Tucked into the right arm of Nebraska offensive lineman Bryce Benhart is typically his binder. His playbook full of notes and “football stuff.” There’s rarely a destination the two don’t share. On Thursday he met with local media and propped the binder onto the lectern.
Benhart garnered praise from head coach Matt Rhule earlier this spring as a potential NFL lineman. The junior arrived in Lincoln as one of the top offensive line recruits in the country. Then he gained experience, starting 29 games at right tackle over the past three seasons and played in every game during that three-season stretch. His new head coach not only separating the offensive line from last year’s criticisms but building Benhart’s career potential.
“It’s always great to have a head coach behind you, not just my back but the whole team’s back,” Benhart said. “And that he believes in this team.”
Benhart is excited to learn the new offense. He called offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield an “explosive offensive play caller” who loves the line. Satterfield previously said his experience as assistant offensive line coach at Carolina helped him call plays with the line in mind. He adapted that at South Carolina and now hopes to use that experience at Nebraska. When asked to expound upon what makes Satterfield such an explosive caller, Benhart said he’s fully invested in the line by keeping things simple and doing what he believes is best for the line.
Offensive line coach Donovan Raiola can be tough and detailed during practice and film sessions. Benhart acknowledged all those critiques and the attention to detail is necessary.
Strength and conditioning coach Corey Campbell gained a shoutout from Benhart. He pointed to the emphasis on flexibility, which helps the offensive line bend, keep leverage and fire off the ball. They maintain proper form on weights and push for max weights on the necessary days in order to avoid strain. Conditioning also comes in handy during the spring when the offensive line numbers shrink due to injury. The offensive line will wear gray jerseys during Saturday’s game so they can rotate on the line between Red and White teams. Rotating should avoid the risk of injury to an exhausted lineman and the additional reps are valuable among the room.
“It’s been tough but we all need it. It’s great,” Benhart said. “During games you can’t sub in and sub out so it’s good to get that in your body now to prepare for deep in the season.”
The junior is still around 315 pounds, his playing weight from last year. He expects to be somewhere around there in the summer and fall. Unsurprisingly, he’s taken most of his reps at right tackle but is willing to move if asked. He wants to gain experience and learn wherever he lines up.
“I’m still growing today,” he said. “It’s just a little step each day in everything, every aspect.”
Benhart enjoys going against Nebraska’s first-team defense. He believes those plays get the best out of both sides of the ball. Through those reps he complimented the defensive line. He’s mostly faced early enrollee Cameron Lenhardt, although defensive coordinator Tony White likes to bring a mix of defenders off the edge. Behnart complimented Lenhardt, saying he’s explosive and ambitious coming off the edge.
Ben Scott, the transfer from Arizona State, is blending well on the offensive line and Benhart is excited to have Nouredin Nouili eligible to play again. But the Minnesota native shares excitement for the return of even more on Saturday.
“I’m excited to see all the fans come out,” Benhart said. “Time to fill up the stadium again, time to get back to Nebraska football. It’s great.”