November 1, 2010

Tigers ask Big 12 to review Osborne hit on Gabbert

For the second week in a row, a Nebraska defender was the focus of heavy scrutiny among the Big 12 Conference, as sophomore safety Courtney Osborne drew the attention of the rest of the league for his hit on Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert on Saturday.

During Monday's Big 12 coaches' teleconference, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said he sent film of Osborne's hit to be reviewed by the league office. While Pinkel didn't come out and accuse Osborne of intentionally trying to injure Gabbert on the play, he said he felt it necessary to have the conference review the play.

Pinkel stressed that he seeking was only an evaluation of the hit, and that he didn't believe there was any malicious intent by Osborne.

"We'll see what happens," Pinkel said. "I don't know if there was malice involved there."

After Husker linebacker Eric Martin was suspended one game for what the league deemed a flagrant hit against Oklahoma State on a kickoff return, it's obvious that the Big 12 is taking helmet-to-helmet contact seriously.

"It's a hot topic, and it should be," Pinkel said.

Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini didn't have much to say about the play, but he did say he thought the hit was perfectly legal and the only reason there was helmet-to-helmet contact was because Gabbert lowered his head to brace himself at the last second.

"I thought it was a good tackle," Pelini said.

Asked his thoughts on Pinkel sending the play in to the Big 12 office for review, Pelini said there was nothing he could do about the matter besides hope the league makes the right ruling.

"They've got to do what they've got to do," he said. "Like I've said, (Gabbert) ducked a little bit at the last second, and I thought it was a good hit. I mean, the Big 12 is going to do what they have to do. I don't know. I can't control that."

As for Gabbert, Pinkel said the quarterback was doing much better after getting knocked around quite a bit by the Huskers. After being sacked just seven times through the Tigers' first seven games, Gabbert was sacked six times on Saturday.

"They got after him pretty good, but he's in really good shape," Pinkel said.

Quick hits

***Pelini said redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez actually suffered an ankle sprain on Saturday, not a bone bruise as originally reported. He said Martinez would be held out of Monday's practice and would be day-to-day the rest of the week.

"We'll see," Pelini said. "It's kind of a day-to-day thing, but I anticipate he's doing a lot better today than he was yesterday. We might rest him today, but he'll be out there soon enough."

Pelini was unsure whether Martinez would be healed enough for Saturday's game against Iowa State, but noted that he wasn't concerned about Martinez not being able to play.

"Not an issue I'm worried about," Pelini said. "I mean, we don't play guys if they're hurt. If they're healthy, they play."

***Pelini said junior cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was also day-to-day after suffering a concussion in the first quarter on Saturday. Dennard will also be held out of Monday's practice and evaluated further as the week goes on.

"We won't practice him today, but once again, he's doing a lot better," Pelini said. "It's a day-to-day thing."

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