Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Opinion

Giger Counters: There’s no decision to be made. Levis has to be the starting QB

Photo by Penn State Athletics

The Sean Clifford era is over. It has to be. That’s a shame for the young man, who is a good leader and a respected member of the team.

But Clifford’s time as the Nittany Lions’ starting quarterback needs to come to an end.

And it will at some point this week, when James Franklin decides to make the final call. We may have to play the silly waiting game all week as Franklin tries to keep Kirk Ferentz and Iowa guessing, but there should be no guess work involved.

Clifford lost the job, and that’s all there is to it.

This quote from Franklin was the most telling after the game Saturday:

“It’s hard to get into a rhythm, hard to get in a groove, it’s hard to call (plays) when you don’t have the confidence you’re not gonna turn the ball over,” Franklin said.

Through 3 1/2 games, Clifford was a turnover machine. He kept throwing costly interceptions that crushed the team, and his fumble that led to a scoop and score Saturday was really, really bad.

All of it reminded us over and over again of this motto within the PSU team:

“The ball is the program.”

When you can’t trust your quarterback with the ball, then that guy can no longer be your quarterback.

Will Levis did enough in his two-plus quarters to warrant starting next week. And at 0-4, there’s really no need sustaining any kind of quarterback controversy.

What would be the point?

Levis needs to have the rest of this season to see what he can do.

Now, can Levis do enough? That’s the big question.

Levis did a solid job Saturday and deserves a lot of credit for his poise under pressure.

But Levis was just 14-of-31 against a bad Nebraska defense, throwing for 219 yards, with 74 of those coming on one busted play to tight end Pat Freiermuth.

Levis also ran well, gaining 61 yards on 18 carries.

While he made some nice throws, he also made some throws that didn’t give his receivers much chance to catch the ball. Franklin pointed that out after the game, when he refused to name a starter for next week.

Become a Nittany Pride member for an ad-free experience throughout the site and even more exclusive in-depth content. You can sign up for $3.99 per month or get a yearly subscription for only $38.00.

“We’re not gonna name a starting quarterback right after a game before discussing it as a staff and evaluating the tape and watching the tape,” Franklin said.

We can feel good about how Levis played simply because he didn’t turn the ball over. And really, that’s what all of this is about right now.

At his best, Will Levis is probably not as good as Sean Clifford at his best.

But at his worst, Levis can’t possibly be any worse than Clifford has been this season. Right?

Clifford’s poor play, poor throws and poor decisions are a huge reason the Lions are 0-4. He has put the team in gigantic holes with early mistakes, and with the defense also playing poorly early, the Lions have been playing catch up the entire season.

Levis has to play Iowa next week. That will not be easy, because Ferentz usually comes up with a good defensive game plan against PSU.

We will find out a lot more about what kind of quarterback Levis is or is not next week.

Can he make the kind of throws it takes to beat a good defense? Can he stay in the pocket and let plays develop, as opposed to taking off and running as his first instinct when pressure comes?

Can Levis stay healthy?

That’s got to be a big concern given the number of hits he will take. He wants to run the ball and is good at it, but he runs in the middle of the field and is frequently getting hit.

Short of Levis getting hurt or too banged up to play, Franklin needs to go ahead and make the call that Levis will be the starter for the rest of the season.

The team doesn’t need some week-to-week QB controversy, and Franklin, as a former quarterback himself, understands that.

The Sean Clifford era is over.

The Will Levis era has begun.

Get Nittany Sports Now in your inbox

Sign-up for email updates and get the whole story first from Cory Giger and the Nittany Sports Now team, delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Written By

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.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Eric Reinke

    November 14, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Wow, it’s really come to this? One of the places you thought this team would be solid was QB with Clifford. Now, a change has to be made. Even with Levis, this team is headed to a historically bad season. We all want 2020 to be over, now one of our escapes from this year, PSU Football, will be a sorrowful reminder.

Sound Off!

Get NSN in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get notifications of new posts by email.

Most Viewed

Seth Lundy exits transfer portal, to stay at PSU: reports
Giger: Transfer portal numbers already staggering, and will grow much bigger in future
Lamar Stevens getting multi-year contract from Cavs: report
Three most important things to know about PSU's final spring practice
WHAT THE!: Franklin, Parsons, Clifford, McSorley have fun with chubby filter pics of themselves
Franklin: PSU will continue to look in transfer portal for QB and 'every position'
Watch: James Franklin spring practice press conference 4-14
Watch: Penn State WR Parker Washington spring practice interview
Recruiting notebook: How quickly will PSU know if June official visits will lead to commits?
'Super bizarre': Alli Campbell explains weird situation at Notre Dame, the lack of communication and why she chose PSU

More from Nittany Sports Now

PSU Football

0 The transfer portal is here to stay. That’s just the way it is, and it is changing college football in many ways. Coaches...

PSU Football

0 James Franklin addressed a number of very interesting topics Wednesday night during his press conference leading up to Saturday’s final spring practice. Franklin...

PSU Football

0 Penn State’s annual Blue-White Game always seems to come down to quarterback watching, and that will be the case once again Saturday, even...

PSU Football

0 There’s a lot of ridiculous stuff on the internet and social media, but hey, let’s be honest, some of the ridiculous stuff is...

%d bloggers like this:

Get Nittany Sports Now in your inbox

Sign-up for email updates and get the whole story first from Cory Giger and the Nittany Sports Now team, delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Send this to a friend