Beavers

Tristan Gebbia leading the QB battle in Corvallis

Beavers

Jake Luton is no longer under center in Corvallis, Oregon. Luton was the starting quarterback for the Beavers over the last three seasons, though numerous injuries limited his time on the field. 

When Luton was healthy, he was incredible. He started 11 games last season, passing for 2,714 yards and 28 touchdowns while throwing just three interceptions.

That is a lot of production the Beavers have to replace. 

In last season's rivalry game against the Oregon Ducks, the Beavers got a glimpse of their future.

Tristan Gebbia, a redshirt-freshman at the time, got the start and looked impressive. 

Though the Beavers lost, Gebbia had 243 yards passing as well as 25 on the ground.

His performance likely meant he was the starter heading into 2020.

Flash forward to fall camp and it still appears that way.

"Starting with Tristan (Gebbia), his understanding is top-notch," said head coach Jonathan Smith. "He thoroughly knows what he’s doing out there, what we're trying to accomplish. He needs to be a little more accurate... Which comes with, you know, he's got a few fresh faces he's throwing to and some of the timing it takes a while to get that sorted out."

Gebbia may be the likely starter, however, there may be some competition.

Redshirt-sophomore Chance Nolan, freshman Ben Gulbranson, and redshirt junior Nick Moore have all had their moments in camp.

Of all the quarterbacks on the roster, the one most likely to really push Gebbia is Nick Moore. 

Moore redshirted during his freshman year at Eastern Washington in 2017, had to sit out 2018 after transferring to Oregon State, and he did not see the field last season. That is three full seasons at the college level just learning the game and perfecting his skillset. The brother of former Beavers quarterback Matt Moore, Nick could make some noise.

 

"Nick (Moore) has moved the ball pretty well when we’ve done team periods," said Coach Smith. "Because of some of his athleticism, his ability to scramble, he needs to be able to consistency play in the pocket." 

If Moore doesn't beat out Gebbia, the Beavers will still be well-positioned with him as a backup. If the last few seasons have proved anything in Corvallis, it's that depth at quarterback is essential. You never know when you have to change signal-callers. 

Chance Nolan has been solid, but Coach Smith says, "He needs to get more comfortable and understand the offense better. In fairness to him, he had limited spring ball and now he's just getting into his second week of training camp."

Lastly, we get to freshman Ben Gulbranson. It's unlikely Gulbranson sees the field at all this season, but this skillset is something Beavers fans will love. 

He is the biggest quarterback on the roster, measuring in at 6'3", 209 pounds, and has a rocket for an arm.

The three-star recruit out of Newbury Park High School in Newbury Park, California passed for 2,814 yards and 29 touchdowns, and also rushed 75 times for 248 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games his senior season. 

Even in limited time in Corvallis, he has put his talent on display. 

Ben (Gulbranson) has got a good, strong arm.  He’s a good learner, he’s understanding things ok.

Coach Smith on QB Ben Gulbranson

While the physical talents are there, the jump from high school to college is taking time for Gulbranson mentally. Said Smith, "the speed of play is catching him at times. I mean, this is not high school football anymore."

It seems like each quarterback brings a little something different to the table, making the decision a little bit harder for Coach Smith. 

Still, it appears the starting job is Gebbia's to lose. 

When the Beavers take the field on November 7th against Washington State, Gebbia will likely be under center and with the battle going on at camp, he will have definitely earned that spot.