Despite a short week to prepare for a game on the East Coast, Austin Allen saved some mental space Monday to wonder what it will be like seeing one of his best friends in an opposing football uniform.
Noah Vedral is now Rutgers’ starting quarterback after he spent two seasons in Lincoln as a backup. Allen (Aurora) was on the same AAU basketball teams as Vedral (Wahoo Neumann) when they were in high school, and they still talk regularly about football and life.
“He’s been doing great things at Rutgers,” Allen said. “He’s been balling out and that’s good for him because he’s an athlete. I think he deserved, in a lot of ways, to be an athlete somewhere. We had three great quarterbacks here competing for the job. Noah went on to Rutgers and he’s doing great things for them, so it’s good to see.”
Not everyone who spoke with reporters Monday was so relaxed about the reunion, which the Big Ten announced Sunday afternoon. Scott Frost said the coaching staff has discussed changing how they communicate the offense, considering Vedral helped do so for two years at Nebraska and also at UCF as the backup in 2017. Frost recruited him to Orlando out of high school.
The Huskers will “try to protect ourselves” with how they send in plays, Frost said. What he’s seen from his former No. 2 quarterback this year has been in line with his previous performances.
“Looks like the player that we thought he was when we recruited him and he was when he was here,” Frost said.
Vedral has completed 136 of 221 attempts (61.54%) for 1,253 yards and nine touchdowns against eight interceptions in seven games this season. He’s also run 68 times for 193 yards and a score.
But Vedral isn’t guaranteed to start Friday’s game in New Jersey. Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano said Monday it will be a “late-in-the-week or a game-time decision” after Vedral suffered a left ankle injury last week against Maryland.
“We’re going to have to wait and see,” Schiano said. “(He) is working his tail off with treatment and everything else.”
Nebraska also faced a former quarterback in 2018 when the Huskers beat AJ Bush and Illinois in Lincoln.
Vedral’s Husker history is even deeper. He started games in 2019 against Minnesota and Indiana, and even made an appearance with the shorthanded NU men’s basketball team as a point guard in the Big Ten tournament last March.
Sophomore outside linebacker Garrett Nelson said it will be “a little trippy” facing Vedral, but also just like a 2019 practice.
“It’s going to be fun to poke fun at him once in a while if he does play and we can hit him or get him on the ground or get a sack or something,” Nelson said. “It’s competition, so you’ll want to knock his helmet off during the game. But after the game, it’s all love. We love him to death. I’m glad he’s doing well.”