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September 1, 2008

Pelini happy to get first game in the books

Finally, Bo Pelini can officially focus on the season.

After months of speculation about his debut as Nebraska's full-time head coach, Pelini was able to get his first game under his belt essentially without a hitch, as the Huskers pulled off a 47-24 win over Western Michigan Saturday.

Now, instead of worrying about making a good first impression on Husker Nation, Pelini can finally start worry about the task at hand.

"You don't have any preseason games in college football," Pelini said during his weekly Big 12 coaches' teleconference on Monday. "You get those first-game jitters out of the way, and now you hopefully can settle down and play better football as you go along."

Pelini said he was generally happy with what he saw from the Huskers after watching film from Saturday's game. He also noted that he was glad to finally see his team perform in an actual game as opposed to against each other on the practice field.

He said it was especially good to see how the defense performed in its first test under Pelini's system. Though the Huskers gave up nearly 400 yards of offense and 24 points to the Broncos, Pelini said it was good to finally get a gauge of where the unit was.

"I had a little more knowledge of what we were going to do offensively just because we're running the same system as last year," he said. "Defensively, it was their first time with us, so I felt a little more comfortable in what our offense was going to do than our defense."

Among one of the many questions answered in Saturday's game was how senior Cody Glenn would handle his transition from running back to linebacker. Judging from his game-high 12 tackles and forced fumble in the game, it went pretty smoothly.

"He showed good instincts right off the bat," Pelini said. .He responded well to what we were asking him to do early on. I think he's still a work in progress, obviously. He's still learning the position, but he's athletic. He can run and he plays with a great motor."

Pelini also said senior Lydon Murtha would likely return to action this week after sitting out Saturday's game with a muscle injury in his arm. Pelini said Murtha, when healthy, would return to his spot as the starting right tackle.

In his absence, the Huskers saw several young tackles step up to fill the void. Sophomore Mike Smith started his first game at left tackle, as did redshirt freshman Marcel Jones at right tackle. Sophomore Jaivorio Burkes also saw playing time at both tackle spots.

"I said going into the season that we have four capable tackles," Pelini said. "I think they're all going to see time."
Pelini gave an update on the Huskers' Blackshirt situation, essentially saying there is no update.

"We'll see," he said when asked when he thought the Blackshirts would be handed out. "You wait until they've earned them, and they haven't been together long enough for that to happen."



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