August 13, 2011

Saturday notebook: Still no news on Starling

No news is certainly not good news for Nebraska in terms of the status of freshman quarterback Bubba Starling.


Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini said Saturday that he still had no idea whether Starling would be a member of his football team this season or go on to play professional baseball with the Kansas City Royals.


The deadline for Starling to make his decision is on Monday, Aug. 15, by midnight, and at this point Pelini said he, Starling nor his family had an idea which path he'll choose.


"There's nothing new there," Pelini said. "Until an offer's made, until they know - he doesn't have all the information to make a decision right now."


After taking summer classes at Nebraska during the second five-week session, Pelini said Starling went back to his home state Kansas this weekend when classes wrapped up on Thursday.


He said he's been in contact with Starling and his family throughout the process, and they've been keeping him updated on any news regarding his decision. The only problem is there just hasn't been much of anything to report.


"I've been in contact with the family, and we'll be in contact when we know what the situation is," Pelini said.


As is the case in many contract negations in professional sports, Pelini said he wouldn't be surprised if he didn't get official word on Starling's status until as late as the final hour Monday night.


Until he finally gets that phone call letting him know one way or the other, though, Pelini said all he can do is continue to wait.


"I really don't know," Pelini said. "I anticipate it could (come down to the last hour), but I honestly don't know."


Consistency, efficiency still lacking from Huskers


With the first week of fall practice now in the books, Pelini said his team still left much to be desired in terms of getting fully ready for the season opener.


While Pelini said there have been plenty of positives from the Huskers over the past week, he added that the team was still lacking the overall consistency and efficiency in its execution on both sides of the ball.


"We're not where we think we need to be," Pelini said. "We're not ready to play a football game yet. We're seeing some progress in some areas, not as much in other areas, and that's what camp's for. We had a good week, the effort was good, but we've got a long way to go as a football team.


"You need to see it across the board. You need consistency across the board. Like I said, we're nowhere near ready to play a football game. Nowhere close, in any phase."


Pelini said the Huskers did a little bit of scrimmaging on Saturday, though it wasn't anything too intense. With eight days of practice now in the books and 21 remaining before the season opener against Tennessee-Chattanooga on Sept. 3, Pelini said he needed to start seeing much more progress across the board before he feels comfortable with his team.


"Like I said, there are a lot of positives out there, but in my eyes too many negatives," Pelini said. "To play winning football, you've got to be efficient and you've got to be consistent. You've got to be fundamentally sound and technique sound, and it's not where we need to be."


Quick hits


***Having practiced eight straight days, Nebraska finally gets its first day off on Sunday before returning for six more days in a row next week, including three two-a-day sessions. Pelini said he could tell his players needed a day off.


"It's about that time," Pelini said. "We just finished up practice eight, so it's about time. We have a big week ahead of us, so they need to get off their feet and get some rest and get ready to roll."


***One of the encouraging things Pelini took away from the first week of practice was the play of his running backs, especially the three true freshmen Braylon Heard, Aaron Green and Ameer Abdullah. Pelini also said senior Austin Jones has had a good start to camp.


"We have a number of guys who are playing good football," Pelini said. "There are three young guys who are playing good, I like A.J.'s done well. We have a pretty good stable of backs who are doing well right now."


***Pelini said there was no update on freshman cornerback Charles Jackson, who is still waiting to get academic clearance from the NCAA.


***Senior offensive tackle Marcel Jones sat out of practice again on Saturday, as he continues to deal with back problems. Pelini said Jones worked with NU trainers during practice and said he's making progress in returning to action.

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