Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini had a couple of big pieces of injury news to deliver following the Huskers’ Monday practice, the team’s fifth this spring.
Junior running back Ameer Abdullah “tweaked his knee” according to Pelini and will miss a couple of weeks. He could be back in time to take part in the latter portion of spring practice though Pelini said they may hold Abdullah out for precautionary measures.
Pelini said the injury was similar to what Rex Burkhead suffered early in the 2012 season but “to a much lesser degree.”
In Abdullah’s absence, Imani Cross will take center stage as the only scholarship back on the roster.
“Imani’s really having a good spring so far,” Pelini said. “(Redshirt freshman walk-on) King Frazier’s doing some really good things. It gives us a chance to look at some other backs.
“Let’s face it, Ameer didn’t need a lot of carries this spring…If he’s going to get tweaked and miss a couple of days, now’s the time.”
Nebraska will also be without sophomore offensive lineman Ryne Reeves for the rest of the spring. Reeves, who suffered an ankle injury, was expected to challenge for playing time at either center or guard this spring. Pelini said he expects him to return to workouts around mid-summer and be back to full-strength in time for fall camp.
Redshirt freshman defensive end Avery Moss also missed Monday’s practice but is expected to return on Wednesday.
Some other news and notes from Monday:
–After voicing his displeasure following Saturday’s practice, Pelini was happy with how the squad bounced back. “We had a lot better practice today. I liked what I saw. We made a lot of progress.”
–Defensive coordinator John Papuchis echoed Pelini’s thoughts, adding that some emotional swings are inevitable the Huskers’ youth on defense.
“They came back with a great attitude. The reality is that we are going to have some ups and downs.” Papuchis said. “We want to limit the downs obviously, but for a variety of reasons there were situations in practice Saturday where there were nine freshmen or sophomores running with the ones.”
Papuchis called this current defensive unit the fastest yet in his time at Nebraska.
–Linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator Ross Els talked briefly about the changing NCAA rule book and whether or not Nebraska has considered hiring a recruiting coordinator from outside the program as would be allowed under the proposed changes.
“There’s so much up in the air right now (that) we’re talking to people about possible positions but we don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said.
A few schools, Alabama and Texas chief among them, have already made high-profile hires under the assumption that the new recruiting rules will allow for additional staff. Els said he didn’t have a problem with schools making those hires if they had something for those individuals to do if the rules don’t change, but Nebraska’s not quite ready to make that big of a jump.
“We’re not waiting and seeing,” Els said. “We’re talking to guys, we’re talking about guys, but certainly we’re not going to hire someone and then, a few months later, say ‘Oops, you’re position is eliminated.’”