Sophomore A.J. Nicholson played well in Pope's absence.
"I got to come back and take what's mine," Pope said.
"The guys did a good job in there while I was out. But we still gonna rotate in and out like we always done. I went back with the ones, getting back in the groove with everything. I think I had a pretty good practice the first day back."
Pope admitted Sunday he probably could use one more week of recovery time despite being cleared by team physicians. However, he feels comfortable and confident enough to get back on the field.
"At certain times I can (discomfort) but I just don't think about it," Pope said.
"Just got to go out and play. I can still feel, it's still kind of sore, whatever, but it's one of those things I just got to go out there and play football. I can't think about my knee."
The personable Nicholson, meanwhile, was glad to see Pope return from injury.
"It was a blessing that I was able to shine like I did but, you know, I am going to keep working at it and working hard and you ain't seen nothing yet," Nicholson said.
"I am just looking forward to the games we have and excited about the opportunity in front of me."
The lone frontline player who remains out of action due to injury is reserve offensive lineman Eric Broe (knee).