Red Report: Pelini says team 'resilient'

2012-12-14T20:15:00Z 2012-12-18T20:17:17Z Red Report: Pelini says team 'resilient'By STEVEN M. SIPPLE JournalStar.com

Nebraska's players are in a good frame of mind as they prepare for the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl, head coach Bo Pelini said Friday.

"They're resilient," he said after the Huskers' fifth practice since a 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Dec. 1 Big Ten Championship Game.

They obviously were hurting after the loss, the coach said.

"But you know what? They're grown men and you move on," Pelini said. "That's what you have to do. We'll be ready to go."

Pelini said Nebraska will do what's necessary to learn from the loss to Wisconsin.

However, "You can't dwell on it," he told reporters. "That's for you guys to do."

Said senior safety P.J. Smith: "It's over and done with. We know the things we messed up on. So we don't have to go back and watch it any more. ... Just move forward.

"We just want to get the job done. We're flying around and having fun."

* Staying sharp: Nebraska hasn't begun zoning in on Georgia just yet, Pelini said.

The players have concentrated on final exams, and getting some rest.

However, "We've been doing enough to keep them sharp," Pelini said.

He said game preparations will begin in earnest next week, when the Huskers have four practices scheduled.

* Strap it on: NU is emphasizing at least one area as it prepares for the bowl.

"They're making us tackle a lot more, be more physical, offense and defense," Smith said.

Nebraska practiced in shoulder pads and helmets Friday, "but it's still like full pads to us," Smith said. "Only difference is, we're not tackling all the way to the ground. But we're doing everything before the tackle."

He said it's not necessarily different than past bowl games under Pelini, the fifth-year head coach.

* Injury report: Senior center Justin Jackson (ankle) and defensive tackle Baker Steinkuhler (knee) have been ruled out of the bowl game.

Meanwhile, senior running back Rex Burkhead, bothered most of the season by a knee injury, is feeling great — great enough that he hasn't worn a brace for the last five practices, Pelini said.

"Other than those two guys (Jackson and Steinkuhler) that didn't play in the Big Ten Championship Game, we should be pretty healthy going in (to the bowl game)," Pelini said.

* Graduates: A total of 13 current Husker players and two former standouts will receive their undergraduate degrees during commencement exercises Saturday morning at the Devaney Sports Center.

The list includes two-time first-team Academic All-America running back Rex Burkhead. Others are: Nick Ash, Taylor Dixon, KC Hyland, Micah Kreikemeier, Tim Marlowe, Conor McDermott, Cameron Meredith, Cole Pensick, Kyler Reed, Graham Stoddard, Alonzo Whaley and C.J. Zimmerer.

In addition, former Husker greats John Parrella (1990-92) and Eric Warfield (1995-97) also are set to receive their bachelor's degrees.

Reach Steven M. Sipple at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com.

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