During Penn State head coach James Franklin’s Tuesday press conference to kick-off winter workouts, he talked about the leadership at quarterback with the youth at the position. The Nittany Lions currently do not have a quarterback on its roster that has started a game at the college level. Drew Allar appeared in ten games last season going 35 for 60 for 344 yards with five touchdowns as the only scholarship quarterback to see game action last season. Beau Pribula did not see the playing field and took a redshirt and Jaxon Smolik only enrolled in the program last month. Although fans and media would want to start the hype train, Franklin wants to start fresh with a clean slate at the quarterback position.
“Yeah, I think obviously across the board, we would say that there is a clean slate to a degree; that there’s going to be competition kind of across the board at all these positions, but as you know we are going to have to put somebody out there first based on how the season ended and Drew’s [Allar] role last year, then that would be him.”
Although Allar is expected to take the leadership role in the offense, Franklin also wants Pribula to take on a role as well, as he is now the number two quarterback going into the winter workouts. Pribula is starting to embrace the role as he was the quarterback of the day recently in a recent winter workout, and he is not ready to automatically concede the starting quarterback spot to Allar.
Franklin also praised departed quarterback Sean Clifford for the young quarterbacks’ development.
“But we are going to need both of those guys specifically, [Beau] Pribula and Allar, too early to speak on [Jaxon] Smolik, but we are going to need both of those guys not only competing but taking on a significant leadership role. Again, no one cares that they are young. They are in that position, and a big part of that position is leadership. I thought Sean [Clifford] did a great job with that.”
Although Franklin and the coaching staff are excited about the development of the young quarterback, he doesn’t want to rush the quarterback into the leadership role and let Allar and Pribula grow into the role naturally through workouts and practices.
“For us, I don’t want them to go from zero to a hundred,” Franklin said. “Just kind of start to work into that role and take responsibility and have a plan and be intentional, like everything else we do, but I think Drew and Beau are ready for that.”
The next game action for Allar and Pribula will be at the Blue and White Game on April 15.