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Without introducing too much math into the latest update from Nebraska offensive line coach Greg Austin on where his group stands, here are a couple of key numbers.

Four players have, if not guaranteed starting spots, strong holds on their positions: Left tackle Turner Corcoran, left guard Ethan Piper, center Cameron Jurgens and right tackle Bryce Benhart.

Two more appear to be in a dogfight for the right guard job: senior Matt Sichterman and redshirt freshman Brant Banks, who can also play tackle.

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Three more round out what Austin on Wednesday said is a group of nine he would trust to play right now: center/guard Trent Hixson and a versatile pair in Broc Bando and walk-on Nouredin Nouili.

A couple of other names to know, of whom Austin was complimentary: walk-on Ezra Miller and redshirt freshman Jimmy Fritzsche.

A bunch of them can play multiple spots. Some were highly recruited and some not. Nouili (Colorado State) and Miller (Iowa) started their careers elsewhere. Corcoran’s been on campus for one year, while Sichterman and Bando are entering their fifth years.

“The challenge is puzzling it, but also the challenge is making sure that the guys understand where their value is,” Austin said. “When you’ve got that many guys that can play for you, we live in a world now where guys can transfer with free will, do whatever. So you’ve got to recruit them while you’re here as you’re coaching them.”

Indeed, when Austin’s group is healthy, as it currently seems to be, he’s got more options than spots in the starting lineup. That’s a good problem to have, of course.

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Hixson is in line to be the No. 2 center and depth at guard, where he started all of 2019, making him a key depth piece. “He’s accepted the role and he’s done a good job,” Austin said.

Banks could be the starting right guard eventually or he could be a No. 2 guard and a swing tackle behind the young starting duo.

Austin on Wednesday preemptively brought up the strides Nouili, the former German exchange student who earned a scholarship to CSU after one year at Norris and started seven games as a freshman in Fort Collins, has made this spring.

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“I don’t know if someone is going to ask about him, but Nouri is a solid player. An up-and-coming guy,” Austin said. “He’s one of the accountable guys and I think he’s going to be one heck of a player. He’s going to contribute this fall for us.”

That could be at guard, tackle or both.

The fourth-year offensive line coach at first said nine players and then laughed and admitted, “I kind of put myself into a hole,” by specifying the number when he was asked about Miller, the former Hawkeye, who would appear to be No. 10 in a nine-man group.

“He’s in the top group, but I think that his better days of football are ahead of him, too,” Austin said, while also mentioning that Fritzsche, who hasn't ascended as quickly as fellow 2019 recruits Benhart, Piper and Banks, "is creeping in there as well." 

The simplest way to sum it up? 

"We've got some big boys out there," Austin said. 

How the puzzle pieces fit together, especially after the top four, is an ongoing conversation.

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