LINCOLN — As true freshman Adrian Martinez on Monday met the press as Nebraska’s starting quarterback, the man he beat for the job, Tristan Gebbia, appeared set to transfer.
Gebbia did not practice Monday, coach Scott Frost said, and he was no longer enrolled in classes according to the university registrar’s office. As of Monday afternoon, Frost still wanted Gebbia, a redshirt freshman, to stay, and an NU official called the situation “fluid” amid reports of Gebbia asking for his scholarship release.
Gebbia did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The World-Herald. His father, Rich, declined to take a phone call initially then didn’t respond to requests for comment. Multiple assistant coaches from four-year schools and junior colleges started following Gebbia’s Twitter account. NU next practices Tuesday morning.
Frost thought Gebbia took the news “really well” when he first learned he lost the starting quarterback job to Martinez. That was Saturday. By Monday, Frost was telling reporters that Gebbia didn’t practice with the team. NU began its game-week preparations with drama.
“We want guys who want to be here,” Frost said. “Hopefully everything lands in a good position. I think that’s to be determined. ... Tristan’s a great kid. There have been several players who have chosen not to be a part of the program, and some of the decisions I agreed with, some of them I didn’t. No matter what, these are good kids, and we want what’s best for them.”
Frost said Nebraska preaches “team before me.”
“I want players on the team that are actually about that,” Frost said. “And whatever kids are on the roster come first game, those are the brothers that I’m going to roll with.”
For now, that’s Martinez, sophomore walk-on Andrew Bunch and true freshman walk-on Matt Masker. Another quarterback, Noah Vedral, has to sit out a season, per NCAA rules, after transferring from Central Florida.
“I think Matt Masker’s taken a live football snap more recently than anyone we have,” Frost quipped. That’s sort of true; while Martinez missed his entire senior season of high school rehabbing a shoulder injury, he did play in the Under Armour All-America game.
Frost declined to go into depth on Bunch’s strengths just yet. Frost called Gebbia “a really good kid and great teammate.”
“We want what’s best for him,” Frost said. “At the end of the day, I hope he’s here.”
Martinez won the job, Frost said, because of his “athletic ability.”
“At the end of the day we’re more dangerous — if the throwing is close — if we have a quarterback that’s a threat to run it,” Frost said.
Quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco and other offensive assistants agreed, Frost said, when he took a “straw poll.”
Generally, Frost’s philosophy on transferring players is to let them announce their departure. But several — Will Jackson, Avery Roberts and Bryan Brokop — went silent after they left.
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