JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Nebraska will be without one of its regular contributors at defensive end Wednesday, but a motivated backup said he's ready to fill in.
Redshirt freshman Avery Moss is home in Arizona this week dealing with a personal issue, coach Bo Pelini announced after Gator Bowl practice Friday. Moss, who is second among Husker players with 4Ĺ sacks, didn't travel to the bowl site and won't play against Georgia.
No more details were made available Friday regarding Moss' status or his future with the team.
Moss' absence, however, does create an opportunity for redshirt freshman Greg McMullen, who has shown promise but didn't play in two of NU's final five games.
McMullen has been hard at work throughout the season, though. Said defensive tackle Vincent Valentine: “I feel like he's proven himself week after week.”
But the apparent difference for McMullen now is his increased comfort with the playbook.
“A better understanding of why we use certain schemes and why we game plan,” McMullen said. “Even when you don't get a call from a linebacker, by knowing why we're doing what we're doing by formation, you're able to become a more well-rounded player.”
McMullen will join starters Randy Gregory and Jason Ankrah in a three-man rotation at defensive end in the bowl game, Pelini said.
Also not on the bowl trip with the Huskers are redshirt freshman linebacker Jared Afalava, walk-on receiver Richard Wynne and walk-on receiver Ishmail Jackson. They violated team rules, Pelini said.
Asked if he expects all the players mentioned to be back on the team in January after the bowl game, Pelini said, “We'll see.”
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Video: NU's first practice in Florida
Video: NU coach Bo Pelini talks after practice
Video: Huskers take a dip in the ocean