Pelini breaks out the Blackshirts in the wake of Glenn's suspension

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini gave his defense a psychological boost Tuesday afternoon boost when he broke out the program's storied Blackshirt practice jerseys given to starting defensive players for the first time in his coaching tenure.

Pelini's decision came shortly after he announced that starting linebacker Cody Glenn had been suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Nebraska defensive coordinator Carl Pelini told the Lincoln Journal Star the decision was made to reward the performance of the Cornhuskers in their 45-35 victory over Kansas last week. Nebraska notched five sacks in that comeback victory.

"We had a staff meeting on Sunday and made a decision that we thought the physical nature of the play on Saturday and the great effort our guys made running sideline to sideline, we felt like that was a performance where they earned the Blackshirts," Carl Pelini told the newspaper. "So we put them in their lockers today. When they came out of meetings they were there waiting for them."

It also came shortly after the suspension of Glenn, the Cornhuskers' starting weakside linebacker, is coming at a bad time for the Cornhuskers.

Glenn, a converted I-back who thrived in defensive coorindator Carl Pelini's aggressive attacking philosophy, was one of the prime playmakers for Nebraska. And taking him away with two games left in the regular season could rob the Cornhuskers' defense of one of its most important leaders.

Despite his lack of defensive experience, Glenn immediately became a vital cog as soon as he was moved over from offense.

When he missed a game with an injury earlier this season against Texas Tech with an injury, Glenn was replaced by 200-pound walk-on Matt Holt because of the Red Raiders' pass-heavy tendencies. A similar strategy might work against Kansas State because of similar offensive philosophies, but a change might be needed against Colorado in the season finale on Nov. 28.

A more likely replacement against run-heavy teams might be sophomore Blake Lawrence.

The Cornhuskers depth at the position is already thin because starting middle linebacker Phillip Dillard has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and might not be ready for Saturday's game against the Wildcats.

Bo Pelini has said he is determined not to burn a redshirt on a potential linebacker replacement this late in the season. That seemingly would rule out the activation of freshman Will Compton.