Published Monday, November 26, 2012 AT 2:01 PM / Updated at 9:12 PM
Press Conference: Bo locked in, Rex could start
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Quick hits from Monday’s press conference, as Nebraska prepares for the Big Ten Championship against Wisconsin:

>> Coach Bo Pelini said he expects running back Rex Burkhead to start Saturday, and Burkhead said he had no soreness or swelling after his half of play against Iowa.

>> Pelini was particularly locked in Monday, not giving much rope to a variety of questions. When talking about lessons he might have learned from previous losses in conference title games, Pelini said: “I don’t get into psychology or all that other BS. We either make more plays to win the game or we don’t.”

>> Players were frank about the importance of Saturday’s game in terms of making 2012 a successful season.

“Everything we’ve been able to do, everything we’ve accomplished so far, won’t mean anything without a win on Saturday,” tight end Ben Cotton said.

Said safety P.J. Smith: “Coach Bo deserves it.”

>> They were equally frank about the lessons they’ve learned from losses to Texas and Oklahoma in the 2009 and 2010 Big 12 Championship games. Especially that 2010 loss, in which NU jumped out to a 17-0 lead but lost 23-20.

“Don’t give up, don’t give in,” Burkhead said. “Keep your foot on the pedal.”

Said Cotton: “Oklahoma won the last 3-1/2 quarters of the game.”

>> Bo Pelini was surprised that his nephew, center Mark Pelini, chose to walk on at Nebraska instead of playing at an Ivy League school or a military academy, but he acknowledged, too, that “this is one of the places where (walk-ons) know you’re going to get a shot.”

Mark Pelini said Monday he’d sent Bo his high school film in the hopes of having Bo reach out to coaches he knew. Bo thought enough of the film to invite Mark to walk on.

>> Asked which players he’d like to promote for the All-Big Ten team — a list that will be announced Monday night — Pelini had just one name: Ciante Evans.

“There’s probably not a better defensive back in the league,” Pelini said.

>> Burkhead said Martinez has made a “lot of progress” as a leader during the six-game winning streak.

“His attitude was very positive,” Burkhead said. “He was never down.”

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.