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‘He has the Pedigree’: CBS Analyst Gary Danielson Breaks Down Penn State QB Drew Allar’s Keys to Success

Drew Allar
Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar (15) November 12, 2022 David Hague/NSN

Penn State QB Drew Allar will be under the microscope of 107,000 screaming fans on a weekly basis at Beaver Stadium this season. Excitement continues to build for what the sophomore signal caller could bring to Penn State’s offense in his first season as the starting quarterback, assuming he wins the job over classmate Beau Pribula.

CBS Sports lead college football analyst Gary Danielson played QB at Purdue and then played in the NFL for more than a decade before embarking on what’s been a successful broadcasting career.

This season, Danielson’a returning to Big Ten broadcasts after the network and conference agreed to a new media rights deal.

Danielson sees loads of potential in Allar and spoke at length about the Penn State on Day 1 of Big Ten Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. 

“He has the pedigree,” Danielson said. “He actually did well when he had to go in games when it wasn’t mop up time as well. He was put in some really high pressure games and came through.”

Last season, was veteran and now-Packer Sean Clifford’s backup. Danielson mentioned Allar’s ability to stay fresh and always being ready once called upon. In a way, it put heat on Clifford to be better and keep his play at a high level. 

“I’ve been in that position as a backup and been in that position as a starter,” Danielson said. “You can feel that guy breathing behind you, or as a backup you can go, ‘every practice, you’re letting the coaches know I’m better than that guy and any time you want to put me in, I can handle it.’”

Meeting with the media and being a present and proper spokesperson for the program is one responsibility as a star quarterback. Another is sticking up for teammates, no matter what. 

“A lot of it is just being able to handle what I’m doing right here,” Danielson said. “You have to not only play, but you have to do the fifth quarter. You got to answer the questions properly. You have to take the blame even when it isn’t your fault. You have to take the criticism that goes with every loss.

The weight of a power five conference team with lofty expectations and teams like Ohio State and Michigan on the schedule is a daunting task for a first-year starter, regardless of their potential skillset.

“If you can’t handle that outside noise, then it starts to affect your game,” Danielson said. 

Danielson pointed to a situation he saw up close covering the SEC. When Alabama won the National Championship during the 2017 campaign, which concluded in 2018, Jalen Hurts led the Crimson Tide for the majority of the year. 

The now-Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and one of the highest-paid players in the NFL felt the heat provided by backup Tua Tagovailoa and struggled at times to sustain success at the nation’s best program. 

“We all knew he was a really good player,” Danielson said of Hurts. “But he could feel Tua’s greatness. The receivers were all NFL receivers. They wanted the ball. Jalen started to get self conscious and he lost his stroke. Mentally, he just lost it and was really struggling.”

Alabama started Hurts for a long period of time before Tua took over in the national championship and didn’t look back. Hurts transferred to Oklahoma and finished as runner-up to Joe Burrow in the 2019 Heisman voting. Danielson believes Allar needs to experience adversity and learn the college landscape to be better because of it. He didn’t suggest a mirrored situation, but a similar result rooted in poise, success, and leadership.

“Nick (Saban) stuck with as (Hurts) as long as he could and he did not play well in the semifinal game… But Jalen went back to work and learned how to handle what it takes to be a quarterback and that’s what Drew has to go through.”

Danielson and CBS reached a contract extension through 2024 so he can call the first full season of Big Ten games on CBS. He said it’s been over 15 years since he regularly called Big Ten games in his broadcasting career that includes tenures at ESPN and CBS. 

Penn State opens the season hosting West Virginia on NBC, Sept. 2. CBS will broadcast the 2023 White Out at Beaver Stadium when Penn State hosts Iowa in primetime Sept. 23.

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