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Nebraska football coach Mike Riley confirmed after Thursday's practice that five players will be suspended for Nebraska's Sept. 5 season opener against BYU, but did not name the players.

"Didn't want it to come out exactly like this, but I did want it to come out early so we let you know," Riley said.

The news had leaked earlier in the day in a story written by a Portland (Oregon) Tribune writer who attended a Husker staff meeting early in the week during which the suspensions were discussed.

Riley apologized for how the news came out.

"I'm not going to give you their names and I'm not going to give you why, but it was obviously a team violation, and then we will be anxious to have those guys in the fold after that," he said.

The Tribune story noted that one of those suspended is a defensive starter. "I don't know about that," Riley said with a laugh. "I'm not going to say any more about who it might be."

Asked if he'd release the names at some point before the game, Riley said he wanted to think it over.

"It will become obvious as the kickoff occurs, so I'll probably let you know."

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Other information revealed by Riley:

* True freshman running back Jordan Stevenson was sidelined with an injury during Thursday's practice. It's not as bad as it looks, the coach said.

"He's in a (walking) boot and he's on a crutch, but we don't think it's anything that will be long-term. It's more like what you would have with a sprained ankle."

* Wide receiver Sam Burtch recently suffered a lateral meniscus tear in a knee and underwent surgery. Recovery should take two to four weeks. Riley said it's possible Burtch could be back for the opener.

* Cornerback Chris Jones suffered a similar injury. "We'll hope for both of those guys to see where they are at this time."

* The Huskers moved senior offensive lineman Givens Price to defensive tackle. He's been practicing there the past two days.

"He wanted to do it. I think he can certainly help us," Riley said. "He's smart, he has the perfect size for what we want in there and he's athletic."

* The coach also said sophomore tight end Jared Blum, of Gretna, has transferred to South Dakota State.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7439 or bchristopherson@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

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