Pelini Comfortable with Running Back Options
Lincoln, Neb. - The Nebraska football team continued its week of practices leading up to Saturday's showdown against the 20th-ranked Michigan Wolverines on Thursday. The team practiced for in jerseys and helmets for approximately 90 minutes, splitting their time between the Hawks Championship Center and outside on the Ed and Joyanne Gass Practice Field.
Following practice, Head Coach Bo Pelini discussed the team's situation at running back heading into this weekend. Pelini said that the fact that sophomore Ameer Abdullah may have to take on a heavier load won't change his duties on kick returns.
"We're going to play it like we have," Pelini said. "Ameer will be playing running back, he'll be returning some kicks for us. We have a full range of players at the running back position, between Ameer, Braylon and Imani. We feel good about where we're at."
Pelini took some time to discuss true freshman Imani Cross and the improvement he's shown throughout the season.
"I think he's getting better," Pelini said. "I think he's getting more comfortable. Obviously the more he plays, the more he's in the system, he's developed a better understanding of everything that has to go with the system: protection-wise and carrying the football. I think he's more prepared now than he was during the year."
Pelini also praised Cross' work ethic and what kind of personality he brings to the team.
"Tremendous work ethic," Pelini said. "Great kid. He's going to be a leader in this program for a long time. He's a tremendous individidual, beyond his football talents."
When asked about any personnel changes that had been made on kickoff units, Pelini said the new additions looked solid in practice this week.
"We're going to see how it turns out on Saturday, but we've moved some guys around," Pelini said. "We put a couple new guys in on a couple of the return teams. We'll see how it works out. It looked good in practice, and they've got to carry it over to Saturday."
The Huskers will conduct a final walk-through practice tomorrow before Saturday's primetime matchup with the Wolverines. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2 and is set for a 7 p.m. CDT start.