Spring Practice Position Battles: The Victors (Offensive Line)


Although Nebraska’s spring game was rained out, the Huskers’ 14 other spring practices have shown enough for fans and media to start forming opinions about the 2012 depth chart.

At the end of Nebraska’s spring session, Husker Corner breaks down who has put themselves in the best position to win their respective position battles. We examine center and right tackle as we take a hard look at the offensive line.

The Competitors

Two main battles have emerged in spring practice. The battle for right tackle pits Andrew Rodriguez, who recently moved from guard, against Jeremiah Sirles, who returns a year’s starting experience at left tackle. Rodriguez moved to tackle this spring after finishing 2011 injured, eventually being replaced by Seung Hoon Choi at left guard.

At center, three competitors have emerged to replace Mike Caputo. Justin Jackson, who moved back to center from defensive tackle, joins Cole Pensick and Mark Pelini in the three-deep. All three have taken significant snaps in spring practice and all three received praise from numerous coaches.

The Circumstances

It’s not necessarily known if coaches moved Rodriguez from guard because he was jumped on the depth chart at guard, if the team wants to get the best talent on the field across the board, or if the coaches truly felt Rodriguez was a perfect fit at tackle. Either way, Rodriguez will have until September to state his case why he should replace Sirles or perhaps why he should earn his starting role at left guard back from Choi.

Pensick and Jackson saw the majority of the reps at center in spring practice. While Pelini still got a number of reps, they didn’t quite compare to the quantity that Pensick and Jackson saw.

The Victor

Not much was said about Sirles this spring. Perhaps that’s because he didn’t wow any of the coaches, which would explain why Rodriguez moved over. Rodriguez’s physical ability is still top-notch, and his ceiling appears to be higher that Sirles’. As long as he can learn the position, he appears to have the upper-hand.

At center, Pensick has stolen the headlines and is acting like Nebraska’s starting center. Jackson’s year away from the position might be enough to keep him from the starting role, while Pensick’s time under Caputo appears to have helped him.

By Chris Peters

Contact the writer at ChrisHuskerCorner@gmail.com or on Twitter @_ChrisPeters

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