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James Franklin previews plan for quarterbacks in Penn State spring practices

James Franklin previews plan for quarterbacks in Penn State spring practices

For the first time in a number of years, Penn Stae opened its spring football practice schedule with a bit of a competition at quarterback. The expectation is that sophomore Drew Allar will be the team’s starting quarterback, the successor to Sean Clifford, this fall, but head coach James Franklin isn’t at the point where he is designating that starting job for Allar just yet. Instead, Franklin will make sure the quarterbacks get an even number of reps, or close to it, as the spring practices open.

“Well, this spring is just to get those guys as many reps as we possibly can to be able to evaluate them, to create a competition, and to also create depth,” Franklin said in a press conference on Tuesday as Penn State opened its spring football practice schedule. “I do think, if you look at last year, we had a very specific plan to get Drew as many reps as we possibly could to build that depth and to build that experience, so if we needed him, he was ready, but also to help us this year moving forward.”

Allar appeared in 10 games for the Nittany Lions last season, each time in relief of Sean Clifford and generally in games when the outcome was all but official one way or the other (mostly in Penn State’s favor). Allar, the top quarterback from Ohio in the Class of 2022, passed for 344 yards and four touchdowns. Allar was used as the primary backup ahead of Christian Veilleux, who has since moved on to Pitt by way of the transfer portal.

Penn State’s plan iht the quarterbacks this spring will allow Beau Pribula and transfer addition Jaxon Smolik to get some reps with the offense, which is also working on cementing its situation at wide receiver. Allar may be the top option and few expect him to be knocked off the top of the depth chart, but Franklin will encourage competition at quarterback this spring before anointing Allar the one to run the offense.

“This year’s a little bit different because we’re back to kind of having a true competition again,” Franklin explained. “Beau has got some athletic traits that are desirable and maybe make sense for us to use if they give us the best chance to win.”

But as Franklin continued with his thoughts on the quarterback plan this spring, it did seem as though he left the door open to get Pribula a few more reps later in the spring that suggests there may be a few specific ways Pribula could be used on offense.

“There could be some situations where Beau actually gets more reps by the end of spring because I think there’s some things that we may want to do with Beau to take advantage of his skill set and maybe create an opportunity for him to get some more experience, not only during spring ball, but in games next year as well,” Franklin said. “So we’ll see how that all plays out.”

The spring is clearly a good time to experiment a bit with the talent you have in place, especially if the starting job is actually known behind closed doors. Fans may get a glimpse of the quarterback plan in the annual Blue-White Game on Saturday, April 15.

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Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire