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Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

Patrick O'Brien

Nebraska quarterback Patrick O'Brien smiles as he throws passes during a practice at Hawks Championship Center in November.

FRANCIS GARDLER, JOURNAL STAR FILE PHOTO

Six takeaways from “Husker QB media day” at Hawks Championship Center:

1. I interviewed Tristan Gebbia and only Tristan Gebbia. However, I listened to snippets of the other three quarterbacks on hand (Patrick O’Brien declined to participate) and was impressed with their poise in front of the cameras, for what that's worth.

Gebbia was well-prepared for this day. He’s an upbeat individual with a knack for saying the right things.

Asked about the transition from Mike Riley’s pro-style offense to Scott Frost’s fast-paced spread, Gebbia said: “It’s been really fun. Coach Riley ran an offense that was a lot of fun for me, and I really liked it. Now, coach Frost is running something completely different.

“It’s all football to me, and I love football.”

Perfect.

The redshirt freshman was asked if he’s noticed any teammates standing out in practice that might get overlooked by fans.

“Everybody on offense is playing really great right now,” said Gebbia, who then singled out two walk-on wide receivers in Todd Honas of Aurora and Christian Banker of Omaha.

Yes, he picked two in-state walk-ons. Perfect.

2. I'm not going to read much into the fact the sophomore O'Brien declined to meet with the herd of reporters. Yeah, it's tempting to try to read into it, but .... not gonna do it.

He did do interviews last season, and class was not the reason he declined Tuesday.

To be clear, I'm not being critical at all of the young man. His absence was just a minor curiosity.

3. Frost gave us an intriguing nugget when he said “some guys” have separated themselves in the quarterback competition. Those guys started Tuesday -- the eighth of 15 practices this spring -- to get more repetitions than the others.

Keep in mind, the media isn’t allowed to watch practice, and Frost declined to say which QBs have gained an edge.

Both Frost and quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco dance around pointed quarterback questions -- “Is there a timetable for when you want to establish a pecking order?” -- using the dexterity of Fred Astaire.

“We have until September to figure out who’s going to be the first guy on the field,” said Frost, referring to the Sept. 1 opener against Akron.

I’m betting the competition continues until the late stages of August because I don't envision anyone becoming the no-doubt, clear-cut winner before then.

4. This much is certain: I’m not overlooking walk-on Andrew Bunch in the competition, especially after listening to Frost’s praise of the 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore.

I’ve heard from regular practice onlookers that Bunch has been impressive.

As Brent Wagner notes in this story, there is not a lot of time for a quarterback to think in Frost’s system, but that’s not a worry for Bunch.

“That’s all been perfect,” he said. “That’s all we used to do in my high school in Tennessee, we just ran tempo all day, so that just feels natural.”

As a high school senior, Bunch led his team to a 15-0 record, and passed for 3,405 yards and rushed for 520.

That said, I regard Gebbia as the favorite in the race -- based mostly on what I’m hearing from those who watch practice. Take it for what it’s worth.

Those who doubt Bunch becoming "the guy" no doubt wonder this: Could he really become the long-term answer?

5. My favorite quote of the day came from true freshman Adrian Martinez, who is listed at 6-2, 205.

By the way, that listing appears accurate. He’s pretty impressive physically.

He also seems mature beyond his years, something that became apparent during the recruiting process. Asked Tuesday how the quarterbacks can remain like family while also battling for the starting job in an intense competition?

"I think that just comes down to being a good person," he said.

6. Gebbia, by the way, is listed at 6-3 and 185 pounds. Has he gained weight since last season?

"I don't know how much I've gained, but I feel really good," he said.

Told you he plays the media game well.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com.

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