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Failed drug test sidelines Nebraska starter Nouredin Nouili for 2022 season

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LINCOLN — Nebraska starting left guard Nouredin Nouili will miss the 2022 football season, he announced Saturday on social media, because of a failed NCAA drug test. 

"This spring I was informed by the NCAA that due to a failed drug test I am ineligible for the 2022 season," Nouili wrote in part. "I'd like to apologize to my family, teammates, coaches and Husker fans for my error in judgment. It is an honor to be a part of this football program and represent this University and I do not take that responsibility lightly." 

The 6-foot-4, 315-pound junior from Frankfurt, Germany, will lose a year of eligibility while remaining part of the Husker team. He could practice with the team, as well. Coach Scott Frost issued a statement of support for Nouili, a Colorado State transfer who started the last seven games of the 2021 season and helped anchor a banged-up line in spring camp.

“We will fully support Nouredin Nouili as continues his academic and athletic career at the University of Nebraska," Frost said. "He is an outstanding young man, who made a mistake that will force him to miss the 2022 season and forfeit a year of eligibility. Noure will be a full participant in practice this fall, and we look forward to him resuming his playing career in 2023.”

Nouili's on-field absence raises another red flag for an offensive line that lost two starters — including second round NFL draft pick Cam Jurgens — and had a change in coaches from Greg Austin to Donovan Raiola. The Huskers’ top two offensive tackles, Teddy Prochazka and Turner Corcoran, missed spring while rehabbing from injuries, as well.

But NU doesn’t lack for scholarship bodies.

The Huskers have a plethora of guards, including Ethan Piper, who started ten games at left guard in 2020 and 2021. Other guard options include sixth-year senior Broc Bando — who may start at right guard — Northern Colorado transfer Kevin Williams, Henry Lutovsky, Brant Banks — who co-hosts a local radio show with Nouili — and one of tackles, perhaps Corcoran or Bryce Benhart, who won’t start at tackle so long as left tackle Prochazka fully recovers from his knee injury.

Nebraska could also move current No. 1 center Trent Hixson to left guard — where Hixson has previously started 14 games in 2019 and 2021 — and try out a different option, like Corcoran or Piper, at center. Such a move might be risky, given Corcoran’s lack of center experience. Jurgens eventually became one of the best centers in college football, but his development at the position came with growing pains in the form of poor, game-changing snaps.

In his first year as Big Ten offensive line coach, Raiola faced these dilemmas even before the NCAA sidelined Nouili. Just two months out from the season-opening game in Ireland, Nebraska already knows it will field a starting five that hasn’t played a meaningful snap as a unit.


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