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Questions linger as Penn State football exits fall camp

Questions remain around the 2023 Penn State football team as we get a glimpse inside practice for the first time in almost two weeks tonight.

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Penn State Football, AP Poll, College Football
Penn State football head coach James Franklin blows his whistle at the end of a drill during football practice outside Holuba Hall on Saturday, August 6, 2022, in State College. Hes Dr 080622 Psumedia

Tonight, the media will have the opportunity to view portions of Penn State football practice for the first time since August 14. A lot can happen in a week and a half, and there are still many lingering questions that can impact the 2023 Nittany Lions on the field this fall. From Drew Allar and the Penn State quarterback competition to wide receiver depth and injury updates, here are some of the significant questions we’ll be looking for James Franklin to answer this evening.

Penn State quarterback competition: Will Drew Allar get the nod tonight?

This storyline is number one with a bullet heading into tonight’s practice, and for good reason. Almost everyone has expected Drew Allar to be the starting quarterback for the 2023 season since he arrived on campus last year. But, the official word from Penn State all offseason is that a quarterback competition remains between Allar and Beau Pribula.

However, we got the first change in this line two weeks ago, when James Franklin noted that Allar was receiving “the majority of the reps” with the first team. If history from Franklin’s previous quarterback battles at Penn State holds true, then an announcement, if there is one, should be imminent

While most have written off the announcement as merely a formality at this point, I’m curious to hear how Franklin answers the question tonight. If his answer provides any sort of wiggle room, then the gears could really start turning going into next week.

How have the wide receivers progressed through camp?

On the other side of the passing attack, we need to get a better understanding of who the new Penn State quarterback will be throwing the ball to. While there have been indications that KeAndre Lambert-Smith and Harrison Wallace III could be the first two in the rotation, the last official update we heard from Franklin was that no wide receivers had “separated themselves from the pack.”

While the glimpses we’ve seen from camp point to good chemistry developing between Allar and multiple Penn State wide receivers, the clear delineation of a top rotation is critical moving forward. A key issue in answering this question will be the development of transfer wide receiver Dante Cephas. At media day, Franklin noted that Cephas was still going through “an adjustment period.” I’ll be interested to see how he has progressed in the last few weeks.

How was the depth up front been impacted by recent injuries?

Some of the most significant storylines to emerge from camp thus far have been related to injuries. In particular, the injury bug has struck Penn State football on both lines of scrimmage several times in the last few weeks. Although some, such as the season-ending injury for defensive end Smith Vilbert, have been known internally for a while, others, like the injury to defensive tackle Alonzo Ford, have been more recent.

While we won’t get a lengthy update from James Franklin about injuries, even for players like Vilbert or Ford, who are supposedly done for the year, it’ll be important to see if any new names are added to the list. I also will be interested to hear if there’s an update for offensive lineman Landon Tengwall, who, at last update, was dealing with several “bumps and bruises.”



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A third-generation Penn Stater, Matt is Editor-in-Chief for Basic Blues Nation, co-host of the podcast PSU Tailgate Talk, and a credentialed member of the Penn State football media. Matt also works as a staffer in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Matt lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife and a small army of pets.

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