The way Nebraska’s top running back reacted to it on Saturday, coach Bo Pelini thought Ameer Abdullah might have sustained a serious injury. So did defensive coordinator John Papuchis.
“It spooked me,” he said. ” He’s a leader. You could feel a little bit of the air come out of the building when that happened. That’s an extremely unique situation.”
But after doctors looked at it, Abdullah merely “tweaked” his knee to a lesser degree than Rex Burkhead (on several occasions) did last year. Abdullah — whom Pelini said “fell wrong” in Saturday’s scrimmage — could return before the end of spring practice, Pelini said, but his tone indicated there wasn’t much need for the junior to do so.
“Let’s face it: Ameer didn’t need a lot of carries this spring,” Pelini said. “He didn’t need a lot of work. It gives us an opportunity to let some of those younger guys move up and see what they have.”
Sophomore Imani Cross — whom offensive coordinator Tim Beck identified before spring as a player to watch — “has had a really good spring,” Pelini said. Once again Monday night, Cross was the last Husker player or coach off the field, working on catching the ball with a student assistant.
Redshirt freshman King Frazier — a walk-on who turned down a scholarship offer to Indiana — is also “doing some really good things.
One Husker is out for spring: Left guard Ryne Reeves. The sophomore has an injury around his ankle that Pelini said won’t set the Crete native back long-term, but will keep him out of camp. Reeves is a backup swing guard behind right guard Spencer Long and left guard Jake Cotton. In Reeves’ absence, junior Mike Moudy and sophomore Givens Price — who would move from tackle — will get more of a look at guard, offensive line coach John Garrison said.
“(Moudy) has the ability to play both (left and right) and be a flop guy,” Garrison said. “Givens Price is another guy we can move in from the tackle spot, having three tackles and another one (junior college recruit Matt Finnin) coming on the way. I think he’s a guy who needs to get more involved and I think to do that, probably guard spot is his chance to do that.”
Several other Huskers — including wide receiver Brion Carnes, safety Harvey Jackson and defensive end Avery Moss — were without pads walking off the field Monday.