Published Monday, September 3, 2012 AT 1:15 PM / Updated at 6:25 PM
Press Conference Quick Hits: Rex, Cotton, Bo and More
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

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.

Quick notes:

>>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.

About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.


  1. hskrfanzsc says:

    Thanks for the updates Sam…I always check with your column first.

  2. HuskerGreg says:

    Great update Sam!

  3. Stephen Johnson says:

    The defense needs a lot of work. Bo needs to devote most of his time to personally train the D Coordinator and the team. He is a genius on defense but genius cannot be delegated. 3/4 of his time with the defense sounds about right. We have a good enough offense to play with any team. We need a great defense to make a run of it this year.

  4. johnny football says:

    Wow, the defense looked as bad as last year.
    I knew we should have hired a defensive coach to be our head coach when we hired Bo!!!

  5. Andrew says:

    Were we watching the same game? The Husker defense I saw gave up just one touchdown and two field goals, most of those points in the first half. It’s hard to gauge how good the S. Miss. offense actually is, so until we know, I think we should cool it with comparing this year’s offense to last year’s.

    1. johnny football says:

      7-14 on 3rd downs spell’s Calahan’s defense. I WAS WATCHING THIS GAME, what game were you watching?

      1. Mike Caramba says:

        Yeah, Andrew. Points and total yards don’t matter — it’s third down conversion percentage that wins games (regardless of average distance converted or sample size).

        1. Viking Husker says:

          The defense had absolutely zero film to watch on these guys. They put their plan together based on newspaper clippings and high school film from previous coaching stops.

          This also made their plan very vanilla. No exotic coverages or blitzes. So let’s give it a week before we panic about an offense putting up 13 points.

          1. Mike Caramba says:

            Was being sarcastic.

          2. johnny football says:

            No panic, no play makers on the D side of the ball. O-State will have a field day, so will WI., Mich., BUT WE WILL CONTROL “WE ARE, PENN STATE”.

    2. Bryan says:

      Thanks Andrew, as that is exactly what I saw. We only gave up 3 points in the second half and only one offensive touchdown all day to a very athletic Southern Miss team. I have no doubt that Southern Miss wins a lot of games this year. Now, having said all of that, our ‘D’ does need to improve quite a bit before we get into B1G play. I still say were are looking at a 10-2 season, I just don’t think we can beat OSU, but time will tell. GO BIG RED!!!

      1. johnny football says:

        Bryan you’re the best. 1st u say the D is good, than u say the D sucks. So. Miss is like Kansas, they suck!! Ohio State will put a 50 spot on the board if we play like this. Do u have any idea what 7-14 on 3rd downs mean? It means last year we finish 100th in the country.

  6. Dave Rhylander says:

    Husker Fans Make an Impression — I am a die hard Husker supporter who grew up in the great state of Nebraska but have lived in SEC country for the past 20 years. Saturday I attended the Southern Miss game with some parents/grandparents of Southern MIss players. I sat in the Southern Miss section of the stadium and wore black ( so I could still feel supportive of Blackshirts). Until a Nebraskan sits in the opponents seats, you never understand how great of fans there are in Nebraska. Husker fans bought our programs. One lady gave grandma a yellow flower the color of Southern Miss and told her she was glad she made the game. After the game countless Husker fans passed the Southern Miss. section and told us thanks for coming , good luck the rest of the year an safe travels back to Mississippi. As we watched players get on the bus after the game more fans stopped an wished Southern Miss. luck an thanks for coming to Lincoln. At dinner that night all the Southern Miss. parents kept commenting on how great Nebraska fans were throughout the day. We always hear about the Nebraska fans, but until you sit in the opponents seats you never understand the word “Great”. One more reason to be proud of the HuskerNation!

    1. Bryan says:

      Nice post Dave. I was at the Nebraska vs. Southern Miss game in Hattiesburg in 2003 when we beat them 38-14. The crowd that night was definitely Pro Golden Eagles and me and a buddy were in the middle of all Southern Miss fans, we were the only two wearing Red in our section and we were treated about as nicely as one could expect while wearing the other visiting teams colors. I have a lot of respect for Southern Mississippi and their fans, they are a class act. But as a whole, Nebraska Fans are still The BEST!!!! GO BIG RED!!!!!

      1. Aaron says:

        I was at that game as well in 2003 and was treated wonderfully by the Southern Miss faithful. They invited us to one of their tailgates and were very hospitable.


  7. Jeff says:

    Still need work on outside contain. Too many runs around the end. Like last year Northwestern game. Also, I was puzzled to see the S.M. qb run right up the middle so often. If we can’t cover the middle with d-line, we need a backer there covering.

    1. joey says:

      That will not work. Until NU gets a LIGIT DC. NU is in for a long, Long, LONG, LOOOOOOONG season. This season and the next. But, it will be a cold day in hell. Before BO fires 1 of his good ol buddy pal friend of mine. Barney Cotton is living proof of that.

  8. Trojan says:

    Good thing you are playing the weak LA team because we would beat you like a drum.

  9. huskaz says:

    bose dfence is not getting better. we regress every year. his best game is when we beat az. since the win he dclared we r back. funny how we have 8 losses since them. I put his per4mance up there with obama.

  10. Viking Husker says:

    My only issue was with tackling. Had a few get away. Hopefully since they don’t work on it as much in Fall camp, it will get better with game experience.

  11. Stan Hansen says:

    I thought that, on occasion, the tackling was very poor. At this level of competition, you shouldn’t have to teach tackling technique. Arm tackling and poor technique led to too many runners breaking tackles.