Published Thursday, November 15, 2012 AT 6:06 PM / Updated at 6:36 PM
Practice report: Pelini says Burkhead a game-time decision
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

Rex Burkhead and Nebraska’s medical staff won’t make a final decision on his status until just before Saturday’s game against Minnesota, NU coach Bo Pelini said after practice Thursday.

Burkhead, battling back from a third MCL sprain (suffered Oct. 20 at Northwestern), did return to practice this week. He practiced well, according to Pelini. But it appears the Huskers will remain cautious with their star I-back, who’s missed the last three games.

Burkhead’s officially a game-time decision. Said Pelini: “We’re going to play it by ear, see how he feels and go from there.”

Other notes from Pelini Thursday…

>> No decision yet on senior Tim Marlowe (shoulder), either. That will be sorted out Saturday, Pelini said.

>> The last two weeks, senior Justin Blatchford has taken the majority of game snaps at the dime back position (the sixth defensive back on the field against four-receiver looks). Pelini said sophomore Corey Cooper’s still in the mix there, too. “We have different personnel (groups) against different packages,” Pelini said. “Every week’s a little bit different for us.”

>> Minnesota true freshman quarterback Philip Nelson faced a variety of blitz looks from Illinois last week. Pelini thought Nelson handled the test well. “I think he’s showed good poise,” Pelini said of Nelson. “I think he understands what they’re trying to do offensively and I think he executes well.”

>> On the Gophers’ pass defense, which is ranked seventh nationally, Pelini said this: “The schemes are good. Nothing fancy, but I think they play hard and play sound defense.”

>> Pelini said he liked the Huskers’ focus and energy during the week of practice.

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Video: Bo Pelini after practice:

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.