Make no doubt about it, Penn State’s starting quarterback is Sean Clifford. He will be the one who is leading the way against Utah, but he’s not the only one currently getting snaps ahead of the Rose Bowl.
That other guy, the heir apparent, Drew Allar. It’s also nothing new and has been done throughout the season. The extra practices though, do make it easier to maximize Allar’s development.
“It’s a great opportunity for the young guys to get more reps, but as we get closer and closer to really trying to get the Utah game plan going, it’s going to be a lot like was in the middle of the season and throughout the season,” offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said.
For Penn State, it’s still Clifford’s team and while the promise of Allar is enticing, there’s still work to be done this year.
“Sean will get the majority of the reps with the ones,” Yurcich said. “There’ll be some opportunity for Drew to get some reps with the ones as well, but we’ve got to get Sean ready to go.
Usually, the starter gets a lot of reps throughout the season and in games, but fortunately for the Nittany Lions, they’ve been able to get Allar in earlier than most teams would be willing to put their backup and it’s paid big dividends.
“The process goes that you want to win the football game,” Yurcich said. “We felt throughout the season that, when we felt putting them in the game, the earlier the better at times. … We felt pretty confident putting him in when we did to secure the game, but also to give him reps that matter.”
As for Clifford, the Rose Bowl will close this chapter of his collegiate career. What’s next is to be determined, but Yurcich beleives his football future’s still very bright.
“I think he’s one of those guys that’s going to continue to work hard and be very dependable for whatever organization picks him up or drafts him,” Yurcich said.
The skills Clifford has demonstrated throughout his time in Happy Valley will suit him well no matter where he ends up both as a leader and as a quarterback.
“He’s very accurate with the football, and he’s going to continue to learn. One thing’s for sure, he’s going to compete his butt off.”