Published Monday, September 9, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 11:18 am
FOOTBALL
Notes: Husker players looking forward to being men in black Saturday

The black alternate uniform Nebraska will wear for Saturday's UCLA game was on display in the back of the media room Monday. Most reporters took a picture with their smart phones. Even the caterer took a shot.

Players seemed to like the black version more than the all-red look Adidas designed for the Huskers last year.

“I think it's about time,” center Cole Pensick said. “I grew up in Nebraska, and you always have just the scarlet and cream. Ever since I got here, we've always talked about having black jerseys, so I think it's fitting.”

Coach Bo Pelini said the uniforms blended well the players' and fans' desires for black with the Huskers' long-standing traditions. He said it'd be a boon for recruiting, too, although Nebraska's official visitor list may be small because of the 11 a.m. start.

Running back Ameer Abdullah agreed that high school players love the alternate looks.

“Each year, Adidas is getting better, I feel like,” he said. “A little more swag. It's huge for recruiting. Me? I just want to win the game. I don't care what we wear. We can be in underwear out there, I don't care. But for recruiting, it's big. You see Oregon and a lot of schools wearing different unis every day.”

Bruins dealing with player's death



It's a tough week for UCLA football, as one of its team members, redshirt freshman wide receiver Nick Pasquale, was killed over the weekend when he was struck by a car. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini started his press conference Monday by offering condolences to Pasquale's family, the entire UCLA football program and everybody associated with it.

“That's a lot bigger than any football game,” Pelini said.

Apparently for one reporter, it was not bigger than a phone call. At the outset of Jim Mora's press conference — in which Mora addressed how his team was handling Pasquale's death — a reporter is distinctly heard talking on his phone.

“Hey, shut up!” Mora said.

“Sorry,” the reporter said.

“The disrespect of some people is unbelievable, man,” Mora said. “Unbelievable.”

The reporter apparently said Mora could continue talking right after he apologized. Mora became angry.

“Don't tell me to 'go on,'” Mora said. “I'll go on when I'm ready to go. Why don't you take your butt out of here, if you're going to be disrespectful.”

“I apologize, I didn't mean to be,” the reporter said. “I didn't mean to.”

“Well, you were,” Mora said. He then got up and ended the press conference.

Practices have been closed and UCLA players are not available for this week.

Beck focusing on the little things

Offensive coordinator Tim Beck on Monday lauded a “really good practice” as Nebraska began to prep for UCLA. The Huskers practiced in shoulder pads and shorts, installing the offensive and defensive game plans.

“The biggest thing I really want to try to avoid is making it bigger than it is,” Beck said. “We've just got to do what we do and fall back on our training and our coaching. Just do the little things right well, hang on to the football, finish our blocks, finish our runs, the things we've been coaching since we started fall camp.”

Depth chart moves motivated Rose

A depth chart demotion halfway through training camp motivated redshirt freshman linebacker Michael Rose to start playing faster and with more confidence. Rose is challenging for more time at the Mike linebacker spot — his preferred position — after moving briefly to Will linebacker.

Though Rose declined to get into specifics, he said, “I was pushed by a couple depth chart moves” that left him looking for more.

“The depth chart's so flexible you can be a 1 one day and a 3 the next day,” Rose said. “You just got to keep pushing and not worry about where you are on the chart, because you're always one play away ... it got my attention, oh, yeah.”

Rose, who prepped at Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst High School, said he brings “football knowledge” and “athleticism” to the field.

“I want to be considered a playmaker and that's something I'm working on out there on the field,” he said.

UCLA not new to freshman Newby

Add Terrell Newby to the list of Huskers who know the UCLA football program a little better than their Nebraska teammates.

The freshman I-back said he lived about 15 minutes from the UCLA campus in West Hills, Calif. He knows several Bruin players, and UCLA was one of the Pac-12 schools recruiting him.

“I really liked UCLA,” Newby said Monday. “I was more of a UCLA fan than USC fan.”

NU quarterback Taylor Martinez and cornerback Josh Mitchell are among other Huskers who grew up at least loosely following the UCLA program. Martinez, from Corona, Calif., said before last year's road game with the Bruins that he previously had seen a game in the Rose Bowl.

Time set for South Dakota State game

The Big Ten Conference and BTN announced on Monday that Nebraska's Sept. 21 home game against South Dakota State will be televised by BTN at 2:30 p.m.

Game times previously were set for Nebraska home games against Illinois (Oct. 5) and Iowa (Nov. 29). Both games will kick off at 11 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.

* * *

Video: See Nebraska's Monday press conference:

Contact the writer: Sam McKewon

sam.mckewon@owh.com    |   402-219-3790    |  

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him. Follow him on Twitter. Call him.

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