UCLA-Nebraska Quickhits: Burkhead Status, Husker Backs & Bruin Freshmen

Ameer Abdullah #8 rushed for 81 yards in 15 carries v. Southern Miss, both career highs. He also caught 4passes for 39 yards after making just one catch last season.(Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

Let's keep building the file on our next game. AHMB got started today by his through look at the Cornhusker's offense and coaching staff. Wanted to pile on couple of additional notes on that front late tonight (or early AM for those who are unfortunate enough to live outside the PST).

It looks like Bo Pellini (not surprisingly) is being coy about Rex Burkhead's availability for Saturday:

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini still has not ruled out Rex Burkhead from traveling to UCLA, even though the I-back did not practice again Tuesday and there is no timetable for his return.

Pelini did say on the Big Ten teleconference that the senior might have a "little more say than most" with a decision to play after injuring his left knee Saturday against Southern Mississippi.

"But we'll proceed with caution," Pelini said. "If our doctors don't feel it's right, he's not going to play."

Guess, we should expect him to play. Either way given how deep the Huskers program traditionally is at the TB position, Bruins will have their hands full no matter who comes out of the Big Red backfield. From the AP:

Backups Ameer Abdullah, Braylon Heard and Imani Cross combined for 177 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries after Burkhead left in the first quarter against Southern Mississippi. Abdullah also caught a TD pass.

"We have a lot of confidence in those backs," Pelini said. "They're talented guys. I like how they played, how they responded."

What worries me here is the play of our middle LBs in the 3-4 scheme. While our defense's performance in the second half was encouraging last Thursday night, Damien Holmes was having a hard time. Eric Kendrick's performance was also disappointingly underwhelming. Holmes and Kendricks are going to have to improve in a hurry if Bruins want to contain the Nebraska rushing attack on Saturday.

The official site posted game notes for the Nebraska game. The little details that stood out to me:

  • QB Brett Hundley became the third UCLA freshman quarterback to start a season-opener (Kevin Prince 2009, Bret Johnson 1989) [Note - let's hope third time is the charm here because the first two examples - OY]
  • F receiver Steven Manfro, OT Simon Goines, OT Torian White, C Jake Brendel, DT Seali'i Epenesa, QB Brett Hundley each made their first career starts at Rice.
  • Rice was the first time UCLA has started three freshmen offensive linemen (Torian White Fr.R, Simon Goines, Fr., Jake Brendel (Fr.R) in a season-opener.
  • UCLA played eight true freshmen in the opener at Rice - OL Simon Goines, WR Jordan Payton, F Kenneth Walker, CB Ishmael Adams, CB Fabian Moreau, DL Ellis McCarthy, PK Ka'imi Fairbairn, DB Randall Goforth

Let's hope those freshmen take another step forward this Saturday.


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