Taylor Martinez's return remains in doubt

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska coaches continue to plan for the absence on Saturday of Taylor Martinez.

The senior quarterback again did not practice on Tuesday as the Huskers resumed preparations for Illinois after an off day on Monday. The school’s career leader in total offense whose streak of 32 consecutive starts ended two weeks ago, Martinez is out with a turf-toe injury.

Offensive coordinator Tim Beck reiterated the Monday comments of coach Bo Pelini that Martinez must reach “100 percent” to get back in the lineup.

“He’s got to be healthy,” Beck said. “He’s got to say he’s healthy. He’s got to compete like he’s healthy. He’s got to play like he’s healthy.”

Redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong and senior Ron Kellogg III split reps on Tuesday. Beck said the dual-quarterback system, which worked well on Sept. 21 in the Huskers’ 59-20 win over South Dakota State, remains a good option.

“If it helps us win games,” Beck said. “I think those guys are very compatible with each other. They do a good job, and I think it doesn’t really affect our team.”

Martinez likely must practice Wednesday or Thursday in order to play this week. He was not available Tuesday for interviews.

“We’re just getting him ready mentally right now,” Beck said, “making sure he understands the game plan. He’s played a lot of football around here. If there’s a guy who can miss a couple practices, it’s probably him.”

Armstrong completed 12 of 15 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown in his starting debut against South Dakota State. He said on Tuesday that Martinez has stayed supportive of the other quarterbacks.

“Mentally, he seems like he’s ready,” Armstrong said.

And the freshman?

“I’m going to prepare like I’m going to play every game,” he said. “I’m going to stay mentally focused and whenever my number’s called, that’s when I’m going to be ready.”