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Monday, August 29, 2011
Huskers should be cautious with Dennard

By Adam Rittenberg

It has been a fairly quiet preseason in Lincoln, which is normally a good thing.

The only potential negative for Nebraska has been the pulled leg muscle suffered by standout cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. The Huskers senior hasn't been practicing the last few weeks, and his return is unknown.

While Dennard hasn't been officially ruled out for Saturday's season opener against Chattanooga, there's really no reason why he should get anywhere near the field. Nebraska knows what it has in Dennard, one of the nation's top cornerbacks. The Huskers certainly don't need him against Chattanooga, and the game provides an opportunity for other cornerbacks, namely Andrew Green, to log playing time.

"He's not real uncomfortable," coach Bo Pelini said Monday. "But you don't want to put him out there too soon."

Absolutely not.

Defensive coordinator Carl Pelini said Monday that Green and Ciante Evans will start at cornerback Saturday if Dennard can't play. Pelini also sounds confident about the team's depth at cornerback.

Again, the risk completely outweighs the reward here. A pulled muscle isn't an injury that should be rushed.

Nebraska doesn't face a dynamic passing attack for some time, so Dennard should get all the time he needs to get back to 100 percent.