James Franklin declines to name starting quarterback for Penn State's season opener

Days before Penn State’s season opener against West Virginia, the big question — the one most people know the answer to — has yet to be answered formally.
Despite all signs pointing to Drew Allar leading the Nittany Lions on Saturday night, James Franklin didn’t name a starting quarterback at his Tuesday press conference.
That begs the question: why? Why has Franklin not named Allar the starter?
“We have a pretty good idea of who we’re starting, pretty much everywhere,” Franklin said when asked specifically about the quarterback situation. “Most of the depth chart and the roster is set. But I think more times than not, we try not to put that information out there because I don’t necessarily see the value in that.”
It seems Franklin is doing the same as Neal Brown. The West Virginia coach said he has decided who will start between quarterbacks Garrett Greene and Nicco Marchiol, but he declined to name publicly who that will be.
Franklin said he anticipates it will be Greene running the Mountaineers offense. Brown can anticipate the same with Allar and Penn State.
Franklin has gone the entire offseason avoiding the quarterback question, leaning on what he has labeled a competition between Allar and Beau Pribula to succeed four-year starter Sean Clifford.
Allar, the former five-star prospect who played in 10 games as a freshman, has taken the majority of first-team reps this offseason. That was Allar’s natural progression after beating out Christian Veilleux for the backup job this time last year and seeing Clifford move on.
Allar appeared in all but three games in 2022, completing 35 of 60 passes for 344 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also rushed for 52 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Those reps were invaluable for Allar. By all accounts, he continued that momentum during spring and summer camp.
“This is something that I probably drive everybody crazy about, but we keep a record of everything,” Franklin said. “Every throw, completion percentage, touchdown-to-interception ratio, explosive plays. You have interceptions, which are easy to track. But if there are interception decisions in terms of how he threw the ball and if he was fortunate that the DB dropped it, that was an interception type of throw. We track that, as well. That way we have an understanding of decision-making.
“And (Allar) has been really, really good. His decision-making’s been good. His completion percentage has been good. And the cool thing is, having all data you’re able to go back and compare to historical data. You’re able to compare it to Trace McSorley. You’re able to compare it to Sean Clifford, and so on and so forth. So I think there’s a ton of value in terms of trying to get an idea of how you are in camp.
“But I think Drew’s had, I would say, a good camp — a camp that’s given the coaches and his teammates a bunch of confidence.”
Franklin added that Allar didn’t throw an interception in preseason camp until the 13th or 14th practice.
“He was protecting the ball like crazy. He wasn’t doing anything to damage the offense,” star cornerback Kalen King said Tuesday. “… I’m looking forward to Drew. He’s going to be a good one.”
Franklin also complimented Pribula, the former four-star quarterback from Central York. Franklin called Pribula a “bigger Trace.” His ability to run provides a different look to Allar, who can shrug off sacks but isn’t known as a scrambler. Franklin also praised freshman Jaxon Smolik for his offseason.
“I do think it’s been good competition,” Franklin said. “… We feel like we have three quarterbacks that have shown signs that we can win with.”
Which quarterback that will be Saturday against West Virginia, Franklin isn’t willing to say days before kickoff. But anyone who’s paid attention knows who it is.

Latest Player Notes

How Wisconsin athletes are benefiting from a unique NIL deal with Madison's Exact Sciences

Feb 17, 2024MJ Hammill entered what can be a scary time of an athlete’s life in mid-December.She went into the volleyball ...

Mike Griffith: Texas is Georgia's primary focus this offseason

February 16, 2024The Georgia Bulldogs face three SEC contenders on the road next season in Alabama, Texas and Ole Miss. According ...

Navigating a season that could see Texas play Georgia more than once

February 17, 2024The Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs will play in Austin on Oct. 19. It may not be the only time they ...

After some key departures from the team, Dykes got busy in the portal this offseason.

5:11 PM on Feb 16, 2024Biggest unanswered question: Who will emerge as the clear WR1?Before last season, Williams was the ...

How Louisville football coach Jeff Brohm balances transfer portal, high school recruiting

Louisville Courier JournalCollege football used to buzz on the first Wednesday in February, but Louisville football's office ...

Bob Asmussen | Illinois defense counting on linebackers to plug the gaps

College Football Reporter/ColumnistCHAMPAIGN — A new linebacker coach is in place at Illinois, and Archie McDaniel said he ...

Where Alabama’s quarterback group stands before spring practice

Alabama football’s offense is going to look different this season. Kalen DeBoer has replaced the retired Nick Saban as head ...

Why did AJ McCarron return to the St. Louis Battlehawks?

When AJ McCarron joined the resurrected XFL last year, the former Alabama All-American hadn’t played since suffering a knee ...

Colorado football self-reported 11 minor NCAA violations from Deion Sanders’ first year with Buffs

1/26/2024The Colorado football program has self-reported 11 minor NCAA violations since the hiring of head coach Deion Sanders ...

What Steve Young said about today’s NFL quarterbacks

By Jackson Payne Steve Young may have enjoyed a Hall of Fame career in the NFL, but that doesn’t stop him from feeling just ...
See More Player Notes