Red Report: Pelini says team 'living in the here and now'

2012-11-21T19:15:00Z 2012-12-27T12:53:14Z Red Report: Pelini says team 'living in the here and now'By BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

As Bo Pelini met the media for the final time before Friday's game, it was hard to believe the practice week had already come and gone.

"Seems like we just played," the Husker coach said after Wednesday's practice.

Fortunately for Pelini, he feels his players made the most of limited preparation time before Friday morning's game at Iowa.

"I thought we had a really good week, good attention to detail, got a lot done," he said. "We had a little bit of extra walk-through time today. I feel pretty good about where we are. We kind of kept the same formula we've had the last few years."

Riding a five-game winning streak and one win from the Legends Division title, Pelini has been most pleased with his team's even-keeled approach.

“(They're) living in the here and now. I said it after the game the other day, they weren’t jumping around. They understand what we have in front of us. We’re going to get challenged on Friday. Live in the process. Taking it one game at a time, one day at a time. That’s been the philosophy, and I think our guys have handled that well.”

* Additions to the Blackshirt club: There have been two more Husker defenders wearing Blackshirts this week. Two cornerbacks.

Junior Andrew Green and sophomore Josh Mitchell have both joined the Blackshirt club. There are now 13 defenders wearing the coveted practice jerseys.

The two corners have been key in holding opponents below a 50 percent pass completion rate in nine of 11 games this year. Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Ciante Evans are the other DBs wearing Blackshirts.

"I think, obviously, they've played at a pretty high level the last couple weeks," Pelini said. "Obviously, we mix and match through the secondary and there are a lot of guys that have gotten better.”

* Injury update: Pelini said on his radio show Tuesday night that there was a better than 50 percent chance Rex Burkhead would play Friday.

After Wednesday’s practice, Pelini wasn’t ready to give a final verdict on the senior running back's status for the Iowa game.

“I thought he had a good day today. We’ll see how it’s going and how the game goes, and how he’s feeling,” Pelini said. “Like I’ve said, that isn’t really my decision. We’ll sit down and talk about it on Friday morning after we’ve warmed up and kind of go with it.”

Senior wide receiver Tim Marlowe (shoulder) may also be available for the game.

Marlowe practiced Wednesday.

* A courageous mouse: After last week's win against Minnesota, running backs coach Ron Brown dropped a complimentary "Mighty Mouse" nickname on sophomore running back Ameer Abdullah.

The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Abdullah has heard it before.

"My high school head coach used to call me Mighty Mouse as well," he said. "He was my high school coach when I was a freshman and sophomore, then he retired. It's not the first time I've heard it. It's all right, I'm not big on nicknames at all, but Coach Brown has a name for everybody, not just me."

What's he think of the name?

"It's Mighty Mouse. You've seen the cartoons, he was a really courageous character and he beat all odds," Abdullah said. "If he (Brown) thinks that highly of me, then I appreciate it. It is all right, I guess."

* Turner’s turn: Jamal Turner saw full-time duty as the punt returner against Minnesota.

While he didn’t break loose at all in the return game -- his longest was 5 yards -- the sophomore didn’t fumble a punt, which has been an issue for the Huskers.

“I thought he did a good job,” Pelini said. “You’ll also see Ameer back there (and) Timmy Marlowe when he gets healthy. But I think Jamal’s confidence is growing every day out there. He had a good day out there today and it was pretty windy.”

* Never too early for turkey: Pelini said the team would eat “a Thanksgiving-style meal” Wednesday night.

You've got to get your turkey when you can.

Because, when most Nebraskans are sitting down to eat their big dinner Thursday, the Huskers will be boarding an airplane.

Pelini said the team will fly out at approximately 1 p.m., then have a normal travel routine after that.

While it’s not your standard Thanksgiving experience, Pelini did get a standard Thanksgiving question, when one reporter asked him after the practice: What are you thankful for?

“Family and friends, and this football team, these kids, the opportunity to be here,” Pelini said. “I have a lot to be thankful for. I’ve been fortunate.”

Reach Brian Christopherson at bchristopherson@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. You can follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

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Big Ten standings

LEGENDS Conference Overall
  W-L W-L
8-0 13-1
5-3 8-5
5-3 9-4
4-4 8-5
3-5 7-6
1-7 5-7

 

LEADERS Conference Overall
  W-L W-L
8-0 12-2
6-2 9-4
4-4 7-5
3-5 5-7
1-7 4-8
0-8 1-11