Patrick O’Brien said Tristan Gebbia doesn’t have to look far if he needs help with anything as the freshman quarterback goes through Nebraska spring practice for the first time.
O’Brien was in a very similar situation a year ago, and fighting some of the same hardships and highs and lows.
“It’s kind of easy for me to relate to him,” O’Brien said. “We’re kind of from the same area. We knew each other coming in here. So I just try to help him every single time that something goes on, or he has questions. I’m definitely trying to help him with everything he’s got.”
O’Brien was a January enrollee a year ago, coming out of San Juan Capistrano, California, as a four-star prospect. It was a time for getting his feet wet, with NU having Tommy Armstrong, Ryker Fyfe and AJ Bush at the position during spring practice and O’Brien headed for a certain redshirt in 2016.
Gebbia also started his Nebraska career a semester early, allowing the 6-foot-3, 180-pounder from Calabasas, California, to go through winter conditioning and now spring practice. Gebbia and junior-college transfer Andrew Bunch are working behind O’Brien and junior Tanner Lee.
As with O’Brien, Gebbia was ranked as a four-star prospect, but had several more and bigger offers than O’Brien before committing to NU last September. Gebbia went on to throw for 5,338 yards and 61 touchdowns as a senior, and finished his Calabasas career with 13,109 passing yards and 141 TDs.
Looking back, O’Brien said he felt good about coming early to NU. Part of his first year included playing in the spring game, where he completed 6 of 9 passes for 59 yards before an interception on the final play.
“Spring ball was very fun. Coming into the game was also fun,” O’Brien said. “I mean, I enjoyed it, so it was a good experience for me.”