Junior center Michael Decker is unavailable for Nebraska this spring as he recovers from a leg injury that kept him out of the last six games in 2017.
Offensive line coach Greg Austin said Thursday that freshman Will Farniok, redshirt freshman Hunter Miller, and seniors Jerald Foster and Tanner Farmer are taking snaps at center, while cross training at guard as well.
“It’s a process,” Austin said. “They’re working the process actively. You can see them playing, and I call it playing fast between the whistles. They’re playing faster, you know, faster than practice one, faster than practice two, between the whistles.”
Coach Frost mentioned after Tuesday’s practice that snapping the ball was a little sloppy at times.
“That kind of goes with the territory, particularly when we’re practicing at the pace we’re practicing at,” Frost said. “You’re getting down, getting set, snapping the ball, thinking about 100 things in a short amount of time. Mistakes will happen. We’ll coach these guys through that, and like I said, hopefully Thursday looks better than today.”
It appears that Frost’s message got across to the O-line on Thursday.
“They’re doing well,” Austin said of the linemen playing center. “Doing well. Biggest job for the center is to snap the ball, but secondly is to instill confidence in the guys to the right and left of them. So, how confident they are in their calls gives the guys confidence. Gives the guards and tackles confidence.”
Of those working out at center, Farniok is the youngest, but it hasn’t shown on the field.
“Will is awesome,” Austin said. “He’s an awesome kid. He’s very smart and cerebral. He picks up things well. He has a natural ability to snap the ball. He’s actually taken reps, in some cases, with the first team (offense) and holding his own. Really excited about what he’s going to be and what he is currently and the foundation he has all the way from high school.”
While Austin might not get on Will all the time, his older brother, sophomore Matt Farniok, is picking up the slack.
“Will’s brother is the one that gets in his ass now,” Austin said. “So, if Will doesn’t know something, or takes the wrong step, or he does the wrong thing, then I damn near don’t even have to say anything to Will. Matt’s in his ass like, ‘You should be doing this,’ and I’m like, ‘Matt, calm down. Can I teach him first?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah coach…’
“‘I’m like, Matt. Calm down. (Will’s) an 18-year-old kid.'”
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