Starting quarterback Tanner Lee will enter the concussion protocol this week after sustaining what the coaching staff called an “impact migraine” against Minnesota on Saturday.
“I don’t rule him in or out right now,” Coach Mike Riley said of Lee’s status for the Huskers’ Nov. 18 game against No. 13 Penn State. “He’s in the protocol, you know how that goes, that’s a day-to-day thing that only the medical people will come back and say if and when he’s cleared to play.”
Riley said Lee sustained the injury right before halftime against the Gophers when a defender fell on his head. Lee played the entire first half, going 13-for-18 for 174 yards and a score, but did not return after halftime.
His backup, redshirt freshman Patrick O’Brien, will take first-team reps in practice this week with the expectation that he will start against the Nittany Lions on Saturday. Walk-on Andrew Bunch will serve as O’Brien’s primary backup but Riley said the team will look at other “emergency” options if Lee is in fact ruled out for Saturday.
Riley did say that should Lee be cleared, regardless of how much work he’s able to get in this week, he would play just because of the game experience Lee has.
“Obviously he’s played a lot and the decision about him can be made later when cleared, if in time,” Riley said. “But at the same time, we are today practicing Patrick O’Brien as if he’s going to start.”
Riley also announced that starting outside linebacker Luke Gifford will have season-ending hip surgery this week.
“We’ve kind of reached a point with Luke Gifford where it was decided that the best thing for him would be to have surgery this week and begin his process of getting ready for his next go-around in the future,” Riley said.
Gifford started the first seven games of the season but has missed the last three. He has 39 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and an interception this season.
Riley also announced that wide receiver Conor Young will miss the Penn State game with a high ankle sprain.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.