Orlando, Fla. - The Nebraska football
team held its first bowl practice in Orlando on Thursday morning, practicing in
full pads for more than two hours at Freedom High School. The Huskers arrived
in Orlando Wednesday evening before kicking off the first of four bowl
practices in the Sunshine State.
Following Thursday's practice, Head Coach Bo
Pelini met with the media and said he was pleased with the Huskers' first
"I thought it was a good practice today,"
Pelini said. "I thought we had good energy. We were a little rusty in a couple
areas, more mentally on things we installed the week before we left. I thought
overall, it was good, good energy. We obviously still have a lot of work to do
still leading up to the game."
Pelini was asked about the team's mindset
heading into the Capital One Bowl, and he said he felt good about how the team
is preparing, noting excellent leadership from a large senior class.
"It's a pretty mature group, and I think they
understand the challenge we have ahead of us," he said. "We're playing a really
good football team. These kids have been through - at least most of them that
are playing - have been through a bowl experience before and they understand
the balance you need to have between enjoying the city and enjoying your time
down here, but also keeping in mind that the big picture is being ready to play
a football game."
Pelini also commented on Cole Pensick's
absence from Thursday's practice, noting that the junior was ill and did not
travel with the team on Wednesday, but is expected back for Friday's practice.
"He'll be back," Pelini said of Pensick. "He
was sick. He's feeling a lot better. He'll land tonight, and he'll be ready to
Pensick and sophomore Mark Pelini have both
worked with the top unit at center throughout bowl preparations, following a
season-ending injury to Justin Jackson, who started at center for the first 12
games of the season.
"I think they'll both play," Bo Pelini said,
referring to Pensick and Mark Pelini. "Cole was probably lined up as the
starter for most of the bowl practices. Mark had a good day today. We feel
confident in both those guys, plus it gives us the flexibility to have Cole
move out to guard."
Pelini noted that the player under center,
first-team All-Big Ten quarterback Taylor Martinez, is preparing well for his
third bowl game as a starter.
"Taylor's approach doesn't change much,"
Pelini said. "He's a guy who has a lot of confidence. He's a competitive guy.
He's a guy who wants to play well every single time out. He knows he's going to
have to play at a high level, and I think he's done that. He's had a good year
but I think this will be a real good opportunity for him leading up to next
Following practice, the Huskers departed for
their first recreational activity of the trip, spending the day at Walt Disney
World. Nebraska will continue preparations for its Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl
matchup with Georgia by practicing again on Friday morning.