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Rutgers vs. Nebraska, 10.25.14

Rutgers defensive back Lorenzo Waters (left) tangles with Nebraska offensive lineman Zach Sterup during a 2014 contest at Memorial Stadium.

Zach Sterup, a Husker senior offensive lineman, will try his hand at right guard Saturday night after starting at right tackle the past three games in place of injured Nick Gates. The 6-foot-8, 320-pound Sterup is a versatile athlete — just ask those who tried to guard him on the basketball court when he was a standout at Hastings St. Cecilia.

(WHO WAS YOUR SPORTS IDOL GROWING UP?)

"I was always a big Shaquille O'Neal fan because I love basketball. That was my first love. I always thought, growing up in elementary and middle school, that I was going to play basketball. Then football came on later. I was a huge Shaq fan. He was a big man and I liked the way he played. He was a dominant guy, just fun to watch."

(WHEN DID YOU REALLY GRAVITATE TO FOOTBALL?)

"Probably my junior year in high school. I didn't want to play football my first two years of high school, actually. But St. Cecilia was a football school. It was kind of like you were expected to play football. And we were good. We won the state championship my junior year, and I had a lot of fun playing (offensive) tackle and defensive end. It's the ultimate team game and you love being with your teammates out there."

(SO YOU STARTED FOOTBALL MUCH LATER THAN MANY OF YOUR HUSKER TEAMMATES.)

"I was a tall and gangly hooper back then. I was like 6-6, 220 my freshman year."

(HOW GOOD WERE YOU AT BASKETBALL?)

"I was OK. I had a few Division I mid-major schools I was talking to. I talked to Wichita State a little bit. I was interested in Creighton."

(WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO DUNK?)

"I don't have a go-to dunk. I'm not an acrobat."

(WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO MOVE INSIDE?)

"Probably just a drop-step. Pretty basic, but effective."

(DID NEBRASKA EVER SHOW INTEREST IN YOU FOR BASKETBALL?)

"I committed here for football my junior year. That was pretty early. I kind of always wonder what offers I would've gotten for basketball."

(YOU HAVE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FACING YOU, WITH A CHANCE TO UPSET MICHIGAN STATE.)

"We're going to go out there and lay it on the line. This season hasn't gone the way I expected it to, or anybody else in the state. But we're going to go out there and we're going to keep fighting. It would be really fun upsetting them and ruining their season."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.

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Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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