Penn State football won its first four games by an average of nearly 32 points.
That type of dominance creates plenty of opportunity for a backup quarterback. So far, Beau Pribula is taking advantage.
The second-year in-state product from York has played in all four games. He’s been used primarily as a runner.
He’s run the ball 28 times. He’s thrown it 12. In running, he’s picking up 166 yards and two touchdowns. Saturday’s 31-0 massacre of Iowa was Pribula’s best running performance yet. He gained 55 yards on eight carries. That’s good for a 6.9 yards per carry average.
Coach James Franklin’s talked multiple times about wanting Pribula to get more involved in the offense. Johnny McGonigal of PennLive asked Franklin about Pribula during Franklin’s weekly Tuesday presser. The coach compared this QB situation to last year’s, when Pribula’s classmate and current starter Drew Allar was the backup.
“We’ve been very intentional,” Franklin said, “very much like we were last year with Drew in making sure we’re going to get Bo these reps.”
Franklin then pointed out that Penn State’s made it a point to make sure Pribula gets a series with the starting offense surrounding him before putting more backups in and said Penn State would like to get Pribula “involved more in a situation where he can actually run our offense.”
“I think, right now, he’s being used primarily as a runner,” Franklin said, “we feel like we can run the whole offense with him, but a lot of that is because of this borderline four-minute offense as well, and it’s something that he also does well. So that allows us to do both. Gain a hat in the run game, four-minute and play to one of his strengths. But I do think it’s important that we continue to grow those other elements. He’s getting it in practice a lot, obviously. I think it’s been really good, but we want to continue to develop that.”
Franklin said there’s “obviously a place for getting him in” during situations. These situations could be ones where Penn State’s in the red zone or on third down.
“We had a play we were going to run (Saturday) and it was during a time out and I kind of vetoed it at the last minute,” Franklin said, “but he has a bigger package than what you’ve seen to this point.”
Franklin’s described Allar as “steady Eddie. He used the exact same term to describe Pribula.
“We’re pleased with him,” Franklin said, “and I know, talking with our defensive coaches and talking to some of our analysts, we feel like he’s a weapon that defensive coordinators and head coaches are spending time on.”
Franklin feels that, eventually, opposing coaches will need to be prepared to deal with Pribula when the outcome’s still in doubt.
“Ok, yeah, he’s just being used right now at the end of the game,” Franklin said, “but you’ve seen enough of him that everybody knows at some point, you’re going to have to be prepared for him during regular time. So I think it’s been good. And he’s been good.