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Smeltzer: QB1 or not, can’t Fans Just Enjoy Allar?

Photo from Drew Allar Twitter

I’m not going to go into much detail about why I think Sean Clifford, not Drew Allar should be Penn State’s starting quarterback.

Clifford is the most experienced quarterback on the roster and has proven that he can win with the right talent around him. To quote the great Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

No, this column will be about what Allar has already done and how some Penn State fans unknowingly aren’t enjoying his freshman season the way they should be.

It’s not that fans don’t appreciate Allar’s immense talent. Oh, they do. Big time. And they should appreciate it because Allar’s potential is through the roof.

The problem is that Nittany Nation is thinking too much about what Allar could be, and by doing that, they aren’t appreciating what he brings to the team right now.

In short, people want the five-star freshman from Medina, Ohio, to start right this second.

Like all fanbases, Penn State fans don’t unanimously agree on every topic surrounding the team. But one issue they agree on is that the 2021 season went to hell when Clifford got hurt in the second quarter against Iowa.

Penn State was 5-0 before Clifford got hurt and finished 7-6. Sure, plenty of factors led to Penn State losing six of its last eight games. Still, things could have been a lot different had Clifford finished the Iowa game without any problems.

Or, if Penn State had a competent QB2.

The name Ta’Quan Roberson will always make Penn State fans cuss.

When Clifford went down against Iowa, Penn State led, 17-3.

It ended up losing, 23-20, mainly because Roberson wasn’t capable. His stats (7-21, 34 yards, two interceptions) were terrible, and Roberson looked even worse than the stats.

Roberson didn’t look like he knew what he was doing, and Penn State’s season started to go south because of it.

Drew Allar isn’t Ta’Quan Roberson.

Allar already proved that he could come into a big game off the bench.

When Clifford had to briefly leave Penn State’s season opener at Purdue with cramps, Allar came in.

He could have looked incompetent and scared,  but he didn’t.

Instead, Allar looked calm and cool.

Although his stats (2-for-4, 26 yards) weren’t spectacular and he didn’t lead Penn State on a scoring drive, Allar looked like he knew what he was doing.

In the unfortunate event that Clifford gets hurt, Penn State has somebody who can step up.

That’s a beautiful thing for this team.

But instead of just being happy about that, Penn State fans choose to complain.

It feels like whenever Allar shows off his talent, Penn State fans aren’t satisfied and won’t be until he does it as the team’s starting QB.

When Allar threw his first touchdown pass this past Saturday— a beautiful 32-yarder to another true freshman, Omari Evans— it should have been nothing but exciting for this fanbase.

For some, it was. But for others, the first thing that came to mind when Allar completed the pass was, “why isn’t this kid the starter?” or something along those lines.

And I get it. I do. Penn State fans are tired of the same old, same old, and for better or worse, that’s what Clifford gives them. Although I don’t agree that Clifford can’t get better in Year 6, Clifford’s quarterbacking style doesn’t excite this fanbase the way Allar’s does. I understand wanting something different, especially when that something is the No. 1 QB signee from last year’s class.

I also understand that it’s possible to be happy with Allar’s play as Penn State’s backup while wanting him to be Penn State’s starter.

But my suggestion to Penn State fans is to just enjoy Allar for what he is instead of stewing over what he isn’t.

Even though Allar isn’t Penn State’s starter, he’s already exceeded expectations.

Before the season, Allar wasn’t even supposed to be Penn State’s backup. Many thought Christian Veilleux would have that title in Week 1. Instead, Allar leapfrogged the older Veilleux on the depth chart.

Allar wasn’t supposed to make his college debut against Purdue and wasn’t supposed to look as comfortable as he did when that happened. He overachieved there, too.

Although Ohio probably isn’t a good football team, one could argue that Allar’s performance (6-for-8 for 88 yards and two touchdowns) was better than expected.

Even going back to high school, Allar has been an overachiever. At the end of his junior season, Allar was a three-star recruit.

By the end of his senior year, he was the No. 1 high school QB in the country from his class.

Allar will be Penn State’s starting quarterback one day, and I believe he’s going to do great things when that day comes.

Even though that day isn’t here yet, Allar’s freshman season has already been a fun ride through two weeks. So just enjoy it.

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