With Penn State’s 2022 spring on the books, where do the Lions’ three young quarterbacks stand?
STATE UNIVERSITY – You probably couldn’t tell from Penn State’s Blue-White game, but the 2022 pecking order at quarterback is starting to become clear.
Veteran Sean Clifford is James Franklin’s starter.
If healthy, Clifford will enter his fourth season as the Nittany Lions starting quarterback when the Nittany Lions visit Purdue on Sept. 1.
The blue side, Penn State’s defensive players, squeaked through a white side with all of the offensive players. The final score was 17-13 on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium, and the scoring system used by the Penn State coaches was a bit confusing.
Never mind. The result made no sense. It was about quarterbacks. And the Lions’ front four combined to complete 17 of 38 passes for 184 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. There were no stars.
Still, Franklin said Clifford’s 2022 spring was his best yet.
Franklin said the Lions are saving everything, especially when it comes to quarterback position and the coach noted that Clifford was Penn State’s best quarterback on all key data points – percentage of completion, interception rate, explosive plays and the rest.
The real intrigue begins once you pass Clifford.
Sophomore quarterback Christian Veilleux was also praised by Franklin and he has a slight experience advantage over true freshmen Drew Allar and Beau Pribula.
Veilleux completed 5 of 14 passes for 75 yards and he teamed up with reserve wide Mason Stahl on the day’s long gain, a 36-yard completion.
“Veilleux was able to build on the success he had in the game against Rutgers,” Franklin said, referring to Veilleux’s 235-yard, three-touchdown effort in a relief win over Rutgers last season. of a sick Clifford.
But you can bet the majority of the announced crowd of 62,000, as well as Penn State fans watching on the Big Ten Network, were focused on the performances of Allar and Pribula, the battling January enrollees. for the No. 3 position right now. .
Both youngsters took their pieces, which was to be expected.
Allar, the Ohio five-star, threw for 61 yards (6 of 14) but was also intercepted twice by reserve defensemen Bobby Walchak and Dominic DeLuca. Allar was also credited with two carries for seven yards in a scrimmage where defenders weren’t supposed to hit quarterbacks.
Central York star Pribula was credited with just three attempted passes and two completions. But those numbers may have been wrong because the Lions have two quarterbacks who wear No. 9 – Pribula and Veilleux. Pribula also added six rushing yards on three attempts.
A Saturday afternoon doesn’t define a young quarterback’s spring.
Franklin provided more context regarding the spring workload for his four QBs when he revealed the total number of pass attempts for each over the 15 practices.
Clifford led with 201, followed by Veilleux (183), Allar (134) and Pribula (132).
“Don’t read too much about the two-rep difference (between Allar and Pribula), which I know someone will make a big fuss about,” Franklin warned.
What do we know about Franklin’s quarterbacking history at Penn State? That he prioritizes experience and that Clifford is the uncontrollable leader. Franklin also knows that Veilleux produced the only time he was called in a significant game (Rutgers).
It’s up to Allar and Pribula to get comfortable as soon as possible and then start turning heads in August.
They have already made a good impression on some teammates.
“Obviously coming in during the winter, right after high school, is nerve-wracking,” Penn State tight end Tyler Warren said when asked about freshman QBs.
“It’s going to be a bit slow for everyone. But just seeing them from the first spring training until today when it comes to everything – communicating, making cover changes, adjusting the O line – I think it’s a big difference. I think they will both be very good players in the future.
“I think Drew is going to make some crazy throws,” Lions catcher Malick Meiga said.
“He’s going to roll out, throw it on the pitch and get there.”
“Beau is a physical quarterback,” added Meiga.
“When he directs the ball, he will make you feel it. He is very sporty.
Franklin also praised Clifford for the impact he had on Allar and Pribula during spring drills. He was a positive influence.
“Really good spring, really improved in the running game,” said Clifford.
“But Beau in particular, he did a really good job of making sure he was receptive to what – he’s always in my ear, so that was good.
“It’s just different,” Clifford continued.
“When you play in front of people, are you going to have that advantage or are you going to disappear from the spotlight? I think both (Allar and Pribula) are bred for that. They’re ready for that. train, to continue to help them grow and to do my part in their development.
Spring drills are over for Penn State and its young quarterbacks. But the offseason continues. And the real question for Allar and Pribula is: can they build on their spring experience and fare better when August rolls around?