Monday Notebook: Michigan Week

Come inside for today's news and notes from the Bo Pelini lunchtime press conference.

Lincoln, NE - There wasn't much to complain about Nebraska's performance Saturday against Penn State – dropped catches by Husker receivers was one of them.

Nebraska fullback Tyler Legate on Monday
Video Shot by: Josh Hilkemann
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"It's unacceptable, especially when Taylor throws the perfect ball right to our hands," said Nebraska wide receiver Kenny Bell, who was one of the guilty parties. "It can be absolutely demoralizing, we have to convert…a dropped pass can be the same as a fumble or interception."

On his coaches show, Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini called the drops "disappointing" and said they would continue to work on it.

"Practice makes perfect, catch before practice, catch them after practice, nobody wants to drop a ball, a couple of those were more technique," said Pelini on Monday when asked the process behind the working on eliminating drops. "It's really been an area that we have been pretty good in. Nobody is going to be perfect; a couple of those were in tough situations.

"I can think of three off the top of my head – they seemed to be in crucial situations where we had a chance to extend drives."

Nobody like Maher…

Pelini often makes references that he would never trade Lavonte David or Alfonzo Dennard for another player at their position in the country.

On Monday, he was asked if he felt the same way about kicker/punter Brett Maher.

"Not after Saturday. I thought Brett did a heck of a job. I think his confidence is growing by the game," said Pelini.

On a windy day, Maher recorded eight punts for an average of 45 yards a punt, also knocking in a field goal from 41 yards. His efforts earned him Co-Special Teams Player of the Week.

His biggest punt came late in the fourth quarter with Nebraska up three. With his feet standing around his own 20, Maher booted a high 61 yard punt to force the Nittany Lions drive to start at their own 11.

"Big time punt in a big time situation," said Pelini. "I'm really happy with the way he's progressing."

Stopping Mr. Robinson…

When talking about Michigan, it's hard not to bring up quarterback Denard Robinson. The junior is walking highlight reel, dangerous with both his feet and his arm.

When asked what makes Robinson so hard to stop, Pelini replied: "You got about an hour?"

"He's quick, obviously he can beat you with a lot of different things. He's fun to watch. He's elusive, I won't get a lot of sleep this week."

While Robinson has rushed for over 850 yards this season, he's also thrown 13 interceptions and his completion rate is around 52%. They key is to make him try to beat you with his arm – something that Nebraska has struggled to do at time with other mobile quarterbacks.

"We have done well against mobile quarterbacks at times. I don't know anyone in the country that isn't going to have a problem with mobile quarterbacks," said Pelini. "If anyone says that a mobile quarterback doesn't put more stress on your defense they probably don't know what they are talking about."

Brion Carnes

Yo Brion, keep your helmet ready

Somebody had to ask: "Bo, if you were in a close game and needed a backup quarterback to come in, would Rex (Burkhead) be the guy at this point?"

"No, Brion Carnes would be the guy. We have a lot of confidence in Brion, he's really coming along and doing a great job. We could always put Rex back there, we feel good about some of the things he can do back there, but Brion is our backup quarterback."

Bo's Injury Report:

G.) Andrew Rodriguez – doubtful for Saturday, Pelini indicated that Rodriguez is dealing with a foot sprain and said nothing about previous reports last week that the Aurora product was sick.

TE.) Ben Cotton – doubtful for Saturday – will not likely practice the whole week, good news is he won't need surgery.

S.) Khiry Cooper – day-to-day

OL.) Brent Qvale – probable with undisclosed injury that kept him out last week, practicing today.

After being extremely banged up last week, Pelini doesn't feel the rigorous Big Ten schedule is to blame.

"It's different every year. We have had some freak injuries, I don't think they are necessarily from wear and tear," said the head coach. "We have had some unfortunate things happen."

Josh Harvey has covered college football and recruiting for Fox Sports & since 2008. He is now the Publisher of Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics.
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