Burkhead day-to-day as Huskers prepare for Michigan

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said senior running back Rex Burkhead is “day-to-day” after re-injuring his left knee  in last Saturday’s win over Northwestern. It’s the second time this month that Burkhead has aggravated the MCL sprain he suffered in the season opener.

“He was a lot better yesterday, even better today,” Pelini said at the Huskers’ weekly press conference on Monday. “His re-injury isn’t as bad as it was at Ohio State.”

With this third injury coming so soon after the second, Pelini was asked if he would hold Burkhead out to give him some more time to recover.

“That’s not my decision,” he said. “(It’s) between the doctors, the trainers, and Rex. Rex has a big say in it. He felt really good going into the (Northwestern) game. He practiced and didn’t have any issues. We’d probably be inclined to let him rest for at least a week but I don’t know how it’s going to play out.”

Even without Burkhead in the lineup, the senior still can serve as a team leader said senior tight end Ben Cotton.

“Rex is a warrior. A lot of guys probably would’ve checked out right now. But he keeps fighting. He’ll try to practice, if he can practice. He’s going to do everything he can to be out there and everything he can to be himself.

“One thing you see about Rex is even at the beginnings of the Northwestern game, the Ohio State game, the Wisconsin game, he goes out there and is himself. It’s unfortunate he keeps getting dinged up but no matter what the effort you’re getting from Rex can motivate a lot of guys. If Rex can do it with a bad knee, what am I capable of?”

Some other news and notes from Monday’s press conference:

–On the injury front, redshirt freshman defensive tackle Kevin Williams is cleared to play after missing the trip to Northwestern last week. Pelini said Williams could have played against the Wildcats but the staff elected to give him another week off. Chase Rome had yet to be cleared on Monday after suffering a head injury, but could be “in the next day or so.”

True freshman defensive end Avery Moss is done for the season and will undergo shoulder surgery Pelini said. Moss could be a candidate for a medical redshirt.

Most importantly for the Huskers on the defensive side is the status of starting cornerback Josh Mitchell. Mitchell didn’t dress for the Northwestern game after suffering an ankle injury in practice last week.

“He’s a lot better over the last couple of days,” Pelini said. “We’ll see how it plays out over the next few days.”

–After having two spectacular first down plays on consecutive third-and-longs wiped out by penalties in the fourth quarter, Taylor Martinez took the opportunity to have a conversation with his offensive linemen.

“I was really (ticked) off because it was third-and-15 and we got the first, third-and-20 and we got the first,” he said. “It didn’t seem like anything was going right.”

Martinez said he got a little heated but declined to share exactly what was said.

–Junior nickel back Ciante Evans had what Bo Pelini called a “phenomenal” game against Northwestern. Evans matched up with the Wildcats most dangerous receiver, Kain Colter, and held him to three catches for 17 yards.

“I tried to have a battle with (Colter),” Evans said. “I wouldn’t necessarily say I stopped him but I just wanted to go out there and be like ‘we’re going to remember each other’ because I remember him. He’s a heck of a player.”