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Nebraska football practice, 4/3

Offensive lineman Brenden Jaimes lines up for a drill during Nebraska football practice at Hawks Championship Center earlier this month.

GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star

Brenden Jaimes checked off a rare box in 2017, becoming just the fifth true freshman in Nebraska history to start on the offensive line.

Now, he’s asked to fulfill another sizable task: serving as the cornerstone of the Husker offensive line.

Jaimes, a sophomore from Austin, Texas, is playing left tackle for offensive line coach Greg Austin this spring and is the clear front-runner to serve as a to-be-determined right-handed quarterback’s blindside protector.

It’s actually a far more comfortable spot for Jaimes.

“That’s what I played in high school,” he said. “Last year when I played right, it was a little different. I just wanted to help the team out any way I could and now I’m on the left side and I feel a lot better.”

Jaimes started nine games as a freshman and showed promise through expected ups and downs. He said he added 10 pounds over the winter and now stands at 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds. The goal, according to Jaimes, is to push toward changing the first number in his weight to a three by the time the season rolls around.

The added mass is already paying dividends, though.

“I can tell and not in a bad way,” he assured. “I feel like I put on good weight and I think it’s really beneficial to me and the whole offensive line.”

Senior Tanner Farmer, who played next to Jaimes at right guard for a chunk of 2017 before suffering a high ankle sprain, said he sees not only a bigger player, but a more mature one, too.

“I think him just understanding the game more,” said Farmer, who’s splitting time between guard and center this spring. “Last year, he was baptized in fire. I was playing right next to him and I would have to help him out a little bit with calls and stuff like that. Sometimes there was a little bit of yelling back and forth, but I feel like he’s really maturing and learning more and more about the offensive scheme and knowing his individual responsibilities.”

Added Jaimes, “Coming from a good high school program and then playing as a freshman in the Big Ten, it’s a big step up. It really humbled me and it just showed that I have to work just as hard as everybody else to get on the field.”

Jaimes isn’t just on the field anymore. He’s the odds-on favorite to be the starting left tackle at Nebraska. He likes the scheme. He thinks the group is doing a good job of picking up what Austin is teaching. He likes the early chemistry he’s building with left guard Jerald Foster.

“I think as a whole we’re doing really good,” Jaimes surmised. “It’s definitely a different tempo for us, but we’re getting used to it, taking it day by day and getting better.”

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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