Player Spotlight: Sean Clifford
Now a second year starting quarterback, more pressure will be on Sean Clifford than ever before. Coming off a solid season of throwing for 2,654 yards and 23 touchdowns, Clifford will start out the new season without his number one target from a year ago.
Top reciever KJ Hamler who had over 900 receiving yards for the Nittany Lions last year is now in the NFL. With Hamler gone, freshman Parker Washington will have some big shoes to fill this year, but his new quarterback has high praise for the young receiver.
“Parker was a guy who jumped out early to me, honestly from his high school film,” Clifford said. “The minute he stepped on campus, he got in contact with me and the older guys and has been very receptive of what we’ve been saying, taking a bunch of criticism, taking notes constantly, asking questions, and everything you want in a young receiver.”
Along with the new receiver, Clifford will also have a new offensive coordinator with Kirk Ciarocca coming over from rival Minnesota. Even with how strange this offseason has been, Clifford hasn’t seen any problems adjusting to the new system.
“I was a little bit nervous to see how it would go, but this fall camp… I feel extremely confident,” Clifford said. “I think a lot of the guys on the offense would agree with me, but we’re still taking it one day at a time because we know there’s still meat on the bone, inches to be grabbed today, tomorrow, Friday and all those days before the game.”
To start out the 2020 season, Clifford and the Nittany Lions will take on the Indiana Hoosiers. Penn State beat Indiana 34-27 last year, though Clifford struggled in the game through the air with just 179 yards, completing less than half his passes.
With a majority of the Indiana defense coming back for this season, Clifford had high praise for the Hoosiers defense.
“They have guys across the field that can just make plays and wreak havoc,” Clifford said. “They’ve got game changers. We’ve prepared for them, we’ve watched a lot of tape. We had that extra week last week and some bonus days just to prepare for them.”
Clifford will also be without his top running back and good friend Journey Brown for both this game and possibly the season due to a medical condition.
With Brown out, the role of starting running back will most likely go to Noah Cain with Devyn Ford backing him up. Clifford showed his trust in the two, as they look to replace Brown’s production.
“Both Devyn and Noah showed a lot of promise last year,” Clifford said. “I know people were very excited about them as they were with Journey. I have a lot of confidence in not only their running ability but their route running. Both of them have made significant strides in that area. They’ve both taken a big step in pass protection as well, and that’s something that I can appreciate.”
Clifford and the Nittany Lions will look to start the season off right with a win against Indiana on Saturday.
Logan Bourandas is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Third-Year / Broadcast Journalism