Published Thursday, October 18, 2012 AT 6:54 PM / Updated at 7:10 PM
Practice report: Cooper’s growth, injury updates, other notes
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

Coach Bo Pelini complimented the recent improvement of sophomore defensive back Corey Cooper, who’ll likely be relied on regularly during the Huskers’ matchup with Northwestern’s spread offense Saturday.

Cooper’s the sixth defensive back in Nebraska’s dime formation, a personnel group used mostly when opponents line up with four wide receivers. That’s been his job all year, and he’s getting better, according to Pelini.

Still room to grow, certainly. But the bye week helps. So does Cooper’s work ethic.

“He’s a guy that works extremely hard at it,” Pelini said. “It’s real important to him. And it’s showing.”

Pelini spoke with reporters for about five minutes after practice Thursday. The highlights are below, beginning with the injury updates…

>> Pelini on Rex Burkhead: “He’s about as 100 percent as he’s going to get. He’s feeling good and ready to roll.” … Not sure if that truly means Burkhead has fully recovered after injuring his left knee again, but the assumption is that the senior running back will play Saturday.

>> Sophomore defensive tackle Chase Rome “more than likely” will be sidelined for Saturday’s game. Pelini indicated that Rome suffered a head injury.

>> Tim Marlowe (broken collarbone) could see his first game action since the season opener. Pelini said the game will dictate how much the senior receiver plays.

Other notes…

>> Pelini said the Huskers have put a “big” emphasis on their kickoff return unit this week. The returners aren’t getting enough help, apparently. “First and foremost, we’ve got to execute and block people,” Pelini said.

>> No changes to the NU football team’s schedule and itinerary during road trips, according to Pelini. Nebraska’s lost both of its road games this year.

>> Pelini heard after the fact that his kickers warmed up on the field while Ohio State’s marching band was completing its traditional “Script Ohio” performance at halftime two weeks ago. But no real comment from Pelini when asked about it Thursday. “I have plenty of other things to worry about,” he said.

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>> Click below to listen to Pelini’s full interview:

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: He welcomes feedback.