The Wyoming Cowboys have prepared for dual-threat quarterbacks and pocket passers.

Heck, when they faced Texas State, they had to be ready for one of each just for that game.

The Pokes haven't, however, asked their scout team to attempt to prepare for a quarterback with the abilities of Nebraska's Taylor Martinez.

"We have nobody that's Taylor Martinez," UW coach Dave Christensen said Wednesday. "All we can do is emphasize to the kids that the speed difference on Saturday is going to be drastic compared to what we can actually show them in practice.

"He's probably similar to Brad Smith running the football. He's a great runner. There are probably a lot of similarities there."

Smith, of course, was Missouri's honorable mention All-Big 12 quarterback during Christensen's early years as the program's offensive coordinator.

Smith was the first player in Football Bowl Subdivision history to pass for 8,000 yards and rush for 4,000 more.

Martinez, a sophomore, has a ways to go to reach such numbers, but has thrown for more than 2,100 yards and ran for 1,300 more in his young career. The Huskers' signal-caller already has 384 rushing yards this season.

"He's got great speed," UW defensive coordinator Marty English said. "He's got good guys in front of him. He's surrounded with a ton of talent. And then, when you're as talented as he is, it all shines.

"We're preparing and have to get ourselves in position to have a chance."

The Pokes put themselves in solid spots against opposing quarterbacks the past two weeks.

They limited Texas State's two-quarterback system and even sacked one of them on three consecutive plays.

UW also stifled Bowling Green's run game and, until back-to-back easy-moving touchdown drives to end the game, had pressured Matt Schilz. Junior defensive end Josh Biezuns sacked him once, forcing and recovering a fumble at the same time.

The veteran lineman understands that this week offers a different challenge.

"We've gotten to the quarterback these past two games, but this week in practice we're really going to have to focus on the pass-rushing lanes," Biezuns said. "[We're] trying to keep the ends wide and keep him contained and then push the pocket with the two D-tackles."

The containment portion may be the biggest key.

"He can drop back to pass and then scramble for 50 yards," English said. "Or he can run an option and keep it. He is who he is and that's the reason they're pretty good."

It should help that preparation for Texas State had UW's defense working on option principles.

However, Nebraska is so multiple on offense it will likely seem as if the Pokes are lining up against a combination of every offense they've see. Only the Huskers bring better athletes.

Once again, the Cowboys will preach keeping the ball in front of them.

"[Martinez is] going to get his yards, whether that be on the ground or in the air, but we've just got to make sure that the big plays don't go over our head," UW senior linebacker Brian Hendricks said. "We've got to keep it underneath and rally and make tackles."

Hendricks and the Pokes haven't seen a quarterback like this.

Contact sports reporter Eric Schmoldt at ​Follow him on Twitter @ericschmoldt. Check out his blog at

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