Offensive line coach Greg Austin is helping Nebraska's big boys up front start to resemble The Pipeline of old, but it’s still a work in progress. The interior depth chart up front should be fluid throughout spring and we may see several rounds of musical chairs at center well beyond.
Last season opened with Brenden Jaimes retaining the starting left tackle spot while Jerald Foster lined up next to him at guard. Cole Conrad started the year at center but would eventually be replaced by Tanner Farmer following Nebraska’s loss to Michigan. Boe Wilson would step into the starting right guard role for Farmer while Matt Farniok manned the right tackle role all season long.
Nebraska finished the season ranked 28th in the nation in rushing at 209 yards per game led by Devine Ozigbo’s 1,082-yard campaign. The Huskers were 52nd in passing offense (247 ypg) and landed in the middle of the pack when it came to sacks allowed per game at 2.3 (68th). The offense struggled on third downs, converting only 37.2 percent of the time (86th). Fourth down was none too kind either with the Big Red converting nine of 20 attempts. However, Nebraska did thrive in the red zone, scoring on 39 of 44 visits (27 touchdowns, 12 field goals) to finish 26th in the FBS.
Key Departures: OG/C Tanner Farmer (30 starts), OG Jerald Foster (27 starts)
Key Returners for 2019: OT Brenden Jamies (Jr.) (21 starts), OG Boe Wilson (Jr.) (9 starts), OG/OT Matt Farniok (Jr.) (16 starts)
Jaimes continues to be the Huskers’ most reliable lineman while Wilson looks to slide over to replace Foster. The center position, though, is completely up for grabs. Hunter Miller, Will Farniok, Cam Jurgens and junior college transfer Josh Wegener — JCGridiron.com’s top-rated JUCO center — all have their eyes on the starting role. The elder Farniok looked like he’d continue to hold down the fort at right tackle again, at least through spring football. Fortunately, the emergence of Christian Gaylord during winter conditioning allows Farniok to move inside to a more natural right guard position. This takes immense pressure off of true freshman Bryce Benhart to produce early and often at tackle.
While there will be plenty of moving parts, the potential experience at the front of the depth chart allows plenty of opportunity for growth across the two-deep heading into the season.
Position Grade for 2019: B
— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, FWAA member and part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow him on Twitter (@eightlaces) and enjoy the Eight Laces podcast. To contact him with tips, story ideas or for interview purposes, click here.