice.
Then there's RKIII. He's the oldest of the three, but has no more experience than Carnes in Tim Beck's offense. By most accounts, he's a pocket passer. The fact that he's the leading candidate at this point to be the backup tells you something about his passing prowess. Bo Pelini defenses tend to make pocket passers look bad and dual-threat players look good. Despite that, RKIII still looks like the best option to back up Martinez. The bar is set pretty high for a pocket passer to look good against NU's defense. Ganz probably wasn't just blowing smoke when he called RKIII a "really, really good passer". Ganz should know something about that, since he holds Nebraska's single season record for passing. Yet he couldn't stop at one "really".
It wouldn't be unprecedented for NU to be hiding a quality passer behind a dual-threat player that's more suited to an option offense. Bruce Mathison ended up lasting for years on NFL rosters despite sitting behind Jeff Quinn and Turner Gill at Nebraska. Brook Berringer famously sat for much of his career behind Tommie Frazier. In Berringer's case, he brought a dimension that Frazier probably lacked as a passer. He had some good passing days during NU's undefeated run in 1994. He threw a touchdown pass in the Orange Bowl victory over Miami after Frazier had gotten off to a slow start.
You wonder if RKIII might have similar potential. In particular, if the Huskers find themselves without Martinez or perhaps needing to bench him as he struggles, could RKIII come in and lift the team with his passing? I wouldn't rule it out. If he's earned the respect of a defensive mind like Bo Pelini, he deserves the respect of the Husker Nation too.