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Franklin won’t name starting QB yet … because he knows there’s no advantage to doing so

Photo by Penn State Athletics

While the Nittany Nation waits to find out for sure if Will Levis will replace Sean Clifford as the starting quarterback, James Franklin shed no light on the situation during his press conference Tuesday.

“We have not made that decision or announced that decision yet,” Franklin said when asked about the QB situation. “Obviously we had some conversations about it this weekend with not only the coaching staff, but also with Sean and with with Will, as well.

“Based on what we’re going to do in practice this week and things like that, we’ll evaluate that as the week goes on based on what we do this week, but also what we’ve done this season and what we’ve done last year.”

Levis replaced the turnover-prone Clifford on Saturday at Nebraska and nearly led the Lions back from a 27-6 deficit before they lost, 30-22.

“Will came in and did some good things and put himself in this position (to challenge for the starting job), and he’s earned it. No different than Sean earned the ability to be our starting quarterback last year, our starting quarterback to start the season.”

Franklin then added something that PSU media and fans know all too well:

“We typically aren’t going to make any announcements publicly, unless it’s obvious for some type of season-ending injury and things like that,” Franklin said. “Some people don’t even do depth charts now, teams who play, don’t even do depth charts at all.”

What Franklin was getting at is simple: There’s no reason for Penn State to show its hand right now by announcing Levis the starter.

No matter how much fans want so badly to hear that news right now after this disastrous 0-4 start and Clifford’s poor play.

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Announcing the starting QB change would only allow the upcoming opponent, in this case Iowa, to have an easier time preparing for the game, and it’s pointless for coaches to give up that type of strategic advantage.

Take last week for example. The Lions didn’t know if Nebraska would start the more experienced Adrian Martinez or freshman Luke McCaffrey at quarterback. PSU linebacker Jesse Luketa said the team had to be prepared for both quarterbacks, but the Lions clearly were not ready for what McCaffrey was able to do early in the game.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has been around forever, so he knows how all this gamesmanship stuff works. Surely he and his staff are aware that Levis is likely to start for Penn State, but they also know they had better be ready for Clifford, too.

So, we’ll all just have to wait — most likely until game time Saturday afternoon — to find out who will be PSU’s quarterback.

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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