Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Huskers Banking on Third-Year Lineman’s Versatility

April 21, 2021

Brant Banks has had a pretty eventful first two years in Lincoln for a guy who has only played in six games as a Husker (one of which was a basketball game).

Banks enrolled early in 2019 and spent spring ball in the defensive line room. He switched over to the other side of the ball before the season began and redshirted, appearing in one game at left tackle.

This offseason, he’s made another position shift as Banks is also competing at guard.

“It’s definitely been a grind, having to train and learn each position, but I think it’s for the better,” Banks said. “D-line, when I was there I was having fun but I think my future’s at offensive line so I was pretty happy about the switch. Switching to guard right now, I think that’s where I have the most potential for playing here. I’m just doing whatever I can to help the team right now and help us get wins.”

Offensive line coach Greg Austin said Banks continues to work at both guard and tackle, and Banks said he’s starting to settle in and get used to playing on the interior.

“It is a little bit different because at tackle you’ve got a lot more time to see what the defensive lineman is doing but at guard it’s right on you,” Banks said. “You’ve got to really be quicker coming off there and everything. It wasn’t a hard transition, but I for sure have to keep getting a lot lower and just make sure to get low and be ready right after the snap.”

Austin mentioned Banks’ need to continue focusing on leverage and staying low. Listed at 6-foot-7 and 305 pounds, he’s taller than the typical interior lineman.

“He’s doing a good job developing,” Austin said. “The biggest thing with Brant is he’s such a long kid, being able to stay in his hips. But every single day you can see some progress from him. He’s a guy that’s a solid, solid player that we’re looking to utilize in multiple positions.”

Nebraska’s is pretty young on the offensive line, but the Huskers do have a handful of veterans who have experienced a lot in Lincoln even if they haven’t logged a ton of starts, and Banks said those guys — senior Matt Sichterman in particular — have really helped him.

“No matter what, they’re still the oldest guys on the offensive line, especially Matt Sichterman,” Banks said. “He’s a guard with me right now and he’s really helped me out with everything because it was a quick transition. I switched to guard right before spring ball, so I’ve really gone out every day just competing my hardest. When it comes to scheme or assignment or hip leverage or anything, Matt Sichterman’s always been there to critique me a little bit and that really helps me every day.”

Sichterman said the hallmarks of a good guard in Nebraska’s system are athleticism and strength because of all the schemes Nebraska runs up front. The guys in the mix — such as Sichterman, Banks, Ethan Piper and Broc Bando — all have those traits. Banks showed off that athleticism last year when he joined the Nebraska basketball team for the Big Ten Tournament.

Though Banks is focused primarily on competing for a starting spot at guard, he’s also in the mix at back-up tackle behind Turner Corcoran and Bryce Benhart. Austin also mentioned Nouredin Nouili, Ezra Miller and Jimmy Fritzsche in that conversation.

“We’ve got some big boys out there,” Austin said.

Banks certainly fits that description and Nebraska’s looking at a lot of different options to get him on the field heading into the 2021 season.

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