On Monday, August 27, it was announced that Husker quarterback, Tristan Gebbia, unenrolled from all of his classes at UNL and got a release from his scholarship. Gebbia, a 6’3” redshirt freshman quarterback, lost the starting job to true freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez. The race was close, coming down to the Sunday before the first game. Gebbia was a part of the “Calabraska” movement, which refers to players coming from Calabasas, California. This movement was mainly started by Keyshawn Johnson Jr., son of star NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson. With many players transferring, and the head coaching change, this movement proved to be a failure.
Now head coach, Scott Frost, has a lot of work to do with the quarterback position. With the departure of Gebbia, the Huskers now only have one quarterback on scholarship, which happens to be a true freshman starter, Adrian Martinez. Sophomore Andrew Bunch is expected to take over the backup role and will be ready to play if Martinez suffers an injury. As of now, Kearney Catholic grad Matt Masker is the third-string quarterback for the Huskers. With Bunch being a sophomore and Masker being a freshman, the Huskers will have a lot of inexperience at the quarterback position this season.
The Huskers also have transfer quarterback Noah Vedral at their disposal. Vedral came with Scott Frost from UCF when Frost decided to take the job at Nebraska. As of now, Vedral is set to sit out the 2018 season because of transfer rules, but there is still a possibility that he could get a waiver that will allow him to play this season. This would be a big advantage for Nebraska, as they would have a quarterback in their system who already knows the offense, and would be ready to step in if an injury to Martinez were to occur. In six games at UCF last season, Vedral went 22-29 passing with 276 yards and a touchdown. This was mostly in mop-up duty as starter McKenzie Milton put up an amazing season for the Knights leading them to an undefeated 2017 season. Also, Milton is a Heisman front-runner heading into the 2018 season.
The loss of Gebbia is a big one to the Huskers no doubt, but from Gebbia’s perspective, it may have been the right move. Gebbia has received a lot of hate from Husker fans for his decision, which is understandable, but maybe all of the criticism isn’t totally deserved. Gebbia did decide to try and stick it out after former Husker head coach, Mike Riley, was fired. Riley was the man that recruited him and ultimately helped him make the decision to come to Nebraska. After he didn’t win the starting job it was clear that he wasn’t going to get the playing time that he wanted.
Gebbia announced Wednesday, August 29, that he will be transferring to Oregon State to play for the Beavers. Oregon State is the home of former Husker head coach Mike Riley. It is clear that Nebraska’s new offense would never have fit Gebbia’s talents. The chances for him ever starting for the Big Red were starting to look worse and worse. Martinez is the quarterback that Frost hand-picked for his offense and it was going to be a struggle to look better than the man Frost chose for the job. Frost is also doing a phenomenal job of recruiting and will be looking to bring in even more quarterbacks that fit his system at Nebraska. With Gebbia being more of a “pro-style” quarterback instead of the “dual threat” quarterbacks Frost wants in his offense his chances of playing wouldn’t have been great. Hopefully, Nebraska fans can understand the decision and ultimately support him in an Oregon State uniform.
The quarterback situation at Nebraska may be a little rocky, but we are all hoping that it is something that Frost can overcome. With a stud receiving core featuring the likes of Stanley Morgan Jr. and J.D. Spielman, Martinez should have no problem finding open receivers. Also, the Huskers should have enough athletes on defense to keep the offense in the game and give the offense a chance to win it for the Big Red. The quarterback situation at Nebraska is definitely something to keep a close eye on this season.