Wednesday’s Nebraska football practice came and went with no concrete decision on who will start at quarterback in the Huskers’ Sept. 1 season opener against Akron.
However, a situational scrimmage set for Thursday may provide the coaching staff some answers in what’s been a very even preseason camp battle between redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia and true freshman Adrian Martinez.
Offensive coordinator Troy Walters said after Wednesday’s practice that coaches will put the quarterbacks in certain situations in Thursday’s practice and see which one handles them the best.
“We feel confident in both of those guys that if their number is called, they can go out there and execute the offense and win the game for us,” Walters said. “It’s a good problem to have.”
Walters said coaches are looking for a quarterback who takes leadership, can run the offense, protect the football, make plays with his arm, as well as his feet, and, above all, gives Nebraska the best opportunity to win.
Walters said the coaching staff will meet and make a decision together. Nebraska coach Scott Frost has said he wants to name a starter heading into game week.
Gebbia, from Calabasas, California, redshirted last season after being recruited by the previous coaching staff for a pro-style offense. Yet quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco said he’s not surprised Gebbia has quickly adapted to this staff’s no-huddle, hurry-up attack.
“Just getting to know Tristan, I would say no, (I’m not surprised),” Verduzco said. “He’s a competitor, he’s bright, he’s enthusiastic about everything he does, he’s got a great gun, he’s athletic.”
Martinez, from Fresno, California, graduated high school early and participated in spring practices to get a head start on learning the playbook. He’s not played since his junior year of high school, after an injury sidelined him a senior.
Verduzco said the edge in the competition will likely go to the player who “can do his job at the exact right time.”