Four-down territory: The maturing 'T-Magic'

National Football Post

Let's take a look at what's happening across the nation on this Tuesday morning...

• Nebraska is mere days into its spring drills, but all indications are that the hard work that Taylor Martinez put into his offseason has already started to show, with coaches and teammates being impressed by the quarterback's improved mechanics. As I mentioned in my spring preview piece, the dual-threat acknowledged that improper footwork has led to his unconventional throwing motion, and he has been working on that issue throughout the offseason. He'll continue to refine his technique with live reps this spring, and the junior should only get better as he enters his second season in coordinator Tim Beck's offense. Head coach Bo Pelini mentioned late in the winter that there would be an open competition for the starting job, but every Cornhusker fan knows that the gig always belonged to "T-Magic," as backup Brion Carnes is still a work in progress. It will be interesting to see if Martinez could improve on his deep ball throws, an area that could really help open up the run-oriented offense.

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Malcolm Mitchell
ICONMalcolm Mitchell will move over to CB due to Georgia's depth woes at the position.

• With Georgia's secondary incredibly thin, head coach Mark Richt has decided to permanently move star wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell to cornerback. Branden Smith was arrested recently, fellow starting corner Sanders Commings is already suspended for the first game of the season, and Richt dismissed corners Nick Marshall and Chris Sanders earlier in the offseason. All of this came after the mid-season transfer of Jordan Love. As of now, Damien Swann would start in place of Commings, with Blake Sailors, Luis Capella, Devin Bowman, Quintavius Harrow and Corey Moore needing to make a real strong impression. But the wild card could be Mitchell. The goal was for him to play on both sides of the ball this fall, but for now he will work exclusively in the defensive backfield for the Dawgs. Mitchell was second on the team in receptions in 2011, but the team has good depth at the position, which helped with this decision. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will certainly now lean on Tavarres King, Michael Bennett, Chris Conley and Marlon Brown. But the loss of Mitchell likely won't sit well with star quarterback Aaron Murray.

• In light of the NCAA officially sanctioning North Carolina's football program, former Tar Heels safety Deunta Williams is in a foul mood. Williams, who was suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season for accepting improper benefits from a former UNC player, said that the NCAA ignores what goes on at SEC schools. “What happened at Carolina is child’s play compared to what happens at the SEC,” Williams said. “The SEC pays for players. I’m not afraid to say it, but the NCAA doesn’t go after them.” Williams also doesn't like how college football players aren't a part of the sport's big-business model in terms of receiving financial rewards. “It’s a broken system. College football is a business, and the people who run college football are only interested in money and using the players as product to make money. That’s the frustrating part about it. The NCAA is crucifying players to keep the system going and the NCAA doesn’t have to answer to anybody.” I'm not sure how SEC fans feel about his first comment, but Williams certainly has plenty of people who agree with him on the financial issue.

• Boise State began spring practice Monday without a ton of star players from their dominant teams of the last few seasons, including Kellen Moore, Doug Martin, Nate Potter, Shea McClellin and Byron Hout. Junior Joe Southwick, sophomore Grant Hedrick, redshirt freshman Jimmy Laughrea and true freshman Nick Patti will battle for the starting quarterback job, with Southwick having the edge after being the backup to Moore the past two seasons. This competition likely will last into the fall. We'll truly see how strong of a program head coach Chris Petersen helped build moving forward because not many teams will be losing so much experience in one offseason as the Broncos have this year.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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