RENO - Charles Manu admitted he was nervous, and you certainly couldn't blame him.
Manu, a transfer from Feather River College and a McQueen graduate, was making his first-ever collegiate start and playing a position that he hadn't played since high school. It was a situation ripe for disaster.
Manu didn't allow a sack and was part of an offensive line that helped Nevada run for 265 yards in a 62-14 victory over Idaho last weekend.
"It was back to high school again," said Manu, who played guard at McQueen before shifting to the defensive line at Feather River. "Memories just started coming back.
"I felt I did play good. I didn't have any big mistakes. I had a couple of blocking mistakes."
There were some mistakes to be sure, but he did well enough to earn praise from Chris Klenakis, the Pack's offensive line coach and offensive coordinator, and that's not easy to do.
"He stepped up," Klenakis said. "I'm really proud of Charles. He fell off a few blocks, but he made some nice blocks on draw plays. It was a nice start for him. It's a credit to all the kids. It's a matter of wanting to help the team win.
"No, I wasn't surprised. He still has to get better. That's the name of the game, especially with offensive linemen. They need to get better every week."
And for Manu, that means a lot work on blocking techniques and footwork, the two most important things for a lineman. Both Klenakis and Manu said there are major differences between guard and tackle.
"At tackle, you are more 1-on-1 in pass protection," Manu said. "When you play guard, you have the center with you. It's easier to play weak guard than it is strong tackle."
Klenakis said tackles need to have the footwork and ability to play in open space, knowing there isn't a lot of outside help for them. Guards need to be more stout at the point of attack.
With a game under his belt, Manu doesn't expect to be nervous for the Pack's Saturday game against Louisiana Tech at Mackay Stadium.
He's already watched more film in the past week than he did the entire season before last weekend's Idaho game. The filmwork will continue because Manu wants to get better and he knows that "The Union" (aka offensive line) is expecting him to keep up the good work.
"I have to be ready," Manu said. "We have a big challenge ahead of us."
Indeed. Louisiana Tech made Jeff Rowe's life miserable last season, and the then-sophomore quarterback spent a lot of time on the turf picking himself up after sacks. The offensive line wants a little payback this week.
Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281
The Manu File
Height - 6-3
Weight - 300
Year in school - Sophomore
Position - Guard/Tackle
Junior College - Feather River
High School - McQueen