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October 17, 2011It's obviously a blow to Nebraska that they won't have the services of Jared Crick the final six games of the season, but head coach Bo Pelini did share some good news on Monday regarding that subject.
Pelini said despite the fact Crick will not be able to play the rest of the season, the Big Ten has granted NU a waiver that will still let him travel and be a part of everything this year, but not count towards the 70 man roster.
I'm glad the Big Ten will allow this, because Crick gave up a lot to come back for his senior year. At least he'll get to be a part of everything down the stretch.
"It's a great thing and it makes sense," Pelini said of the Big Ten's waiver for Crick. "You shouldn't have to count (Crick) and a young man like him should be able to go and be a part of the football team."
Junior running back Rex Burkhead also was pleased to hear the news that Crick will get to be a part of everything with the Huskers down the stretch.
Burkhead feels like the leadership Crick will bring to the table will be very valuable to still have around the sidelines during games.
"It's huge. (Crick) is a guy on the team everyone really looks up to and just to have his presence around is going to help us out on and off the field," Burkhead said. "Just to have that extra voice around and just having his presence in general is huge, because he was such a big factor for our team on and off the field.
"It stinks that he's out. He was such a valuable player to our team, but just to have him around will still help us out."
Burkhead added that he's been able to talk to Crick since the injury and everybody on the team is doing what they can to make sure his spirits stay up.
"I know it hurts him just being out his senior year," Burkhead said. "We are just trying to help him stay positive throughout it. He's going to have a great career on in the NFL. We want to have him around as much as we can to hopefully learn some things from him."
Michigan State defense impresses NU players
A few weeks ago I wrote that Michigan State' defense was average. I was hammered with emails from one Spartan fan demanding a retraction statement from me.
After watching the MSU play against Michigan on Saturday, it's clear this may be the best defense in the Big Ten. Sparty leads the league in every single major defensive category and they limited Wolverine quarterback Denard Robinson to his worst showing of the season.
Several different Nebraska players also took notice of the Michigan State defense on Saturday and know they'll have their work got out for them when they come to Lincoln in two weeks.
"I know that I was really impressed with Michigan State's defense," wide receiver Kenny Bell said. "They have a great group up there and they're going to be solid. The same with Michigan. We have some tough games coming up. I'm interested to see Wisconsin and Michigan State this week in East Lansing, so I'm interested to see how that one goes.
"I have nothing but respect for our opponents in the Big Ten. I think they're all great teams and they all have great players. I'm excited to start the second half of the season."
Another thing NU's players have been able to gauge now after seven weeks of football is how the Big Ten stacks up against their former league the Big 12.
I thought redshirt freshman defensive tackle Chase Rome had an interesting take on the two leagues.
"It's different, it is different," Rome said of the Big Ten vs. the Big 12. "It's different than I thought it would be. There are a lot bigger guys, a lot more run game focus and they have a lot more speed guys than I thought they would. There's a lot of speed at the skill positions. I always heard that 'myth' or 'world view' that the Big Ten slow, but there's definitely good teams and I'm enjoying it."
Burkhead a fan of Richardson's
There may not be a bigger fan of Alabama running back Trent Richardson in Nebraska than Rex Burkhead.
During Monday's press conference Burkhead said he's a huge Richardson fan and was blown away by his 71 yard touchdown run against Mississippi on Saturday.
"Trent Richardson is kind of a guy I look up to," Burkhead said. "I look to learn what he does out on the field. "That run he had (against Ole Miss) was pretty awesome."
So could you make that move Rex?
"Can I make that move? I don't know, that was pretty dirty," Burkhead said. "I try to (make that move), but that was a dirty move he put on. It didn't look like he had to, but it was something else."
For the stat geeks
***Wisconsin running back Montee Ball has scored a league high 17 touchdowns through six games. The next closest player in the league is Burkhead at 10. That's a pretty incredible number. Ball is on a pace to score over 30 touchdowns.
***Just how bad is Minnesota on paper well they rank 110th in total offense and 109th in scoring defense and 92nd in total defense. It's hard to find any team in college football with worse numbers than that right now.
***Nebraska ranks between eight and ten right now in the five major defensive categories in the Big Ten. I almost thought that was a misprint when I read it.
***Another telling stat for Nebraska's defensive struggles right now is they rank 116th in the nation in tackles for loss at 3.8 per game and 90th in sacks at 1.5 per game.
Around the state
***Notre Dame was in Omaha last week to evaluate Skutt tight end Matt Miller in their win over Omaha Gross. Miller is a guy that continues to get more and more attention after the season he's put together.
***Omaha North wide receiver Terry Grigsby scored three more touchdowns on Friday to give him 12 through eight games. He needs just three more to tie the Class A record of 15. The all-class record of 26 was set by former Husker Matt Davison in 1995 and I don't see that getting broke anytime soon.
***Lincoln North Star running back Michael Minter had two interception returns for scores to go along with two rushing touchdowns in a win over Fremont this past Friday night. People that have watched Minter play in person tell me he's the real deal.
Sean Callahan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and he can be heard each day at 6:50 am and 4:50 pm on Big Red Radio 1110 KFAB in Omaha during the football season. He can also be seen on KETV Channel 7 TV in Omaha during the fall and each week he appears on NET's Big Red Wrap Tuesday's at 7 pm.