Quick hits from Bo Pelini’s appearance on the Big Ten Teleconference Tuesday. A few notes from other coaches, too.
>> Pelini mentioned again the importance of 29 seniors in his opening comments. They’ll play their final home game Saturday vs. Minnesota.
“We hope to honor them with our play,” Pelini said.
>> ESPN asked Pelini about the rigors of playing wide receiver at Nebraska, where blocking is as big a priority as pass catching.
“We ask them to be tough and versatile,” Pelini said. Pelini called sophomore wide receiver Kenny Bell, Jr., “a weapon.” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald, asked about the Husker WRs, said each one is “a threat to take it to the house” when they catch the ball.
“That’s pretty scary,” Fitzgerald said.
>> Pelini praised Gopher coach Jerry Kill for creating a vision for a “struggling” Minnesota program.
“It’s not going to happen overnight,” Pelini said. (Kill) took over a tough situation.”
>> Pelini answered two questions from the Chicago Tribune about running back Ameer Abdullah, who’s poised to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in his sophomore season.
“He’s so elusive that it’s hard for people to get big hits on him,” Pelini said. “He’s slippery.”
Pelini said he jokingly told Abdullah that “you’re pretty tough for a little guy.” Abdullah, who bristles when reporters suggest he can’t run in between the tackles, responded to Pelini “I’ll remember that.”
“He’s a prideful kid,” Pelini said. “Tremendous young man.”
Abdullah’s been one of the better finds of the Nebraska recruiting effort, and I suspect all of his carries don’t merely have to do with his on-field talents — I’d argue Braylon Heard is a faster, purer runner — but some of the intangibles he brings to pass blocking, toughness and leadership.
>> One senior reporters didn’t ask Pelini about in his Monday press conference was defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler, who’s quietly started for Nebraska the last three years. Steinkuhler — the only five-star recruit of the Pelini era, son of Dean, brother of Ty — rarely gives interviews, but he has 43 tackles and seven tackles for loss so far this year.
“Baker’s a stud, he’s a leader, he’s everything you want,” Pelini said.