Penn State coach James Franklin addressed reporters after the team’s practice Wednesday, Aug. 10.
Here are some notes from what the coach had to say.
Franklin has yet to name a starting quarterback for Penn State’s 2023 season opener against West Virginia under the Beaver Stadium lights Sept. 2, and that reveal is probably still weeks off.
Franklin did reveal that Drew Allar— the former five-star who’s the heavy favorite to get the job among the masses– has been getting most of the first-team reps in practice, blended in with classmate Beau Pribula.
“I would say Drew gets predominant…predominately the majority of the reps,” Franklin said. “But I think he (Pribula) is getting a few. But I would say Drew is getting the majority of them.”
That alone makes that position group a dangerous one, but it will be even more dangerous if Class of 2022 five-star Dani Dennis-Sutton has the breakout year that many are expecting.
Franklin said after April’s Blue-White Game that Sutton was “unblockable” in the scrimmage, and he feels the kid from Delaware is continuing to improve.
“Dani, I thought, really from the spring on, really has been doing well,” Franklin said.
“He’s big. He’s strong. He’s physical. He’s determined. (He) had a really good freshman year, and he’s kind of continued to build off of that.”
Another player in Penn State’s DE room is Amin Vanover, who’s entering Year 4. Vanover played in all 13 games last season and often looked solid.
Franklin feels Vaover is turning into a consistently productive player.
“Amin’s a guy that’s always flashed tremendous potential and is doing it on a more consistent basis right now,” he said.”
Penn State’s losing the anchor of its offensive line in center Juice Scruggs, who’s now a Houston Texan.
Losing Scruggs hurts, but the good news for Penn State is that pretty much everybody else is coming back.
Hunter Nourzad, a sixth-year senior who transferred from Cornell ahead of last season, is likely to succeed Scruggs at Center.
The biggest piece that Penn State has returning is Olu Fashanu. The star left tackle would have almost certainly been a first-round pick had he declared for the draft after last season, is back for Year 4. Franklin sees Nourzad and Fashanu as the players that will make Penn State’s line go.
“We really look at (redshirt senior) Hunter (Nourzad) and Olu as kind of like the foundation of the O-line,” he said.
Franklin also said that fifth-years Caedan Wallace and Sal Wormley are “starting to work into” that foundation and is high on Wallace’s upside.
“I think we’ve all seen flashes of Caedan, maybe as good as any tackle in the country,” Franklin said. “He’s just got to do it more consistently.”