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Five things we learned from NU's weekly press conference

Here are five of our biggest takeaways from Nebraska's weekly press conference on Monday as the Huskers get ready to travel to take on Minnesota...

With freshman left tackle Teddy Prochazka out for the season, Bryce Benhart (54) will get another chance in the starting lineup.
With freshman left tackle Teddy Prochazka out for the season, Bryce Benhart (54) will get another chance in the starting lineup. (Getty Images)

1. Prochazka officially out for the season with knee injury

Head coach Scott Frost confirmed what many had feared on Monday by announcing that starting left tackle Teddy Prochazka would undergo season-ending surgery to repair a knee injury he suffered in the loss to Michigan.

Frost said the true freshman, who joined the starting offensive line two games ago, would have surgery on Tuesday. Assuming his recovery goes as planned, Frost expected Prochazka to be ready to return for the start of spring practices.

"I feel terrible for anybody that gets hurt," Frost said. "It's just tough. Teddy's just been improving by leaps and bounds since he got here. It's a tough setback, but guys come back from these things, and he'll be fine."

The next question with Prochazka will be whether he would be able to petition for a medical redshirt to retain this season of eligibility?

Saturday night was Prochazka's fifth game appearance this year, putting him beyond the four-game redshirt window.

"We'll see," Frost said. "We're worried about him and his health and everything right now. We'll work on eligibility issues later on."

2. Benhart ready for second chance

As disappointing as the news of Prochazka's injury was, it also opened the door for Bryce Benhart's second chance.

After starting the first five games of the season at right tackle, the redshirt freshman was removed from the starting lineup before NU's home game vs. Northwestern.

Prochazka took over at left tackle, and Turner Corcoran replaced Benhart on the right side.

The Huskers stuck with that new lineup against Michigan, but when Prochazka left the game late in the second quarter, Benhart got another shot to prove himself on the big stage.

After struggling mightily to start the season, the Lakeville, Minn., native answered the call as well as could be expected on Saturday night. In fact, NU played its best offense in the second half, with Benhart manning the right side of the line.

Frost said Benhart had a golden opportunity to establish himself as a fixture for Nebraska up front.

"He's got a chance to show us this week," Frost said. "This is a big opportunity for him, and we got a lot of faith in him."

3. Huskers not slowing down going into eighth straight game

Saturday's trip to Minnesota will mark Nebraska's eighth game in as many weeks going back to its Week 0 opener at Illinois.

While other teams, like the Golden Gophers this past week, have gotten a chance to rest and recover with a bye, the Huskers won't get their first break until next week.

The season's grind has been felt both mentally and physically. However, every player who spoke during Monday's press conference said the team still had "plenty of gas left in them" going into their preparation for Minnesota.

That said, Frost added that NU held a helmets-only practice on Monday because of how physical the game was against Michigan.

"There's a lot of thumping (usually on Mondays)," Frost said. "I thought I needed to give guys a break after a really physical game on Saturday."

For guys like senior defensive end Ben Stille, though, a bye week was the least of his concerns.

"I couldn't care less," Stille said. "We could play 16 weeks straight. (The bye) is obviously going to be welcomed, and it's good for any team to be able to de-load a little bit. But that's the last thing we care about."

4. Przystup doing his job at punter

Over the last two games, hardly anyone has been talking about Nebraska's punters. For specialists, that's usually a good thing.

Punter William Przystup flew under the radar in the Huskers' game against Michigan. He had four punts for 190 total yards, including two placed inside the 20-yard line and three over 50 yards.

Against Northwestern, Przystup had a career-high 84-yard punt and was spotlighted in a good way, unlike his group's performance versus Michigan State.

Frost said it was never a matter of talent for Pryzstup and that he just needed to do his job when called upon. Frost said Przystup had done that over the last two weeks.

With eight weeks before the Huskers' first bye, Przystup said he'd focused on not over-kicking in practice. After the Michigan State game, he said he kicked 95 balls in two days, which was on the high end for kickers.

Nebraska had a lighter day of practice on Monday, and Przystup said that would help him recover much faster to be ready for Minnesota on Saturday.

5. Gophers lose second starting running back for the season

For the second time this year, Minnesota lost its starting running back for the season.

Trey Potts, who replaced first-team All-Big Ten back Mohamed Ibrahim as the starter after Week 1, was ruled out for the year after a “really scary” incident that resulted in a six-night stay in an Indiana hospital.

Golden Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck declined to provide details on Potts’ situation other than he suffered an upper-body ailment in Minnesota’s win over Purdue on Oct. 2. Potts wasn’t released from the hospital until last Friday.

“He’s a competitor…” Fleck told local reporters on Monday. “He’s devastated, though, because the seriousness of his injury - I mean, we’re just thankful he’s OK…

“You win a football game like that, and there’s this excitement of winning, but then there’s real life that you’re incredibly concerned about him and his safety and his health and his well-being.”

Freshman Mar’Keise Irving could be the frontrunner to take over as the Gophers’ new No. 1 back. He currently ranks third on the team in rushing this season with 25 carries for 112 yards in four appearances.

His best outing came at Colorado when he posted 89 yards on 15 attempts.