Nebraska’s offensive line is in an interesting place heading into the 2021 season. The team loses a pair of multi-year starters in Brenden Jaimes and Matt Faniok. Each player is working toward their dream of playing in the NFL.
The tendency when you lose two long-time starters like that is to feel like the line could be in a tough spot. Coach Scott Frost is excited about his potentially young group as they go through winter conditioning and into spring ball. It helps that most of them got some playing time during the 2020 campaign.
“You know, we started that last game at Rutgers with four underclassmen, three of them being freshmen,” Frost said on Thursday. “I guess Cam [Jurgens] technically still was a freshman with a redshirt and this year not counting. We’ve got some really good young talent at that position, some veterans that are going to compete for time and I think we’ll get more talented on the offensive line.
“We made too many mistakes there last year between penalties and just on this block here or there. That sometimes goes along with some inexperience. If there’s one group that I think is probably going to make the biggest jump this offseason on the offense, it’s that group. Coach Austin’s already working with them and looking forward to what they can become.”
Nebraska got an extended look at one player specifically in 2020. That was redshirt freshman tackle Bryce Benhart. The former US All-American started every game at right tackle for Nebraska. His emergence factors into Frost’s thinking on why the offensive line can make a step.
“You’re just never as good in your first year playing college football is your your second,” Frost said. “I think Bryce knows some things he needs to work on but for a redshirt freshman out there playing in the Big Ten, he had a really good year and did a lot of good things. He’s committed to working hard and excited about him.
“I’m excited about Ethan Piper continuing to develop. Turner Corcoran came in at left tackle last year and we didn’t miss a beat with him out there after losing a senior for the last game. Brant Banks is another kid in our program that is young and really talented.”
There are other players that Frost is eager to see develop too. Matt Sichterman, Trent Hixson, Broc Bando and others are veteran players who will have more opportunity for playing time in 2021. Nouredin Nouili and Ezra Miller are a pair of recent transfers who will also compete on the line. The competition will be high this winter and spring for offensive line coach Greg Austin’s group.
If the offensive is going to take a jump in 2021, it’ll be in part because of the progress made by Nebraska in the trenches.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.