When speaking in regards to the 2022 Penn State soccer crew, you’ll be hard-pressed to discover a extra controversial subject than the quarterback place.
Whereas internally there’s by no means been a lot of a query about Sean Clifford’s beginning standing, there’s been unrelenting requires freshman phenom Drew Allar to unseat Clifford because the crew’s signal-caller. Regardless of the fixed exterior debate pitting Allar and Clifford up in opposition to one another, the fact of the scenario couldn’t be any extra completely different.
As one would anticipate, Allar was mobbed with questions at his first-ever media availability on Saturday outdoors of Rose Bowl Stadium. The true freshman had countless reward for Clifford and all he’s accomplished for him, saying he “couldn’t have requested for a greater mentor” than Clifford.
“I can’t say sufficient issues that Sean has accomplished for me and all the opposite quarterbacks on this class and within the room nonetheless,” Allar stated. “Simply from the standpoint of methods to put together as a starter and the do’s and don’ts — simply getting the ins and outs, what he skilled and what he would do completely different, what he wouldn’t do in another way. I feel that actually benefitted all people within the room, and we had been all in a position to develop and be taught from that.”
Allar declined to look previous the Rose Bowl and into his future, as an alternative providing up his help for Clifford as he ends his collegiate profession. He stated he’s excited for Clifford, who Allar credited with displaying him methods to be a beginning quarterback.
Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich known as this yr’s quarterback room, which additionally options true freshman Beau Pribula, among the best he’s ever had. Yurcich thinks the mutual respect all of them have for one another helped strengthen their bond and block out the surface noise, additionally stating that Clifford has helped the opposite quarterbacks in “each approach.”
“They’re a really mature group that understands what it’s all about,” Yurcich stated. “They respect Sean very a lot. And Sean has performed at a really excessive degree this yr, so there actually hasn’t been any points in any respect with that.”
On the subject of Allar, he’s been placed on an nearly unfair pedestal, which might be overwhelming for such a younger participant. Clifford’s presence because the veteran within the room has helped Allar navigate by his whirlwind first season as a Nittany Lion.
Allar stated one of the best recommendation Clifford has given him is to remain emotionally regular.
“Simply because whenever you get too excessive, you possibly can sink actually quick and whenever you get too low, you’ll simply begin doubting your self,” Allar stated. “We’re all right here for a motive, so there’s by no means a motive that we must be doubting ourselves.”
All indicators level towards Allar following by with that recommendation early on in his profession. His head coach, James Franklin, known as him a “neat younger man” and stated he’s dealt with every thing the correct approach, starting along with his recruiting course of.
The Medina, Ohio, native appeared in 9 video games this season and accomplished 35-of-59 passes for 344 yards and 4 touchdowns, typically coming into the sport in reduction of Clifford with the Nittany Lions holding a snug lead. The younger gunslinger defined that getting expertise this early on in his profession was useful for his growth.
“The extra expertise you achieve in something, you’re going to get higher at it and simply being extra in tune with what’s occurring,” Allar stated. “So, I feel it was an awesome first step, and I’m glad I used to be simply in a position to get that point in there.”
Franklin noticed worth within the “superb scenario” of Allar sitting behind Clifford this yr, even making an analogy to Aaron Rodgers sitting behind Brett Favre in Inexperienced Bay after he was drafted.
“I used to be with the Inexperienced Bay Packers once we had Brett Favre and we drafted Aaron Rodgers,” Franklin stated. “I feel there’s a ton of worth in what Aaron was in a position to do and having the ability to sit behind Brett for a number of years and be taught from that. And when he was in a position to take over, he was prepared… That form of impacted me.”
Sitting behind Clifford has allowed Allar to be taught from afar, bettering his data of protections and seeing completely different defenses all through the season. The younger signal-caller stated the sport has slowed down for him over time since spring ball.
Group captain Ji’Ayir Brown has seen Allar’s work ethic in full impact, saying he typically sees Allar within the constructing early watching movie.
“I are available in daily within the constructing early and I see Drew watching movie with Sean, or he’s watching movie with the quarterback coach,” Brown stated. “He’s simply making an attempt to be taught a lot earlier than it’s his time to step into that function.”
Moreover, Brown stated he’s round each Allar and Pribula on a regular basis and offers them recommendation on methods to deal with faculty, the followers, and methods to be a frontrunner. He believes the 2 quarterbacks are destined to be nice as a result of they’re prepared to be taught and pay attention, which is one thing he stated you possibly can’t coach.
Pribula, who is usually the forgotten man within the room, has embraced the “iron sharpens iron” mentality, stating that the competitors within the room has made everybody higher. Particularly, he shouted out Clifford for taking him beneath his wing and displaying him the ropes this season.
Clifford, who has typically been known as the previous man within the room, has selflessly guided Allar and Pribula by their first collegiate seasons, regardless of the requires the 2 to unseat him. A part of Clifford’s parting recommendation to them is to remain true to who they’re, be pleased with who they’re, and make performs whereas balancing all of the highs and lows that include being a quarterback at Penn State.
The sixth-year quarterback stated that each Allar and Pribula are going to do nice issues at Penn State, however in the long run, it’ll be about how the 2 bounce again when issues aren’t going their approach.
“There are going to be some instances that aren’t going to be your shining hours as a result of that day you wakened and your proper hip is simply killing you for some motive,” he continued. “You bought to exit and nonetheless apply and also you don’t have a very good apply. It’s the way you reply in these moments.”