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Giger: BTN’s not-so-glowing review of Clifford only adds fuel for those who doubt him

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Sean Clifford

The BTN crew visited Penn State recently to watch practice and gave some positive analysis about the running backs, secondary and other aspects of the team.

Still, we all know the truth about this year’s Nittany Lion squad: The team will only go as far as Sean Clifford can take it.

We have detailed extensively how Clifford has been an average college quarterback and wondered flat out if he’s good enough to lead PSU to the program’s lofty goals.

Now comes some analysis by the BTN folks that, let’s face it, doesn’t sound all that encouraging about the third-year starting quarterback.

Let’s say that again: This is a third-year starting quarterback.

A veteran.

Someone who, quite frankly, you’d wish there weren’t so many concerns about with the season now only three weeks away.

Here’s the video if you want to watch for yourself.

The stuff about Clifford comes near the end from analyst Joshua Perry, a former Ohio State and NFL linebacker. Here’s what Perry had to say:

“The quarterback is a position I think still has to make improvements. And there’s plenty of time. Still a lot of time in training camp.

“The starting quarterback as a returning player definitely could be a little bit more than what we’re seeing right now,” Perry added. “It just could have been the one day in camp — we don’t know that. But we could get a little bit more out of him.”

Perry then posted this on Twitter:

Now look, it’s not like Perry was ripping Clifford. Perry was very measured in his comments and pointed out on TV and on Twitter that there’s still time for the QB to improve before the season.

Perry also added that Clifford didn’t look game ready “as of this moment.” Again, it’s still three weeks until game day, so the hope would be Clifford can be game ready on Sept. 4 at Wisconsin.

The problem with all of this, however, is the obvious fact that Clifford already has played a lot of football, and so therefore ANY concerns about how he looks or if he’s game ready automatically come with a red flag. Especially since, as we mentioned before, he’s been pretty average throughout his career anyway and had to be benched for a game last season.

Sure, Clifford is working with a new offensive coordinator in Mike Yurcich, so there are new things to learn in the system. And of course, Clifford has had a revolving door of coordinators during his time at PSU.

But, as Greg Pickel from BlueWhite Illustrated points out below, Clifford hasn’t had to reinvent the wheel offensively in these systems.

How confident are you in Clifford?

How confident can any of us be in him at this stage, given his past and these comments from BTN?

The bottom line is, it sure would have been a heck of a lot better if the analysis from the BTN crew would have been something like, “Sean Clifford really looks like he’s improved as a quarterback and has good command of this Mike Yurcich system.”

Instead, what we got was that he’s not yet game ready and still needs to make improvements. Which, honestly, only provides more fodder for the crowd of folks out there who have doubted him all along.

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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.

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