There’s still a chance Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead makes the trip West this weekend and plays at UCLA, NU coach Bo Pelini said at his Monday presser.
Burkhead strained his left knee in the Huskers’ 49-20 win over Southern Mississippi Saturday, got a MRI Sunday and had a “good day” Monday, Pelini said. Burkhead is “questionable” for UCLA with a “day to day” status. No surgery will be needed. Right now, Pelini said, Burkhead’s on the travel roster.
“With a guy like him, you’re going to be very guarded,” Pelini said.
On his third carry of the game, Burkhead wrenched his knee going to the ground. He limped off the field and “felt something” in his left leg, Pelini said. NU’s team doctors looked at Burkhead and declared him out for the game. Burkhead fought the decision, Pelini said, and “always will,” but Pelini said Burkhead’s long-term health is more important.
“You’re not just thinking about the next couple quarters,” Pelini said. “You’re thinking about the whole season. Not only the future of the team, but Rex’s future.”
The depth chart behind Burkhead: Sophomore Ameer Abdullah, sophomore Braylon Heard and freshman Imani Cross.
“We have a lot of confidence in the guys who are playing running back for us,” Pelini said. “They were already playing. They were all going to get their snaps anyway.”
More injury updates:
>>Slot receiver Tim Marlowe is out until the end of October after surgery Sunday for a shoulder injury.
“He’ll be back for the stretch run,” Pelini said Marlowe.
>>Tight end Ben Cotton – who left with a rib injury – should play vs. the Bruins.
>>Cornerback Mo Seisay is “day-to-day” with an ankle injury. He didn’t suit up vs. Southern Miss. Pelini said he’d like Seisay to play Saturday if his injury gets better. Seisay’s a remote redshirt possibility if the injury doesn’t respond.
>>Defensive end Jason Ankrah and tight end Kyler Reed should start at UCLA after suffering minor injuries vs. Southern Miss. Both returned to the game after their dings.
>>Pelini said the defense is ahead of where it was at 2011, both in understanding and execution. An intense preparation for Southern Mississippi contributed to that growth.
>>Pelini praised UCLA’s offensive personnel, including quarterback Brett Hundley, running back Johnathan Franklin and tight end Joseph Fauria. He would not compare the Bruins’ offensive players to Southern Mississippi.
>>Pelini said he has “a lot of respect” for new Bruins coach Jim Mora, who worked in the NFL as an assistant when Pelini did. Mora, a defensive coach, runs both a 4-3 and 3-4 alignment.
>>Quarterback Taylor Martinez expects 40-50 family members to attend the game in the Rose Bowl. UCLA was Martinez’s favorite team growing up and he went to watch games at the Rose Bowl.