September 2, 2010

Thursday notebook: Linebacker Compton injured

Nebraska's defense was dealt another huge blow on Thursday during the last full practice before the season opener, as sophomore linebacker Will Compton suffered a foot injury that will keep him out indefinitely.


"Will was injured during practice today," head coach Bo Pelini said following Thursday's practice. "After practice we were able to confirm that he will be out for some time. We have informed his family about the injury, and we will know more about Will's status going forward in the next few days."


On his weekly radio show on the Husker Sports Network, Pelini called it a "freakish" injury and said he felt especially bad for Compton considering the timing of the injury and all the hard work he had put in over the offseason.


Pelini remained optimistic that Compton could return to the field later in the season.


The injury marks the second returning defensive starter to go down in the past three weeks, as fellow sophomore linebacker Sean Fisher was lost for the season with a broken leg on Aug. 17.


Including the loss of senior offensive lineman Mike Smith earlier this fall, the Huskers could potentially have three players suffer season-ending injuries before even playing a game this season.


With Compton now out of the mix, junior college transfer Lavonte David is all but assured a starting spot, while sophomore Eric Martin, junior Mathew May and sophomore Alonzo Whaley will all continue to battle for the other starting spot.


- Robin Washut












Tuesday practice takes
Pelini doesn't "watch" football: Thursday is the opening night of the college football season, with several games kicking off around the country including some between Big 12 Conference and Top-25 teams. However, don't expect Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini to kick back on the couch in the front of the TV and take in any of the action. "No, I don't watch football," Pelini said. "I've got work to do. I've got a lot of things to do."

Carl filling in for Bo:
Considering that Pelini has just a little bit on his mind at the moment, it was announced that defensive coordinator Carl Pelini would be subbing in for brother Bo for Friday morning's first Big Red Breakfast of the season. The breakfast is scheduled to start at 6:45 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Central in Omaha, though it's recommended to arrive a little earlier to assure tickets and good seating. Tickets can be purchased at the event.

Injury update: Along with the announcement of sophomore linebacker Will Compton's foot injury, Pelini said sophomore offensive lineman Brandon Thompson and freshman defensive tackle Chase Rome would both be held out of Saturday's game due to injury. Outside of those three, Pelini did not report any other player he expected to miss the opener.

What's on tap next: The Nebraska football team practiced for two hours in half pads on the fields north of Memorial Stadium on Thursday for their final full practice heading into Saturday's season opener. The Huskers will hold a walk-thru practice on Friday before Saturday's 6 p.m. kickoff.



Starting QB a game-time decision


Pelini didn't wait long to put the questions regarding who would be the starting quarterback on Saturday to rest following Thursday's practice.


In short, you'll find out Saturday.


Pelini said he would not announce whether senior Zac Lee, sophomore Cody Green or redshirt freshman Taylor Martinez would start against Western Kentucky until game day.


Asked if the quarterbacks knew who would be starting, Pelini quickly made sure that was the last quarterback-related question of the day.


"I'm not answering anymore quarterback questions," he said bluntly. "You'll find out on Saturday. I'll answer all the quarterback questions you want then."


Coming into the start of game week, Pelini left the possibility open of announcing the starter at the end of the Huskers last full practice on Thursday.


During Tuesday's press conference, he said he "had and idea" of who the starter would be, and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson later confirmed that the coaching staff did have a plan as far as their quarterback rotation was concerned.


Regardless of who starts, there's little question that as long as the game goes as planned and NU jumps out to an early lead, all three QBs should see playing time on Saturday.


Whoever ends up getting the start, Pelini said his expectations are for all three quarterbacks and the entire team to execute and put the improvements made over the past month of fall camp on display against the Hilltoppers.


"I expect us to play well," Pelini said. "That's why you play the game. I've said it before, we're not the finished product yet. When you're going into the first game, you find out where you are. That's what I expect us to do. I expect us to play well."


- Robin Washut


Quick hits


***Nebraska won't have any official visitors for Saturday's game, but Pelini said there would be a few unofficial visitors in attendance. He said the first game is generally never a good time for either the team or the recruits to travel for official visits.


"Most players have a lot going on too," he said. "They're just starting their seasons, so it's usually not a really good time. We've got a few unofficials, but that's it."


***Asked if he felt any differently heading into this season opener than he had during his previous two seasons at Nebraska's head coach, Pelini said he felt exactly how he always feels before any game.


"I feel like I do any other year," Pelini said. "I feel like I do any other game. I'm ready to go play and I'm looking forward to putting our team out there. Let's roll. It's time to get this thing started.


"You're never too loose, you're never too relaxed," Pelini said. "It's time to play some football, and we're ready to go. It's time to go play."

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