Here's the rundown on what Bo Pelini had to say after Thursday's practice:

* On the week: "I thought we finished up the week well. I thought that was our best practice of the week today. It was kind of back and forth going through the week. Time to put it to the test on Saturday.

"The effort's been there. .... But what I saw was the sharpest day today. ... I thought our gameplan started to come together. We threw a lot at them early in the week and then we pared it down as the week went on and I think they're more comfortable."

* On Southern Miss being better than 2012: "They're a much better football team than they were a year ago," Pelini said of Southern Miss. "I don't know about the result or anything else. I know they turned the ball over six times last week, but you turn on the film and they'll get your attention. They have very good skill on the offensive side. They're fast on the defensive side, they're aggressive. Coach (Todd) Monken has that thing heading in the right direction."

* On defensive communication: "I think they made progress. I don't think it's where it needs to be yet. But I did see progress. I think their understanding grows by the day, by the practice, by the period, by the rep. That's what it has to be. There's one thing about going out there and understanding the defense and all that, but having to make adjustments within a game plan and according to your opponents and things, that's part of the process. And that's what the young guys are starting to understand.

"I was concerned last night. Do I not have any concern? Yeah, I lay awake half the time thinking about different things that we're doing defensively and the young guys on either side of the football. But you keep making progress, keep working with them. And I'm seeing the light start to come on. And that's fun to watch. I think they learned a lot from their experience last week. How much? We'll learn on Saturday. You're going to see a lot of guys play again, and we're going to rotate some guys through. It's starting to pare down a little bit, but especially up front you're going to see some numbers.

* On Michael Rose and other linebackers: "Michael Rose, yeah, he had an excellent week of practice, as did Josh Banderas. Zaire Anderson, he worked his tail off this week. That's one thing about what we have going right now. We have really competition going on in practice and that can only make you better as the season goes on."

* On offense cleaning up sloppiness this week: "I thought up front we did. We threw a lot at them offensively this week.  ... So I think the week started a little bit slower than you'd like, but I thought it picked up and finished up very well today. So I feel very good about where our offense is heading into the game.

* On injuries: Same as last week basically, Pelini said. Both Sam Cotton and Jared Afalava are still out for Saturday.