Published Monday, November 25, 2013 at 8:48 pm / Updated at 11:20 am
FOOTBALL
Husker lineman Ryne Reeves steps up following injuries

LINCOLN — Ryne Reeves' call came Saturday after the Nebraska offensive line was put in yet another predicament at Penn State.

And Reeves answered, just as Mike Moudy and Mark Pelini and Zach Sterup had done before him.

“It was a little bit tough to get warmed up,” Reeves said Monday, recounting the snow and cold and howling winds at Beaver Stadium. “Once I got in there, it was just fine. You really don't notice the weather when you're playing.”

Reeves was on the field for 41 snaps in the 23-20 overtime win over the Nittany Lions, more than twice as many as the sophomore offensive guard had played in any previous game as a Husker.

They also happened to be some of the most important in that game as starting tackles Jeremiah Sirles and Brent Qvale were unable to finish, again forcing NU assistant coach John Garrison to find a way to make things work.

Andrew Rodriguez went back to right tackle midway through the fourth quarter, and Garrison inserted Reeves at right guard — after instructions to get ready in a hurry.

“My favorite's when Coach Garrison is like, 'Get a sweat going, Reeves,' and he runs over to the (exercise) bike and starts jumping on the bike,” Sirles said. “I was like, 'You ain't gonna get a sweat when it's freezing out here.'

“But he's always ready. That's what's great about Reeves is that he prepares like he's going to play all the time.”

That has become mandatory as the Husker offensive line has lost Spencer Long for the season and then Sirles, Qvale, Moudy, Jake Cotton and Cole Pensick for varying amounts of time.

Qvale's exit put Reeves on the field Saturday, and the 6-foot-3, 295-pounder from Crete, Neb., played the NU drives where it tied the game with a late field goal, dug itself out of a dangerous hole in the final 90 seconds and then won it in overtime.

“I thought I played pretty well,” Reeves said. “I was just happy we won and just happy I was out there and part of it all.”

Other than the Southern Mississippi game, Reeves hadn't played much until getting 17 snaps against Michigan State. Garrison then had a rotation Saturday that replaced Rodriguez with Reeves for the Huskers' fourth series, which happened to be a seven-play, 91-yard touchdown drive.

Reeves said he played with a confidence and full grasp of the Husker offense that he probably didn't have last season or even earlier this fall. It just felt right, which helped ease any nerves.

It also kept things working on a makeshift offensive line that down the stretch featured Sterup at left tackle, Pensick at left guard, Pelini at center, Reeves at right guard and Rodriguez at right tackle.

“It seems like every week someone new is getting thrown into something different because of injuries,” Sirles said. “I think all of those guys have done a phenomenal job.”

Reeves said the line mantra is that the “standard doesn't change for whoever goes in there.” Whether it's on short notice or with time to prepare for the assignment.

So what happens Friday when NU hosts Iowa? Reeves said it depends on how some of the injured come along.

Along with everybody else, Reeves is baffled by what's happening to all of the linemen around him.

“I have no idea what's going on right now,” he said. “But the older guys are trying to play through it, which is good, and us younger guys are ready to play.”

* * *

Video: Nebraska coach Bo Pelini at Monday's press conference



Video: Nebraska linebacker Michael Rose at Monday's press conference



Video: Nebraska quarterback Ron Kellogg at Monday's press conference



Video: Nebraska lineman Jeremiah Sirles at Monday's press conference



Video: Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah at Monday's press conference

Contact the writer: Rich Kaipust

rich.kaipust@owh.com    |   402-444-1042    |  

Rich Kaipust is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and some general assignment tasks, including the College World Series and U.S. Olympic Swim Trials.

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