Record-breaking Henery trying for Nebraska double duty

April, 3, 2009
4/03/09
9:03
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Alex Henery might have saved Nebraska's season in 2008 with his dramatic record-breaking 57-yard field goal that helped beat Colorado in the final minute.

Now, he's got another challenge with the Cornhuskers.

Henery first walked on at Nebraska with the idea of working as a punter. But that all changed over the past two seasons as he has emerged as one of the most consistent kickers in school history.

But with the graduation of punters Dan Titchener and Jake Wesch from last season, Henery is returning to his booting roots, so to speak, this spring.

"I knew both of them were going to be gone, so I figured I might as well give it a try and see what would happen," Henery told the Lincoln Journal-Star. "You can't lose anything trying."

That's why he's trying to accomplish a rarity in college football today as he attempts to double as a kicker and a punter.

"I wouldn't have even introduced the idea to him about punting if I didn't think he could handle both," Nebraska assistant coach John Papuchis told the Journal-Star. "If there is ever a point in time where he feels stressed on where he needs to spend the majority of his focus, we'd have to make a decision then. But right now I think he is able to handle both pretty well."

As big as Henery was last season, maybe he's trying to make himself even more indispensable for his team by doing both jobs.

Amazingly, Henery still isn't on either an academic or athletic scholarship for the Cornhuskers.

His big kick against Colorado helped catapult the Cornhuskers into a New Year's Day bowl game and helped push along Bo Pelini's transformation of the program that much faster.

He even received the ultimate compliment from Pelini, who referred to him as "a stud" after his heroics against the Buffaloes. That kind of flattery from the Nebraska coach is usually reserved for quarterbacks and defensive tackles.

But if he can prove himself as a punter and a kicker, it might get Henery a scholarship. And that would be an even bigger reward than any game-winning kick or postgame platitude from his coach.  

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