Published Monday, November 12, 2012 at 9:30 am / Updated at 10:37 pm
Press conference: Burkhead questionable, Pelini talks about NU seniors

Quick hits from Monday's press conference, as Nebraska hits the home stretch of 2012 regular season:

>> Running back Rex Burkhead talked because it's Senior Week, but he remained evasive about whether he'd play in Saturday's home finale vs. Minnesota. He wouldn't give a percentage chance on his suiting up, only that his strained left knee feels pretty good and "I'm pretty close."

Burkhead, notably, said it would be more important for him to play in a potential Big Ten Championship game than it would on Senior Day. And coach Bo Pelini said that, after Burkhead strained his MCL for a third time in the first quarter of the Northwestern, coaches, trainers and Burkhead sat down and agreed he wouldn't play until his knee was 100 percent.

Since that agreement, Pelini said he hasn't had any input on whether Burkhead plays, preferring to leave the decision to Burkhead and trainers.

"It kills him every week," Pelini said of Burkhead not playing.

Burkhead said he'd do some light field work Monday in preparation for the week. Burkhead said he has a lot of family members visiting for Saturday's game.

In Burkhead's absence, Ameer Abdullah has held up just fine, toting the ball 31 times in the win over Penn State. Abdullah said he didn't feel wear-and-tear of those carries at all.

>>It's Senior Week, so to speak, and you'll see a lot of good stuff from us on some of the players who comprise the 29-member class. Pelini said this class has exuded leadership, toughness and character.

"They've put up with me for four, five years," Pelini joked. "We're not easy on them. We've demanded a lot from them."

>>Pelini extolled the virtues of reinvigorating Nebraska's walk-on program since he arrived in 2008. Pelini said the walk-on program was in a bad spot when he arrived, and even he didn't fully appreciate the impact of it until he'd spent time around it as head coach.

"It's a big-time edge," Pelini said. "And it's an edge we have to use."

>>The Huskers are 14-4 in November since Pelini arrived, which the coach attributes to the team "staying with the process" and learning from mistakes made earlier in the season.

* * *

Coach Bo Pelini

Taylor Martinez

Rex Burkhead

Coach John Cook

Contact the writer: Sam McKewon    |   402-219-3790    |  

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him. Follow him on Twitter. Call him.



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