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Getting to know: RB Du'ane Bennett

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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Playing in the Big Ten, Du’ane Bennett experienced plenty of awe-inspiring college atmospheres during his time at the University of Minnesota. However, there was only one thing that crossed the 5-foot-9, 213-pound running back’s mind as he looked out on the 55,000 at Lambeau Field for last Friday’s Family Night scrimmage. “To see the turnout for what practice was like, I can only imagine what it’s like for a game," Bennett said. Bennett played roughly half of his career at one of the newer venues in NCAA Division I football, TCF Bank Stadium, but nothing compares to life in the NFL. It’s an opportunity Bennett has been working diligently to realize since signing with Green Bay and being one of five running backs on the roster entering training camp. Still, there's a noticeable change from college to the pros. At Minnesota, Bennett finished as the program’s 13th all-time leading rusher with 2,126 yards behind 49 appearances and 36 starts. Last season, he was a team captain and the Gophers’ leading rusher with 166 carries for 639 yards. In Green Bay, Bennett is the novice. On Sunday, he sat quietly inside his locker in the ‘Green Mile’ auxiliary wing of the Packers’ locker room, studying his playbook. Over the last few days, Bennett saw an increase in his reps, including at Family Night, with fellow undrafted rookie Marc Tyler sidelined with a shoulder injury and second-year back Alex Green still easing back from reconstructive knee surgery. “There’s a lot of visible learning,” Bennett said. “A lot of learning through the book, but when you’re out there on the field, you have to take advantage of those reps because you can’t simulate game speed let alone practice. Being out there watching really helps, but being out there actually going through it gets you immersed in what you’re doing.” With the team moving on without veteran Ryan Grant, the Packers' young backfield situation enticed both Bennett and Tyler to sign in Green Bay. After all, the team had a good track record for utilizing undrafted players like Ohio State's Brandon Saine. Last year, Saine didn’t make the roster out of camp, but signed onto the team’s practice squad before being promoted to the active roster on Halloween after Green went down with his injury. Like Saine, Bennett views himself as a jack-of-all-trades player, who isn’t afraid to work. “My biggest thing is just being versatile and doing whatever the coaches ask,” Bennett said. “I don’t think I have one particular strong suit better than the next man, but I pride myself on my work ethic and doing everything right. For me, it’s not so much about trying to be the fastest guy or being the guy to catch the ball and produce, but being able to be accountable to my teammates, and really find away to acclimate myself to the team is what I’m looking for.” -whodkiew@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
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I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
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It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
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