When Nebraska's initial depth chart came out before the season opener and had Bryce Benhart listed as the No. 2 right tackle, most figured it was probably just a matter of time before the touted recruit got onto the field.
That time came Saturday when Benhart and the rest of the Huskers' No. 2 offense came on late against Northern Illinois and drove for the game's final touchdown.
"The nerves got there, but there's always going to be a little nerves," the soft-spoken Benhart said of his first college snaps. "But once you get rolling, they fade away. The first snap, I felt confident."
It's been an adjustment for Benhart, listed at 6-foot-9, 295 pounds, to go from high school to college ball. In high school, he admitted, "you kind of just run people over." No such thing at the Division I level.
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"I'm not the biggest one out there — I might be the tallest, but I'm not the strongest. There's faster guys, there's bigger D-linemen, there's guys like Darrion Daniels," Benhart said. "Those guys are just ginormous. Which, in high school, I never saw a guy that big before."
Benhart is working toward "ginormous" status. He said he's up to about 310 pounds, which the biggest he's ever been, and coaches have told him they'd like to see him get to anywhere between 320 and 340.
All the while, he said, he continues to work on the finer points of line play, mainly his footwork, as he learns how to move opposing defenders in a new way.
"He looked like he belonged. It was really cool, I love the kid. Like I have said earlier, he is someone who always wants to work and is already ready to go. He did a great job, he didn’t have that deer in the headlights look," said junior Matt Farniok, NU's starter at right tackle. "He knew what he was supposed to do. We have done it all week in practice. He saw it all week in practice, and he just went out there and executed. They've got him a couple of times and I mean it happens but, overall, he did a great job. I am extremely proud of how he did."