In what has been a rather rapid news cycle, Nebraska RS sophomore QB Patrick O’Brien has requested his scholarship release from Nebraska.
Nebraska coach Scott Frost tells me that QB Patrick O’Brien has asked for his release and been granted it. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, he’s a great kid, he wants to find an offense that fits his skillset.” #huskers— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) April 12, 2018
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.— Patrick O'Brien™ (@oneandonlyPOB) April 12, 2018
Jeremiah 29:11 pic.twitter.com/xSt7hVt9NK
While it was expected that this spring’s QB competition would result in some transfers due to the proximity of eligibility clocks, we admit the timing of this departure is surprising, with a little over a week remaining in spring practice.
It came out that O’Brien received very few reps at QB during Tuesday’s practice, and was not present at practice today. Both OC Troy Walters and QB coach Mario Verduzco commented that they were focused on the players who are present.
O’Brien was recruited by former head coach Mike Riley and his OC Danny Langsdorf. O’Brien enrolled early in 2016 and there was some thought perhaps he could challenge Tommy Armstrong for the starting job, but eventually he lost out to both Armstrong and Fyfe and red-shirted that fall instead. In 2017, O’Brien backed up Tanner Lee, appearing in two games. With Nebraska moving on from Riley’s Air Coryell-inspired offense to Frost’s up-tempo offense, O’Brien feels his skillset is best served elsewhere. Perhaps he’ll contact his former head coach?
With the departure of O’Brien, that leaves Nebraska with only two scholarship QBs on roster for this fall: RS freshman Tristan Gebbia and true freshman Adrian Martinez. They also are carrying walk-ons Andrew Bunch (formerly of Scotsdale CC) and former UCF QB Noah Vedral (who is ineligible due to transfer until January 2019), and will be joined by local walk-on Matt Masker this fall.
Nebraska’s QB room lacks game experience and it’ll be up to Walters and Frost to find a way to mitigate that damage. Expect Nebraska to lean heavily on newcomer Greg Bell and the rest of the running backs room to give the QBs some breathing room as they go through their trial by fire.
It is also possible Nebraska may test the transfer market for quarterbacks, but until spring practices conclude and intents to transfer are known, we will have to assume Nebraska will face this fall’s gauntlet with the small QB room it currently carries.
Best of luck to Patrick as he looks for a new home!