ANN ARBOR, MICH - 11/9/2013 - Nebraska's Randy Gregory chases down Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner for a loss in the third quarter as the Huskers beat the Woverines 17-13 on Nov. 9, 2013 at Michigan Stadium. 5:03, 3rd Q

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — One bus, two bus, three bus, four. Another bus, then two more.

In search of useless trivia for the day, look no further: It takes seven charter buses to transport the entire Husker football team, coaching staff, athletic department personnel and accompanying family members from the airport to the team hotel.

It was just after 4 p.m. here Thursday when the Huskers flooded out of those buses and into their home for the week at the Marriot Sawgrass hotel.

Even with the TPC Sawgrass golf course and its famous island green at No. 17 a hop away, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini didn't pack any golf clubs for this trip, with his team preparing to play Georgia in the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day.

“This is a business trip for me,” he said to a small gathering of Nebraska media.

“I might go hit a couple stiff on 17, but that’s about it,” he joked.

With these trips, there's forever the storyline of how players balance business with fun.

One piece of business that still needs clearing up is which Huskers did not make the bowl trip for various reasons.

Pelini said “obviously, not everybody made the trip,” but would not specify which players weren't part of NU's group.

That figures to be a topic of discussion again, however, when Pelini meets with the media after Friday’s first practice.

As has been the norm on bowl trips in the Pelini era, the Huskers will practice in the mornings, using the same University of North Florida field they practiced at on their Gator Bowl trip five years ago.

Pelini likes the plan of attack as his 8-4 Huskers try to snap a three-game bowl skid.

"I like our schedule. I like the way we do our work. The kids are up early, they're up at the crack of dawn," he said. "I think it's worked out well for us in the past. I think our kids enjoy it and the families like it. I think it's a good balance of being able to get your work done but at the same time making sure you get to enjoy the experience."

Sophomore defensive end Randy Gregory, who briefly lived in Jacksonville right after he was born, said it shouldn’t be hard for players to find the right focus as they get ready for their Southeastern Conference foe.

“It’s pretty easy to manage,” Gregory said. “When it’s time to get down to business, you should know. I think everyone knows when to take things serious and when to go out and have fun.”

Nebraska players traveled in style to Jacksonville, flying on a double-decker airplane with reclining seats.

“I was lying in my seat like it was a bed,” Gregory said. “It was nice to have that and have that much room for your legs. I’m a big guy, you know.”

The plane even had its own suites. Senior offensive tackle Jeremiah Sirles said he asked one of the pilots how much one of them would cost to use for a trip to China.

The answer: Somewhere from $15,000 to $20,000.

That was cool. But even cooler, Sirles thinks, would be finishing his career with a win.

“We’re just ready to go,” he said. “We’ve had some good time off. We’ve had some good time to kind of figure out what to do. A good game plan. A good initial base. And then this week, just clean some things up.”

Sirles is among those, particularly on the offensive line, who have benefited from the time off, getting healthy after playing with a bum knee throughout November.

Regarding the O-line, Pelini expressed optimism that guard Mike Moudy, out with a shoulder injury since the Michigan game, would be back as an available option.

“We'll see how the week goes and how he practices, but he was able to do just about everything back in Lincoln,” Pelini said.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Tommy Armstrong also is “feeling good,” according to the coach.

Armstrong's ankle was a little sore after the first practice a week ago, Pelini said, but the QB looked more comfortable as the week progressed.

If his health holds up, Armstrong "more than likely" will start against Georgia.

Gregory said he senses a team that has a recharged battery since its last game, a loss to Iowa on Nov. 29.

"I think our legs are a lot more rested,” Gregory said. “Mentally, I think we’re a little bit more refreshed because we haven’t been taking in as much film and things at practice. I think we’re ready to go, hopefully.”

As for what he's most looking forward to on his first bowl trip?

That’s easy.

“Come out with a win,” Gregory said. “That’s what we’re here for, huh?”

Reach Chris Dunker at Follow him on Twitter @ChrisDunkerDS.


News editor and staff writer for the Daily Sun.

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