Published Friday, December 27, 2013 AT 12:45 PM / Updated at 7:37 PM
Gator Bowl: Moss, Afalava not in Jacksonville with Huskers
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

Redshirt freshman Avery Moss, a regular in Nebraska’s rotation at defensive end, didn’t travel with the team and will not play in the Gator Bowl, Bo Pelini announced Friday.

Moss is back home in Arizona dealing with a personal issue, according to Pelini.

Without Moss, Pelini said the Huskers will keep their rotation at defensive end at three players — what presumably means they’ll be incorporating redshirt freshman Greg McMullen more with starters sophomore Randy Gregory and senior Jason Ankrah. Moss had 4 1/2 sacks this year, the second-most on the team, so he will be missed.

McMullen’s been preparing himself for an increased role all year, though. He said after practice Friday that he’s focused on his technique and playing with more physicality. But getting comfortable with the playbook has made the biggest difference.

“A better understanding of why we use certain schemes and why we game plan,” McMullen said. “Even when you don’t get a call from a linebacker. By knowing why we’re doing what we’re doing by formation, you’re able to become a more well-rounded player.”

Also not on the trip is redshirt freshman Jared Afalava, who violated team rules. Afalava started two games this year, but he was not available to play throughout much of November for an undisclosed reason.

Pelini said walk-on receivers Richard Wynne and Ishmail Jackson didn’t travel to Jacksonville because they too violated team rules.

Asked if he expects all the players mentioned to be back on the team in January after the bowl game, Pelini said, “We’ll see.”

More from Nebraska’s first on-site practice in Jacksonville coming soon.

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Photos: Nebraska in Jacksonville

Video: NU’s first practice in Florida

Video: NU coach Bo Pelini talks after practice

Video: Huskers take a dip in the ocean

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: He welcomes feedback.