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For Martin, coaching isn't just It's a calling
Nate Britton
Antelope Staff
Photo by Nate Britton
Coach Russ Martin (far right) is helping the quarterbacks get more comfortable with their position. Coach Martin believes quarterbacks are the key to a successfull offense.

Offensive coordinator and quarterback coach Russ Martin has been with the football team for seven years. Coach Martin’s knowledge of football comes from his love of the game and his stint as a player.

Martin played football in college at Chadron State where he started out as a running back but soon fell into the linebacker position for his last couple of years on the gridiron.

Early on, he knew his next step in life was to become a coach.

“I believe I was called into coaching as my form of ministry when I was 12 or 13 years old,” Martin said.

For a total of 32 years he has been coaching both at the high school and college level. Martin has played and coached on both sides of the ball, but being the quarterback coach was something he really wanted when he came to UNK.

“I wanted to be able to coach the quarterbacks, because I run the plays for offense,” Martin said. “There are times when the quarterbacks have to call a different play right at the line of scrimmage, and I want to know that they are comfortable when they have to make those decisions.”

A good quarterback can read the defense and know when a play isn’t going to work, so they have to be able to choose the right play at the right time. Martin works hard with the quarterbacks to make those tough decisions a little easier.

Martin modifies the offense a little bit from year to year, deciding if they are running the ball a little more or passing. When making these decisions, Martin believes it depends first on the quarterback and then the abilities of the other players around him.

 “My main strategy isn’t making the offense the same every year— but to gear the offense to the talents and abilities of the players to give them the best chance for success,” Martin said.

Sir Keevin Hardiman, a former defensive end and UNK graduate, has a high respect for Martin.

“Coach Martin is definitely the players’ coach. He will help any player with anything they need,” Hardiman said. “He is also a lot of fun to just shoot the breeze with.”

Hardiman said Martin’s strategy comes from experience and is having a positive impact on the team.

“He never gets away from his offensive scheme,” Hardiman said. “A lot of coaches have one scheme for most of the field and then change the way they call plays at the goal line or in the red zone. But Coach Martin knows what works and sticks with his strategy all the way up and down the field.”

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