Pelini: Martinez return is 'really close'

News and notes from Nebraska’s practice on Wednesday:

Martinez nears return

Senior quarterback Taylor Martinez, out since Sept. 14 with turf toe, is “really close” to a return to practice, coach Bo Pelini said. The Huskers had planned for Martinez to run on Wednesday but opted to wait until a set of custom orthotics arrive.

Pelini said he was confident Martinez would play on Oct. 26 against Minnesota. The quarterback has missed three consecutive games after 42 starts over four seasons. Despite the injury, Pelini said, Martinez has remained in good condition.

“He’s been doing what he has to do,” Pelini said. “Conditioning has never been an issue for him, so he’ll be ready to roll. He’s been on the bike. Taylor’s a hard worker, so I don’t think that’ll be an issue.”

The Huskers spent most of Tuesday’s practice working at an up-tempo pace with the top defensive unit matched against the first-team offense. On Wednesday, the Huskers split time between more top-unit work and an introduction to Minnesota.

Replacing Long

Junior Mike Moudy continues to look like the most likely candidate to fill the starting spot at right guard held by All-Big Ten senior Spencer Long before he was hurt on Saturday at Purdue.

“We have confidence in him,” Pelini said. “He’s a big physical guy. He has good feet. I think he’s come a long way. He’s come a long way, really since spring ball on.”

The coach reiterated on Wednesday that Long’s injury was not as serious as feared. He is set to undergo surgery this week to repair a torn MCL in his left knee, hurt in the first quarter against the Boilermakers.

Nebraska trainers thought Long may have torn the MCL and PCL.

“God willing, it won’t affect his shot at the NFL,” Pelini said.

No clarity on ejection

Pelini said he had not received correspondence from the Big Ten office on the decision by officials to eject Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste in the second quarter on Saturday.

Jean-Baptiste was flagged for targeting on a hit of Purdue running back Dalyn Dawkins. Replay officials upheld the ejection.

Pelini said he would seek to speak with the league about the play.

Nebraska coaches have discussed the play with Jean-Baptiste.

“I slow framed it,” he said. “I spent a lot of time looking at it, and it’s awareness thing. You try not to make it close. I thought he made a good football play, but you have to talk about it. And you’ve got to show it to him and keep educating him.

“Hopefully you don’t put yourself in that situation, try not to make it close. I didn’t feel any different about the play when I watched on film than when I saw it live and saw it on the big screen, but obviously [the officials] saw it different than I did.”