Beavs

Beavers Brian Lindgren impressed by young QBs in Tristan Gebbia's absence

Beavs

Spring football is well underway in Corvallis and despite starting quarterback Tristan Gebbia being out, for the time being, the Beavers are getting a good look at the three men behind him: Chance Nolan, Ben Gulbranson, and Sam Vidlak.

"Disappointing not to have Tristan out there but it's an awesome opportunity for those other three guys and right now they're getting a ton of reps," Brian Lindgren told Talkin' Beavers host Ron Callan on this week's episode.

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While Gebbia rehabs his hamstring back to full strength in time for training camp, the other three quarterbacks have split reps and even impressed Oregon State's offensive coordinator in the process.

"We're really excited about all three of them and right now we're just rotating through different groups and giving them as many reps in different offenses as we can get," he said. "We'll just keep evaluating it as we get through spring and into training camp."

Lindgren added Nolan, who started last season in relief of Gebbia, "learned a ton from those three games about what it takes to be a successful quarterback in the Pac-12 [making] the transition from junior college."

Nolan allows the Beavers to open up the playbook a little more too because of his running ability. He was the nation's No. 1 JUCO dual-threat quarterback in 2020. 

"Chance gives us something with his legs that we haven't had around here in a little bit," explained Lindgren. "Opportunities when things break down in the pocket to go extend plays with his legs and make some plays there and also do some run stuff, some zone read and read elements in the run game that we weren't able to do with Tristan [Gebbia] or Jake Luton."

 

However, the Beavers always knew he could run. Gebbia won the starting job in 2020 because of his passing ability and decision making, two areas Nolan has improved at during spring football.

"He's getting more comfortable as a passer," added Lindgren. "Something we're focusing on with him is being more comfortable in the pocket, sitting in, and getting to the second or third read in your progression."

In three starts last season, Nolan passed for 537 yards and six touchdowns on 46-of-91 passing (50.5 percent) while rushing for 146 yards on 29 carries. 

He isn't the only quarterback seeing increased reps during spring football, though.

"Ben Gulbranson has a big arm," said Lindgren of the second-year Beaver who enrolled in January 2020. 

"He's done a really good job picking up the offense and he's done a good job... He's a really sharp player and he can really push the ball downfield much like Jake Luton could do a couple years back for us."

During the 2020 season finale, Gulbranson threw for 64 yards and one touchdown on 6-of-9 passing against Arizona State. 

Lindgren also gave some praise to Sam Vidlak, the program's most recent quarterback signee, who enrolled early in time for spring football. 

"We're really excited about him. He's done some great things early in the spring for being a senior in high school right now, coming in early," said Lindgren.

Vidlak committed to Oregon State as a two-star player after throwing for 3,404 yards, 44 touchdowns and just three interceptions as a junior per MaxPreps, albeit against 4A Oregon competition at Hidden Valley. 

As a Beavers commit, Vidlak earned a third-star in 247Sports composite ranking as the nation's No. 28 pro-style quarterback and No. 18 pro-style quarterback by 247Sports evaluators. 

So far during camp, Vidlak has shown why the Beavers offered him a scholarship with plays like this throw to Silas Bolden.

"He's moved the ball with the tight opportunities he's had in there and he's made some throws that were pretty impressive for a young guy," described Lindgren. 

Time will tell which signal caller wins the starting job, or the backup job for that matter, but Oregon State appears to like its options months ahead of its season opener against Purdue.