Quick hits from Nebraska football’s Monday press conference, as the Huskers begin preparation for Legends Division frontrunner Michigan:
>>NU coach Bo Pelini affirmed that running back Rex Burkhead reinjured his left knee — the problems started with a Grade II MCL strain suffered in the first quarter of the Southern Mississippi game — and will try to come back this week. Pelini said he’s “inclined” to let Burkhead rest one week, but Burkhead, doctors and trainers would have input in the decision. So the official designation is: Day-to-day. Pelini said Burkhead practiced well in the week leading up to the Northwestern game even if he hurt his knee early in the contest.
>>More injury updates: Kevin Williams (knee) was cleared to play vs. Northwestern but stayed home. He’ll be good to go for Michigan. Chase Rome (concussion) is still not ready to play, Pelini said. Cornerback Josh Mitchell (ankle) seemed OK Sunday, Pelini said, after missing the Northwestern game, and could play this week. Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (sprained right shoulder) will play this week. Defensive end Avery Moss (shoulder) is done for the year. The Huskers will try to get a medical redshirt for the true freshman.
>>Nebraska will make personnel changes to its kickoff return unit, Pelini said. He declined to say which players he’d replace. Pelini said the Huskers faced too many long fields vs. the Wildcats as a result of poor kickoff returns.
>>Quarterback Taylor Martinez took a vocal role, several teammates said, in the Huskers’ fourth-quarter comeback.
“He really stepped up and showed he really wants to help our team win,” Enunwa said. “There were a few situations on the field where he made sure the offensive line was staying focused on the game and made sure the receivers were also staying focused and catching the ball.
He’s always been doing that – he’s just being more vocal about it. Making sure that we’re as focused as he is…when you see your QB getting excited — especially ours, who’s not very vocal, not very ‘out there’ –if he’s getting excited about the game, then we’re all getting excited as well.”
For his part, Martinez said he was “really pissed off” about twice converting third-and-long plays early in the fourth quarter, only to have those conversions nullified by penalties.
“It all depends how the game’s going and if I need to fire up guys,” Martinez said.
>>Running back Ameer Abdullah said he’s running with more confidence than he did last year, and that confidence — knowing the speed of defenses and his own offense better — is what’s making him a better back. He added that he has a long ways still to go.
>>Linebacker David Santos said Bo Pelini told he’d play more if he got more disciplined in watch opponent film and learning Nebraska’s defense. Santos said he did that to prepare for Northwestern and was rewarded accordingly. Pelini said Santos remains a work in progress, but “he can run” effectively to the ball.
>>Enunwa said he’s run across just one cornerback who can physically match up with him: Husker Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Enunwa said he’s impressed with Jean-Baptiste’s transition to corner because Nebraska’s defensive playbook is so much thicker than that of Tim Beck’s offense.
>>Plenty of talk about Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson’s ability to make plays with his arm and legs — especially on third down. Nebraska nickel back Ciante Evans said Robinson is basically like Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, except Robinson is faster.
>>Plenty of talk, too, about the Wolverines’ defense, which employs a variety of fronts — including odd fronts with a spinner package — that Nebraska spent chunks of the offseason working on, tight end Ben Cotton said.
More tonight from The World-Herald, especially on special teams.