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Big Ten defensive coordinator expresses doubt over Penn State QB Drew Allar

Penn State quarterback Drew Allar may have some bulletin board material for this season.

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Penn State Football, Penn State quarterback, Drew Allar, Sean Clifford, Big Ten
Sep 10, 2022; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Drew Allar (15) runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the Ohio Bobcats at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Ohio 46-10. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 2019, Penn State football will break in a new starting quarterback this season. While officially, there’s still a quarterback battle, most expect that former five-star prospect Drew Allar will be the man to replace Sean Clifford under center for the Nittany Lions this fall. Due to the widely held feeling of inevitability around this decision, Allar has been placed under the microscope by fans and media this offseason. And evidently, we aren’t the only ones. In a recently published piece by Adam Rittenberg of ESPN, one anonymous Big Ten defensive coordinator expressed some interesting thoughts over the expected Penn State starting quarterback. 

Anonymous Big Ten defensive coordinator expresses doubt over Penn State quarterback Drew Allar

This weekend, Adam Rittenberg of ESPN published a piece exploring the top quarterbacks in college football ahead of the 2023 season. The article included quotes from anonymous coaches of opposing schools across the Power Five conferences. When discussing Drew Allar, several Big Ten coaches had eyebrow-raising quotes regarding the Penn State quarterback.

“He’s got really good arm talent,” an anonymous Big Ten defensive coordinator told Rittenberg. However, the coach then questioned Allar’s mobility compared to that of his predecessor, Sean Clifford. “I don’t think he’s super athletic. I think he moves decent, where Clifford, at times, we missed three or four sacks on him with his ability to move around.”

The coach ended his comments by noting that, even with the sky-high expectations surrounding Drew Allar, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be a sure thing for Penn State. “There’s always [quarterbacks] who get the hype, and you just don’t know,” he told ESPN. 

On the other hand, one Big Ten assistant coach with ties to recruiting was highly complementary of Allar to ESPN. “He’s got a huge arm, he can rip it, he’s accurate as hell,” the coach told Rittenberg. 

Drew Allar completed 35 of 60 passes for 344 yards and 4 touchdowns last year in relief of Sean Clifford. The former five-star recruit also carried the ball 18 times for 52 yards and a score.

What have others said about the Nittany Lion quarterback?

In an interview over the summer with Blue-White Illustrated, Allar’s personal quarterback coach, Brad Maendler, expressed that the sophomore’s improvisational skills may surprise people this season. “He has that ability to make things happen when nothing should probably happen because the defense won that play,” Maendler said. “He can make plays. He’s special when things aren’t great or when things break down… that’s really where he comes alive.”

Last week, Penn State head coach James Franklin noted that Allar was receiving the “majority” of the starter’s reps at quarterback.

The Nittany Lions will break in a new starting quarterback under the Beaver Stadium lights when Penn State football opens the season with West Virginia on September 2.



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Matt is a Co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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