Just when Nebraska welcomed back reinforcements in the secondary, injuries are threatening to thin the group out again.
Husker coach Mike Riley confirmed Thursday that junior safety Antonio Reed (knee) will not play Saturday against No. 9 Ohio State and that fellow junior safety Aaron Williams (neck) is questionable.
“We’ll see about him tomorrow,” Riley said of his regular starter.
If neither can play, redshirt freshman Marquel Dismuke will likely start next to Joshua Kalu, who played 63 of 66 snaps against Wisconsin in his first action since a Sept. 9 hamstring injury.
Elsewhere on the injury front, junior running back Mikale Wilbon (left ankle) is set to return after a one-game absence, but sophomore Tre Bryant (knee) will miss his fifth straight game.
“Oh boy, I feel bad. He actually put the gear on today,” Riley said of Bryant, who had 299 rushing yards through NU’s first two games. “He put the gear on and practiced a little bit and then wasn’t able to continue, but that’s OK. We told him at that point that he got started, and that’s a good thing.
“Now he can have what was left of this week, next week and we won’t play for quite a few days, so maybe he’ll have a chance as we come back either in the bye week or through it.”
Right tackle David Knevel (right foot/ankle) has been practicing for weeks and participated on NU’s field goal shield last week, but likely will not play Saturday. Riley said Knevel’s ankle “has been back and forth,” and that the Huskers expect freshman Brenden Jaimes to make his fourth consecutive start at right tackle.
Knevel was originally injured late in the season-opener against Arkansas State and has not played since.
Inside linebacker Dedrick Young (right hand) will be able to play with a cast on his hand, according to Riley, while wide receiver Bryan Reimers sprained an ankle Wednesday and likely won’t play.
Lee playing with confidence: Tanner Lee has been coming on strong for the Huskers, and they will need him to continue that solid play Saturday.
“Tanner’s a good player, as I’ve said,” Riley told reporters Thursday. “We’ve got to be good all around him with the game we play and with the players that have to make plays for him and protect him. We feel real confident about the plays that the can make.”
Over the past two games, Lee has 508 yards on 59 percent passing to go along with four touchdowns and one interception.
Conrad assumes utility role: Junior Fremont native Cole Conrad is recovered from ankle and knee injuries and available for the Huskers, though sophomore Michael Decker has solidified himself as the starting center.
Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said Monday that Conrad took some practice repetitions at guard and, as a sophomore, he started five games at right tackle. That makes him a natural candidate behind Jaimes there if needed before Knevel is healthy enough to play.
“You know, we’re right back to Cole being Mr. Versatile,” Riley said Thursday. “We think he could fill in at tackle. He’s competitive at guard and he’s been our starting center. Now he’s probably what you would say is the backup center, backup guard. That’s good for us right now right at this moment.”
NU makes cut for Californian: Four-star athlete Bryan Addison released his final five schools on Twitter late Thursday morning and the Huskers made the cut.
Addison listed NU, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State and Michigan as the five he’s still considering committing to.
Addison, a 6-foot-5, two-way player for Junipero Serra High in Gardena, California, is ranked the No. 139 player in the country by 247Sports/Scout. He took an official visit to Nebraska in September when the Huskers lost to Northern Illinois.
In addition, NU is set to host five-star athlete Talanoa Hufanga on an official visit this weekend. Hufanga, a Corvallis, Oregon, native and the No. 14 overall player based on 247Sports/Scout’s rankings, is the second five-star visitor in as many weeks for the Huskers, who had outside linebacker Micah Parsons on campus for the Wisconsin game.