Published Wednesday, October 16, 2013 AT 6:57 PM / Updated at 12:26 AM
Practice Report, Oct. 16: Martinez getting “close”; Long out for year
Sam McKewon Omaha World-Herald

Quick hits from Nebraska’s Wednesday night practice as the Huskers continued to work through their bye week and began prep on Minnesota.

>> Quarterback Taylor Martinez: Still out. Still wearing the boot on his left foot, where he’s suffered a turf toe injury. Pelini said Martinez is “close,” which, one supposes, is an upgrade over last week’s “getting closer.” Earlier in the day on BTN Live, Pelini said he’d “guess” Martinez will play at Minnesota.

>> Right guard Spencer Long, coach Bo Pelini said, injured his MCL ligament in his left knee.

“It wasn’t PCL, which is good,” Pelini said. “It was MCL. We thought it was MCL and PCL, which is wasn’t, so that is good.”

He will not return this season — not even for the bowl game — but will instead start preparing for the 2014 NFL Draft. This is similar to Jared Crick missing the rest of the 2011 season after getting surgery on his shoulder.

NU will explore the possibility of playing center Cole Pensick at guard. Pensick played at guard last year, rotating with Jake Cotton.

>> Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis said his defensive group has a better understanding and grasp of where it’s at now compared to the beginning of the season.

“We have a much better comfort with what our guys can handle and maybe can’t handle,” Papuchis said. “We’re a lot more comfortable with our strengths — and maybe our weaknesses that we need to sometimes mask. I know it sounds clichéd, but the process of staying on track and working hard has worked,”

>> NU will send out eight coaches to recruit this week. Head coach Bo Pelini and offensive coordinator Tim Beck are the guys who are not likely to hit the road. Recruiting coordinator Ross Els said Nebraska had a slightly less-coordinated plan of which players to visit this week vs. the first bye week, when NU visited all of its top prospects.

“This week there was some gray area of (assistants) really not deciding where they wanted to go until the last minute,” Els said. “There were either options or it was a situation where we said … I don’t know. It was just different this week for some reason of being a little bit unsure on where to go. I guess I don’t know why. It took us a little longer to decide.”

Els said Nebraska had a “bigger bunch” of players to visit during this bye week vs. zeroing in on “the key guys” in the first bye week.

“We knew specifically who to see and we went and saw these guys,” Els continued. “This week, it’s more there’s a bigger bunch to choose from…that first weekend it was clear-cut: Your top guys, go see them, right now. Then you have a bunch of guys who you still really, really want, but maybe weren’t in that first group or the timing didn’t work out. So there’s been a little bit of deciding, even today, as far as who is going where.”

About Sam McKewon

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him at sam.mckewon@owh.com. And follow him on Twitter at @swmckewonOWH. And call him at 402.219.3790.