April 17, 2024

Big Ten Media Days: James Franklin seeks quick answer to Penn State QB battle with Drew Allar, Beau Pribula

With all eyes on Drew Allar to be Penn State’s starting quarterback, coach James Franklin made sure to mention Beau Pribula as the position battle moves on into preseason camp. With a successor to Sean Clifford yet to be named, Franklin maintained things were  “competition phase” with the 2023 season just a month away. 

“A lot of people are talking about Drew and what he brings to the table,” Franklin said at Big Ten Media Days. “He was able to get a ton of experience for us last year. I think he played in 10 games, so I understand why the excitement is there. (He’s) 6-foot-5, 242 pounds and can make all the throws, but Beau Pribula is a guy that everyone in our program has a ton of respect for. That’s going to be an interesting competition throughout the entire camp.”

The Nittany Lions saw flashes of Allar’s blue-chip talent last season as Clifford’s backup. Appearing in 10 games, the former top-ranked quarterback recruit in 2022 threw for 344 yards with four touchdowns to zero interceptions. 

Pribula, another 2022 signee, was the No. 27 overall quarterback and didn’t appear in a game last season. Though he likely heads into the season as the backup to Allar, Franklin emphasized the need for a quick decision once preseason camp begins. 

“Obviously the sooner, the better, but we’re not going to rush any of these decisions at any of these positions,” Franklin said. “We grade everything in every practice. So all the data will be there. Obviously, you’re going to trust your gut and your instincts on those things as well, but you have the data to back it up. I think at any of these positions, the sooner, the better. 

“It’s probably magnified at the quarterback position because you don’t rotate and play the same type of way that you do at some other positions.” he continued. “It will be watching how they move the offense, the confidence that their teammates have in them and the data and analytics that go into it as well to make sure that what your gut is telling you aligns with what the numbers say.”

Whoever replaces Clifford will have big shoes to fill. Clifford is the program’s all-time leader in completion percentage (61.4%), completions (833), passing yards (10,661), total yards (11,734), passing touchdowns (86) and pass attempts (1,356).

Penn State is coming off an 11-2 season, which was highlighted by a 35-21 win against Utah in the Rose Bowl. The win over the two-time defending Pac-12 champs marked the program’s first victory in Pasadena since 1995. The Nittany Lions head into the season as a likely preseason top-10 team and open the 2023 campaign against West Virginia on Sept. 2.

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