Nebraska Cornhuskers offensive lineman Bryce Benhart sits and signs autographs for young fans
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Benhart’s Traits for the O-Line, Williams’ Boxing and Other Notes Ahead of Illinois

August 23, 2021

The first game of a new season brings a lot of excitement. Nebraska gets its season underway this Saturday against Illinois. The Week 0 game will be the first Power Five game of the 2021 season. For transfer wide receiver Samori Touré it’s been since 2019 since he last played in a football game. He transferred to Nebraska for a reason and he’s ready to show what he can do against a Big Ten opponent.

“Yeah, I’m super excited,” Touré said. “Can’t even really put it into words. Not even necessarily because of the difference from FCS to FBS, but just because of how long it’s been before I’ve been in a game environment. I had to sit out last year so I’ve kind of just been counting down the days. The fact that it’s a Big Ten game that matters, that just takes it to that next level.”

Touré described watching last season as being like torture. He had to endure watching everybody else play but he’s glad the time to play is almost here. It definitely feels like a game week to Touré because the team has been putting in work for so long. He’s been counting down the days. He’s tired of going up against the Nebraska defense every day.

Everyone is excited to see an opponent lined up across from them. That includes offensive lineman Bryce Benhart.

“We’re ready to hit somebody else, Benhart said. “It’s going to be nice walking out with 60,000 fans, hitting someone else and playing with fans and everything.”

Nebraska isn’t afforded the luxury of easing into the season this year. Playing a conference opponent in Week 0 brings out an edge. Playing a conference opponent that beat you at home in 2020 will also keep players locked in.

The stakes will be high at noon on Saturday when the season kicks off in Champaign.

More news and notes:

>> Bryce Benhart won’t be watching the Illinois game film from last year for scheme tendencies. Yet, there is still something to learn from watching the tape.

“Well, this is a whole new staff as you guys know,” Benhart said. “It’s a whole new staff at Illinois. It’s the same rushers, it’s just a completely different defensive scheme. So, the guys I faced last year against Illinois, they’re all back. I’ll watch their pass rush and their fits. Everything else is just going to be a play by play thing.

>> The offensive line is still young but does have experience. It’s still unknown what we are going to see from the unit when they take the field on Saturday. Benhart gave a sneak peek at what the strengths of the line will be in 2021.

“Our biggest strength is the grittiness and the anger we play with,” Benhart said. “Coach G [Greg Austin] talks about details and anger. That’s a big thing right there. Aggressiveness, too. I’d say the detail, anger and aggressiveness is going to be there.”

>> Defensive back Deontai Williams was happy to have a more normal offseason this year. It’s helped him prepare to be in better shape to play the entire season. Being able to have normal workouts isn’t the only thing helping him. He’s taken up a new activity that helps with his stamina.

“I’d say last year I was exhausted from having double camps and stuff like that starting the season,” Williams said. “I couldn’t give that 110% that I wanted to. This year I’m in shape. I’ve been doing a lot of boxing and cardio and stuff like that. I’m ready.”

>> If the first game of the season didn’t fire everyone up, the team is finding extra motivation. Defensive lineman Ty Robinson explained the reasons for a chip on the team’s shoulder. It’s not just because of opening the season with a conference opponent.

“I feel like we have to come out every game like that,” Robinson said. “Nebraska takes a lot of heat in the media. Every game this year, I’m playing with a chip on my shoulder to prove them wrong. But at the end of the day, it’s one game at a time. For now, I’m focused on Illinois.”

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