STATE COLLEGE, P.A.— Competing is one of the main principles of James Franklin’s Penn State program. It should be no surprise that at many prominent time positions, there’s a healthy dose of competition going on.
The biggest competition going on in spring practice at the moment is at quarterback between Drew Allar and Beau Pribula.
“I think it’s a bit of really good competition. Those guys are battling,” Franklin said following practice Tuesday. “They’re both doing really good things. Sometimes it’s hard to compare and contrast because our defense is really good and talented, so who they’re going against is part of it as well.”.
This, of course, is all coming from a coach who’s plastered “You’re now entering the most competitive environment in college football’ on doors leading into the Lasch Building.” It should be no surprise that their competitive nature isn’t lost on his sophomore signal caller.
“We pride ourselves on being the most competitive environment in college football,” Allar said.
Let’s be honest here for a second; it’s Allar’s job to lose. He was getting reps last year behind only Sean Clifford, not Pribula or Christian Veilleux, who’s now a backup at Pitt.
To Allar’s credit, he’s treating it like a competition, just like Franklin and Pribula, which speaks to the makeup of the 19-year-old Penn State quarterback.
“We’re competing against each other, but we’re not,” Allar said. “We’re doing it in the right way. We’re also helping each other at the same time. And it’s like that across the board at every position. So I think we’re doing a really good job of having that internal competition against each other, but we’re also becoming closer as a team. So it’s been going really well.”
Franklin and Allar mentioned going up against a tough defense daily at practice. Given the defense’s performance at the end of last season, it’s not a shock that much is expected of it in 2023.
Though, for as good as the defense is supposed to be, it has to go up against Allar and Pribula daily, which takes work.
Take it from cornerback Kalen King, who’s gone against the two of them extensively.
“As a defensive back, you can really feel the difference when certain quarterbacks throw balls against you,” King said. “For example, if somebody was to run a fade on me, Drew, for some reason, Drew just always pushes the ball out here on the side of the receiver where it’s hard for the DB to make a play on it.
“Beau is very different from Drew. He reminds me of a workhorse. He’s always like active. He’s a very hard worker. He can run the ball very well. And you know, I think he’s going to make a lot of plays for this football team.”
Both quarterbacks bring different variables to the table. Still, the most important thing is they’re able to push each other to get better, and there’s quality depth which has been proven necessary over the past few seasons at Penn State.
There’s still much to be decided as far as this ‘competition’ goes, but Franklin knows how long it will last, and that’s ‘until it’s obvious and been decided.’
More from practice:
- Franklin on the grind of everyday recruiting: “We’re literally at these practices, and we’ll have anywhere between 80 and 120 prospects of practice, and some of them are guys that are, you know, rising seniors that we’re trying to get to commit. Some are rising juniors that we’ve already offered. But then if you don’t do a good job with those other 60 Guys, there’s going to be five or six guys in there that are going to offer a scholarship, and they’re going to base, you know, their opinion on Penn State about how that experiences so there’s a lot of moving parts. The new schedule, I think, has made it even more challenging because, you know, typically, after the bowl game, we’d get a little bit of time off. We got no time off the day we landed from the ball. We had an official visitor on campus.”
- Franklin on guys like Ta’Mere Robinson and Tony Rojas enrolling early: “Being here now. I think it’s been really valuable. For Ta’Mere, a huge part of it is just the confidence. I mean, I think we all forget he hasn’t played football in a year. I literally was at his first game of the year when he got hurt, didn’t play again, the rest of the year. And so him getting out here and playing, I think, has been really valuable for his confidence, and then Rojas is, I think, gaining more and more confidence every single day. He’s put on 29 pounds since he’s been here, and it’s good weight and all the how that’s necessarily possible, but he’s put on 29 pounds … He’s getting an extra pump in, and he’s playing fast and carrying the weight really well. So there’s a lot of excitement about those two guys.”