There were rumors early Tuesday morning that yesterday could be Quarterback Day at Nebraska, rumors that turned out to be true. The quarterbacks talked quarterbacking, starting with the former quarterback himself.
Four of Nebraska’s five quarterbacks took questions from the media, and I’m perfectly fine saying it’s an impressive group on that front. If you wanted to set a depth chart just based on how those interviews went, good luck to you. I’m not sure that’s any easier than trying to set one through conventional means, so we won’t do that.
Instead, let’s boil things down to try to get a sense for who these guys are. That might be as foolish a task to attempt based on post-practice interviews, but we’ve now got a mountain of comments and ideas from the Husker hopefuls to think about and digest. What if you just boiled it down to one representative quote, though? What would that look like?
If I’m curating, it looks like this:
ANDREW BUNCH: It’s rare in these settings to hear anyone pause to collect their thoughts. Someone jams a microphone in your face, in this case a bunch of them, and fires a question at you, the natural tendency is to respond as quickly as possible, as if not having an answer immediately would be akin to dropping the ball and losing the game. Bunch, however, took time to consider his responses on a handful of occasions and you could almost hear him mentally steering every conversation back to the team. Asked if he felt he was a better fit for this offense: “Um,” Bunch said with what would become a common long pause. “I think that everybody’s working hard. We’re all chasing the same goal, so I’m just worried about doing the best I can every day.” That reads like the boilerplate post-practice quote, but the reveal is in the delivery and the question that spurred the answer. Everyone knows Bunch is a better fit in this scheme, but he’s not going to be the one to tell you that. He worked hard not to over the 7 minutes of audio I heard. And that’s telling.
TRISTAN GEBBIA: The redshirt freshman sounded a lot like you’d want a quarterback to sound, which wasn’t a surprise. Nor was this answer to a question about the differences between the last scheme and this scheme: “In a pro-style instead of reading a guy in the box you're going to kill it and go to a run. It's basically the same thing,” Gebbia said. “So now instead of killing it and going to a run, it's my legs that are going to read that guy.” I have to be honest, I don’t totally understand what he’s telling us there, but the point is that I don’t have to. It’s making sense in Gebbia’s mind, and was a nice peek into what it’s actually like to be known as the film junkie on the team. Gebbia’s answers later to a question about the offenses of other schools he considered were astute as well, and that’s something uncommon. Fast-forward things about 20 years and some reporter will be getting great quotes from Coach Gebbia, but first there’s a job to win.
ADRIAN MARTINEZ: For a player in Bunch’s position at this time of year you are required by law to mention that he should be getting ready for prom right now. Instead, he sounded like a three-year starter in his first public comments as a member of the team. Asked if he brought some characteristic (I guess?) Fresno toughness with him to Nebraska, Martinez said this: “I would say I definitely try. I definitely try. My dad kind of instilled that in me. He’s had an interesting road to get where he’s at now, and I think I learned from him and just looked up to him as far as hard work. I’m in a blessed situation. There’s all the resources in the world for me to be as good as I can be, I’ve just got to work for it.” Strange question, great answer. One that is both self-aware and gracious. That’s a good combo.
PATRICK O’BRIEN: The sophomore was the only quarterback not to speak, which is either most definitely a thing or most definitely not a thing. Depends on where in the takesphere you find yourself, I suppose. I choose not to engage.
NOAH VEDRAL: The UCF transfer can’t play this year, but, man, did he sound like a guy who is going to make this whole conversation tough again in a year. Most of Vedral’s time was spent talking about his familiarity with the offense, but it was this quote about being at Nebraska that was my main takeaway: “I’m really excited to be back home, for a chance to play at a program like this. I’m the fifth one from my family to play here. It’s a really big honor. It’s a privilege just to be here, to get to practice and wear the red N. It’s a big deal to be back.” Based on Vedral’s delivery, I do not think those are just words. The way he said them indicated the “big deal” nature of what he was saying as much as anything. That guy is going to make some big plays for Nebraska in the near future.
The Grab Bag
- Add Kansas and North Carolina State to the developing FBI investigation into college hoops.
- Some former Scott Frost quarterbacks talk about what's needed at the position to make the offense tick.
- The University of Washington is making the jump from Nike to Adidas.
- ICYMI: This story from the December issue by Cody Nagel recentl placed 10th in the Hearst Foundation's sports writing category. Give it a read.
Today's Song of Today