Nebraska coach Bo Pelini went back to work on Sunday after he left Memorial Stadium in an ambulance at halftime of Saturday’s 42-13 win over Arkansas State.
“I have a clean bill of health,” Pelini said Monday. “I feel great, there’s no issues and I’m ready to move on.”
Pelini said on Monday he wasn’t feeling well about an hour prior to kickoff on Saturday and the conditions worsened as the game went on. The Nebraska training staff was seen checking Pelini’s pulse on the sideline and the coach said he experienced dizziness as well as “severe heart burn” but no chest pains. Those symptoms were enough for the training staff to recommend he go to the hospital for further testing.
“I’ve never had a health issue in my life,” Pelini said. “You have something you haven’t quite felt before, you exercise caution. I’m glad we did.”
Pelini was released from the hospital Saturday afternoon and, while he said there is a history of heart problems in his family, downplayed the notion that stress had anything to do with scare.
“I have tremendous balance in my life,” Pelini said. “I’m not a real stressed out person. The biggest stress you have is getting from here and getting to my kids games and making sure I’m handling my time here along with what you want to be as a father.”
Some other quick hits from Monday’s press conference:
–Pelini isn’t the only one back at work on Monday. Senior running back Rex Burkhead is scheduled to return to practice today and play on Saturday against Idaho State.
Burkhead hasn’t practiced since the injury but Pelini said that an NFL scout who visited a Nebraska practice last week remarked about how hard Burkhead was working on his rehab.
“That’s why he’s come back,” Pelini said. “He’s listened to the trainers, he’s listened to the doctors and he’s attacked his rehab like he does everything else. That enables you to come back in a hurry.”
–Nebraska didn’t make drastic changes on defense on Saturday, but the Huskers did use a three-man front more frequently against Arkansas State. Pelini said it’s always part of the arsenal.
“We’re prepared to go three-man or four-man all the time,” he said. “We mixed it in throughout the day and it creates issues for the offense. It enables us to use different packages, different guys in different places, and you kind of figure that out as you move along defensively.”
Overall, Pelini said he was happy with Nebraska’s improvements on defense last week, specifically in tackling and communication.
–For the third time in as many years, Nebraska will welcome a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team to Memorial Stadium in Idaho State. Nebraska rolled over Tennessee-Chattanooga 40-7 to open the season last year, but struggled some against South Dakota State, winning 17-3 in 2010. Quarterback Taylor Martinez said there were some lessons to be learned from that game.
“Back then we looked ahead to the next team,” Martinez said. “This week we’ve just got to focus on the team we’re playing.”
Idaho State’s last game was two weeks ago against Division II Black Hills State. When asked if he knew where Black Hills State was located, Martinez laughed and said “no.”
–Talented freshman running back Imani Cross could see some decreased reps with the return of Burkhead but he’s not sweating it.
“We’re all so excited for Rex to come back so I’m not really worried about reps right now,” Cross said. “I just want Rex to get healthy because I know it will help the team win.”
Cross said Burkhead has been almost like a coach during his two-week absence.
“I watch Rex very closely, I listen to what he says, and I watch the way he approaches the game of football,” Cross said. “I really respect him as a runner.”