Published Wednesday, October 24, 2012 AT 6:59 PM / Updated at 7:19 PM
Practice Report: More playing time for Cross?
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Quick hits from Wednesday’s workout outside the Hawks Championship Center, where Nebraska continued preparation for Saturday’s tilt with Michigan:

>> Defensive tackles Chase Rome and Kevin Williams have practiced the last two days, defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski said, and should be available to play Saturday. But don’t count out end Cameron Meredith sliding inside to play some tackle, too. Kaczenski said Meredith played well there in a limited role.

>> Offensive line coach Barney Cotton said junior Andrew Rodriguez earned the start at tackle last week, and although the line coaches will make a final decision later this week, Rodriguez should be the starter again.

>> Running back Rex Burkhead did not put on pads for practice, dressing in a red practice jersey and black shorts. He wasn’t wearing the knee brace, either. His status for Saturday is officially day-to-day, but coach Bo Pelini said he’d be inclined to rest Burkhead one week.

>> In Burkhead’s absence, running backs coach Ron Brown praised the Huskers backfield depth. A reporter asked Brown if it had been his call to send in true freshman Imani Cross on a short-yardage situation at Northwestern. Brown confirmed it was.

“I wanted to make sure we got the first down,” Brown said. “He’s a good inside runner. He’s very strong. Sometimes you don’t like to get a guy in a crucial situation with his first carry, but you just kinda go with it. The kid’s a gamer. He’s a hard-working kid.

“I think you’re going to see more and more of Imani Cross as time goes on.”

>> Secondary coach Terry Joseph said sophomore corner Josh Mitchell has practiced well this week after missing the Northwestern game with an ankle injury. Expect Mitchell to play — and perhaps start — vs. Michigan.

>> Joseph praised Wolverine wide receivers Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon as great athletes.

A converted quarterback, the 6-foot-4, 203-pound Gardner “cause some trouble in matchups because he’s a tall, long guy who can really get open,” Joseph said.

“He wins the jump balls a lot,” Joseph said.

The 5-foot-8, 187-pound Gallon is dangerous on the quick screen, which Joseph compared to a running play in Michigan’s offense.

“When you get the ball in the hands of a guy like that out in space, obviously they feel good about it,” Joseph said. “They just get those linemen out so quick, so we gotta be keyed into our keys.”

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.