Any author trying to get a head begin on subsequent yr’s “Coach on the most well liked seat” countdown would possibly need to control James Franklin. Though the 10-year contract extension Penn State gave him in 2021 is probably going sufficient to make sure his seat stays lukewarm, it was unimaginable to observe the season-opener towards Purdue and really feel nice about this group.
Quarterback Sean Clifford displayed his ordinary gutsy model of soccer, which is code for enjoying simply dangerous sufficient to maintain the opponent within the sport. Main 28-24 halfway by the fourth, Clifford missed/airmailed a crossing route that was picked and returned 72 yards by Boilermaker Chris Jefferson.
Hey, Chris, how was that kind of 100-yard dash within the fourth quarter of Week 1?
Football shenanigans aside, Clifford did lead the Nittany Lions back down the field, connecting on a go-ahead touchdown with 57 seconds remaining. Despite being out-gained by Purdue and clock management that had CFB Twitter begging for a Scott Frost-Franklin head scratch-fest, the team is heading back to Happy Valley with a W after the defense was able to get a stop.
Anyone who has watched Jeff Brohm’s offense at Purdue knows it can put up yards and points in a hurry, but giving up 356 yards in the air isn’t what this secondary is meant to be doing. Discarded Miami coach Manny Diaz is now coordinating the protection after the U’s unit regressed each season beneath his watch.
Whereas Franklin has gone to, and gained, New 12 months’s Day bowl video games, a fanbase like Penn State’s is a what have you ever completed for me recently bunch, and recently, it’s been an excessive amount of Clifford.
By all accounts, Franklin is a standup man, and a ok coach to get talked about for larger sufficient jobs however not really ok to land one. The college hurried as much as signal him as a result of USC was “lurking,” which they by no means had been, and now there’s a hefty buyout for him.
The problem with this period of Penn State soccer has by no means been an absence of expertise — Saquon Barkley, Micah Parsons, and Miles Sanders are amongst just a few gifted gamers to come back out of that college. The group has by no means fairly been in a position to maximize the quarterback place. (Keep in mind Christian Hackenberg? [Editor’s note: He couldn’t Hack it in the NFL…I’ll see my way out]. I cherished Hint McSorely, too, however the Lions’ factors per sport common has completed as many seasons ninetieth or worst because it has within the prime 25, with a thirty second and 54th rating to spherical out Franklin’s eight seasons.
I don’t know a lot about this Drew Allar man aside from the five-stars in his recruiting profile, however even I do know sufficient about Clifford to suppose he shouldn’t be beginning. A results of the pandemic has been these tremendous tremendous seniors, and some guys have benefitted from an additional yr of eligibility. That stated, there are just a few who haven’t and are both on completely different rosters, or plaguing the desires of their faculty’s supporters.
NFL organizations barely give quarterbacks they drafted 4 years’ value of begins earlier than they’re prepared to select one other one. Franklin’s loyalty to Clifford is laudable albeit just a little misguided. I perceive it. Going up towards a convention opponent within the first sport of the season makes debuting a real freshman a dangerous endeavor.
Week 2 versus Ohio is a greater time to see what the Allar has as a result of a visit to Auburn awaits in Week 3. The Nittany Lions weren’t ranked within the High 25 earlier than the season for the primary yr since 2016, and after 4-5 and 7-6 showings, it was warranted. It’s additionally in all probability why Franklin and Co. had been touted as underrated within the lead-up to 2022.
Everybody is aware of they’ve expertise, and the Large Ten schedule falls of their favor, with each robust sport — save for Michigan — at Beaver Stadium. Extension be damned, there’s no excuse for this group to be anyplace close to .500, and but that’s the sort of soccer it performed Thursday.