Nebraska position review: Offensive line
football Edit

Nebraska position review: Offensive line

While the new year has begun, HuskerOnline is looking back at the previous season and taking a deep dive into each of Nebraska's positions, how they graded, their trends and other observations.

Up next is the offensive line, one of the worst units on Nebraska's team and in the country based on PFF grades and stats.

Series: QB | RB | WR | TE |

Nebraska 2021 offensive line PFF grades
Player Snaps Offense Pass block Run block

Cam Jurgens

792

70.8

70.8

71.5

Matt Sichterman

787

61.1

60.2

60.7

Turner Corcoran

775

29.6

0

50.5

Bryce Benhart

721

50.2

30.1

63.6

Nouredin Nouili

473

66.8

63.5

67.1

Ethan Piper

251

58

60.6

55.4

Trent Hixson

188

52.2

44

57

Teddy Prochazka

135

68.2

54.2

68.5

Broc Bando

50

63.9

49.6

64.2

Brant Banks

50

46.1

10.2

57.4

Ezra Miller

32

70.3

73.4

67.8

Nebraska's offensive line PFF grades in 2021 for players with over 30 snaps
Nebraska center Cam Jurgens
Nebraska center Cam Jurgens (Getty Images)

Observations

One of the worst in FBS:

Nebraska is one of the worst pass blocking teams in FBS and is ranked No. 126 out of the 130 FBS teams. The Huskers received a 29.2 pass block grade. The next closest Big Ten team is Iowa, which sits at No. 101 with a 52.2 pass block grade.

NU's starting interior (Nouri Nouili, Cam Jurgens and Matt Sitcherman) averaged a 65 pass block grade. The two tackles, Turner Corcoran on the left and Bryce Benhart on the right, average to a 15 grade.

The starting lineup, including Corcoran's zero grade and Benhart's 30, averages a 34 pass block grade.

One of worst in Division I football:

Now that we've look at FBS, let's take a look at all of Division I football including the FBS and FCS.

Based on PFF's offensive line pass block efficiency grade, Nebraska earned a 78.5 grade as a unit. With that grade, the Huskers have the No. 282 worst O-line out of the 295 teams in Division I football. Nebraska is tied with UNLV at No. 282 which went 2-10 in 2021.

The next closest Power Five teams are Colorado at No. 271 with a 80.5 grade and Indiana at No. 242 with a 83.7 grade.

A bright spot:

All three of Nebraska's interior linemen scored above a 97 in efficiency on pressures allowed.

Left guard Nouri Nouili lead the group with an 98.9 score and allowed only five pressures on his 473 snaps this season.

Center Cam Jurgens and right guard Matt Sichterman, who each played closer to 800 snaps, had 13 and 19 pressures respectively.

These interior linemen allowed three sacks (all from Sichterman) and four quarterback hits. Nebraska will have to replace both Sichterman and Jurgens, who entered the 2022 NFL draft.

Nebraska left guard Nouri Nouili
Nebraska left guard Nouri Nouili (AP Photo)

Tackle struggles:

Bryce Benhart and Turner Corcoran had their struggles in 2021 for Nebraska.

Corcoran allowed 60 quarterback pressures on his 405 pass blocks, that is roughly one pressure per every seven snaps. Six of the hurries were sacks and nine were hits.

Nebraska's right tackle, Benhart, gave up 39 pressures on 384 pass plays, about one pressure for every nine snaps. He allowed five sacks and four hits and scored a 23 grade on pass blocking in the true pass set.

Pressures allowed:

The Huskers' offensive line allowed 159 pressures in the 2021 season. Of those pressures, 99 came from NU's two tackles.

Nebraska's offensive line ranks No. 9 in Division I football (249 teams) in allowed quarterback pressures.

Virginia is the next-closest Power Five team with 136 pressures at No. 17. Alabama is tied for No. 18 with 135 pressures. Crimson Tide tackle Chris Owens allowed 41 pressures and guard Javion Cohen allowed 28 total pressures.

Penalties:

Nebraska's offensive line accounted for 27 of the Huskers' 37 offensive penalties of the season. NU ranks No. 30 in the FBS with an average of 45 penalty yards per game, ranking them eighth in the Big Ten.

Jurgens, Corcoran and Benhart each had six penalities and Sitcherman had four. During the season, it seemed that the offensive line found the most inopportune times for a false start or holding call. Unfortunately, PFF doesn't have a metric for drive-killing penalities.