Quick hits from Nebraska’s media availability with Bo Pelini Thursday night as the Huskers prepare for Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game at Michigan:
>> Quarterback Taylor Martinez (medley of maladies), slot receiver Jamal Turner (calf) and guard Jake Cotton (MCL strain) will all miss the game. Pelini wasn’t sure how many, if any, would travel to the game because of Big Ten roster limitations. Pelini said the Huskers were still trying to figure out which players they’d need on special teams.
>> Wide receiver Kenny Bell, Jr., will play Saturday after missing most of the Northwestern game with a groin injury. Tight end Jake Long will return after a month-long hamstring injury absence. Long, a fifth-year senior, will bring some key experience back to the table, Pelini said.
“He’s a pretty physical guy,” Pelini said. “Just somebody who’s been through it. Been through the ringer. We got those other guys (freshmen Cethan Carter and Sam Cotton) who I think are going to be pretty good players down the line, but it helps having an older guy in there, a calming influence in there. Those younger guys are trying figure things out. They see new things every week. It’s kind of what we’re going through on defense.”
>> Look for Nebraska to use “a number of different combinations” on its interior line spots, including tackle Andrew Rodriguez at guard. Rodriguez played guard in 2010 and 2011 before moving to tackle. Other options at left guard include Cole Pensick, who would slide over from his starting center spot. If Pensick goes to left, Mike Moudy would go to right guard. If Rodriguez slides inside to right guard, Moudy or Pensick can play left guard.
>> Nebraska — especially its young defense — has to block out the distractions of more than 110,000 fans at Michigan Stadium, Pelini said. NU fared poorly in that task in 2011, losing 45-17 to the Wolverines with a BCS bowl on the line for the winner.
“The field’s the same size,” Pelini said. “There’s going to be a few more people in the stands. We gotta block all that stuff out and just play. We got a lot of guys going on this trip who have never been there before, a few who have, and at the end of the day, the 110,000 people — or whatever they put in that stadium — they’re not going to be on that field. It’s going to be 11-on-11. That’s what it’s going to come down to.”
* * *
Video: Nebraska coach Bo Pelini talks after practice Thursday