Published Wednesday, November 21, 2012 AT 5:30 PM / Updated at 5:57 PM
Practice Report: New Blackshirts, same professional approach
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Because of a short week of preparation for Friday’s game at Iowa, “it seems like we just played,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said Wednesday afternoon.

“But we have to get ready to go,” Pelini said. “And we had a really good day today. I thought we had a really good week. Good attention to detail. Got a lot done.”

Pelini said Nebraska took a “little bit extra walk-through time” Wednesday, a habit Pelini’s cultivated since arriving at NU, where the Huskers have played a game on the Friday after Thanksgiving against either Colorado or the Hawkeyes.

Nebraska players ate their traditional Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday night and will fly to Iowa City Thursday afternoon. Pelini said he liked the demeanor and approach of his team throughout a five-game winning streak.

“Our guy haven’t gotten too high or anything,” Pelini said. “I think they understand what we have in front of us. Living in the here and now…we’re going to get challenged on Friday.”

>> Cornerbacks Josh Mitchell and Andrew Green became the 12th and 13th Nebraska players to earn Blackshirts this season; both had strong games in a 38-14 win over Minnesota

“They’ve played at a pretty high level the last couple weeks,” Pelini said. “I think they’re playing good football. We mix and match through the secondary. A lot of guys have gotten better.”

>> No further update on the playing status of Rex Burkhead, whom Pelini on his Tuesday radio show listed as “better than 50/50” to play against the Hawkeyes.

“He had a good day today,” Pelini said. “We’ll see how it’s going and how the game goes and how he’s feeling. That’s not really my decision. We’ll sit down and talk about Friday morning after he’s warmed up and go with it.”

>> Look for Jamal Turner to return punts Friday. Pelini said the sophomore wide receiver’s “confidence is growing.” Turner caught the ball well Wednesday, Pelini said, and “it was pretty windy.”

Senior wide receiver Tim Marlowe is an option, as is sophomore running back Ameer Abdullah. Marlowe, who hurt his shoulder at Michigan State, is questionable for the Iowa game.

>> On the other sideline, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said in an interview Tuesday that the Hawkeyes are most impressed with the improvement of Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez. Martinez threw for 122 yards and ran for 20 in a 20-7 win over the Hawkeyes last year.

“He’s playing at a very different level,” Ferentz said. “He’s extremely comfortable in that offense.

>> Ferentz has been pleased with the progress of true freshman defensive end Drew Ott, the Giltner star who signed with the Hawkeyes last February. Ott has three tackles in four games and should vie for more playing time in 2013.

“I really like his work habits,” Ferentz said. “He doesn’t have the strength or maturity to play 50 snaps in a Big Ten Conference game yet, but we’re getting him in a handful here and handful there.”

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.