Nate's turn

Journey man quarterback finally gets the chance to prove he has what it takes at the Division one level

The wait is finally over for Nate Hybl.

It's been a wait that almost ended two falls ago while at the University of Georgia.

Hybl was slated to be the Bulldogs' starting quarterback heading into the 1998 season when out-of-nowhere came the announcement that the 1996 USA Today Georgia High School Player of the Year and Parade All-American Quincy Carter was giving up his professional baseball career and enrolling at Georgia.

Carter, who was a second round pick of the Chicago Cubs in 1996 major league baseball draft, impressed Georgia coach Jim Donnan upon his arrival and was almost immediately anointed as the Bulldogs starting quarterback from the day he arrived on campus for the next four years.

At that point, Hybl knew if we was to ever live become a starting quarterback, he'd have to look elsewhere.

Hybl says that he has no hard feeling directed toward Carter, and that the two were pretty good friends while at UGA.

"I have a lot of respect for Quincy," said Hybl on the former Georgia quarterback who is now expected to start for the Dallas Cowboys during his rookie season in NFL.

"I think he's a great quarterback. I think he's going to do a great job with the Dallas Cowboys. I've seen him up close. He's big, strong, fast and very mature." After considering several schools, Hybl was enticed to transfer to Oklahoma in the spring of 1999 after visiting Norman during the Sooners annual Red/White game. Former Offensive Coordinator and current Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach and new Head Coach Bob Stoops convinced Hybl on his visit that Oklahoma was the place for him. Hybl sat out the 1999 season as a transfer and spent the 200 season as Josh Heupel's backup, completing only nine-of-16 passes for 144 yards including two touchdowns a year ago. Now, after one redshirt season at Georgia, and two season at Oklahoma on the sidelines it's finally Hybl's turn to take the reigns and guide a division one team. "It's pretty unbelievable that finally I'm going to get an opportunity to play college football in a key role and not just watching from the sidelines," said the junior quarterback after practice on Wednesday. "I've trained all my life to be a starting quarterback on the division one level. I've always had the confidence I would get that opportunity."

Hybl came out of high school as one of the nations top quarterbacks garnering USA Today All-Honorable mention honors as a senior after throwing for over 3,600 yards and 38 touchdowns during his high school career.

The native of Hazlehurst, Ga. spent last spring as the Sooners' No. 1 quarterback with the first unit and completed 91-of-132 passes (.689) for 762 yards including five touchdown passes against three interceptions in two major spring scrimmages and the Red/White game. "For Nate, hopefully the experience of getting to play some last year will help him. Saturday night will be a big night for Nate. Nate did a great job of preparing all summer," said Oklahoma Co-Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops. "I noticed Nate was always in the office any time I came by and was studying hard in the summer. I think Nate is going to go out and play great." When asked what will be going through his mind when he steps over center on Saturday night for the defending national champions after waiting three years for this moment, Hybl said he hopes to just be cool, calm and collected. "Hopefully, I'll have a great sense of calmness and a focus on carrying out the game plan," said Hybl. "There's a time to be excited and a time to really get focused on the job at hand. Saturday is gong to be huge, and I'm really excited about it," said Hybl. There's an old saying that goes, "Good things happen to people who wait." If that's the case, then the 2001 season should have big things in store for Nate Hybl.

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