As camp begins, competition at quarterback remains ongoing
It might only be 27 days until Penn State kicks off its season against West Virginia, but James Franklin and the rest of the coaching staff are in no rush to name a starting quarterback.
As much as Nittany Lion fans would love to hear who it will be, it wasn’t announced at Penn State Football’s media day.
Drew Allar and Beau Pribula are in contention to be QB1 as they enter their second year in the program.
“Physically, they’ve both gotten stronger. They both got leaner [and] faster,” Franklin said. “They’ve gotten more confident with their reads, accuracy and decision-making.”
Additionally, freshman Jaxon Smolik has made surprising strides in training camp, according to Franklin, which has elevated the competition in summer practices.
“What’s impressed me about the group is that they are businesslike, but they don’t get caught up in too much consternation,” offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. “We have fun in that room. It’s a joy being around those guys. I mean, I’ve got the best job in the country.”
During practice, Allar hasn’t worried much about the starting role and is focusing on efficiency.
“We talk about iron sharpens iron, so that’s been our mentality,” Allar said. “We just have to keep stacking games and keep putting good tape on film to watch.”
That starting decision will be made once more live scrimmages are incorporated into practices, according to Yurcich, but he admires that “they’re fierce competitors but great teammates.”
Overall, the leadership in the quarterback room has shifted following Sean Clifford’s departure, which has allowed Allar and Pribula to step up.
“One of the things that comes with the quarterback position is that you have to be a leader, and it’s something that’s mandatory for the position,” Pribula said.
The duo are the “older guys” now, and entering Penn State in the same class was something that most schools don’t do, but was something Allar believed was beneficial for their growth:
“We were able to learn from each other,” Allar said. “I think it really just helped us come closer together as a whole.”
Franklin has been impressed with how the pair have established themselves as leaders at the start of training camp, which has also helped the development of Smolik.
Ultimately, Yurcich says Smolik is developing and still learning the meeting room setting.
“When he hits the field, he seems like he sees it very well,” Yucich said. “He’s good with the spatial concepts [and] that’s a great sign.”
Regardless of the starting role on the line, the QB room is tight-knit.
“We have very healthy relationships, and they all make it really easy because they’re great guys,” Pribula said.
Sooner or later, a decision will be made, but Allar understands that “there’s competition at every position.”
“No position is locked down yet until week one, and that’s up to the coaches to decide who’s out on the field the first snap of the season,” Allar said. “Our goal is to keep stacking good days together and doing what we’re supposed to.”
Amanda Vogt is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Contributors
Amanda Vogt is a freshman broadcast journalism major at Penn State University. She has already gotten involved in several Bellisario organizations. She is a reporter for the Daily Collegian on the women’s soccer beat. In CommRadio, Amanda is in the sports department and loves to cover the NFL and talk everything sports! In addition, she is apart of Penn State Sports Night and those segments can be found on its Youtube channel. Amanda is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM).
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