Note: This is an opinionated article based on Chris Mangum’s observations of today’s Penn State football practice.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Per usual, the Nittany Lions allowed the press to watch a selected portion of their spring ball drills this afternoon. During today’s Penn State football spring practice, the Lions’ running backs stood out to me more than anything. As Drew Allar and Beau Pribula launched passes down the field and Penn State’s revamped offensive line hit the sled to my right, Nick Singleton, Kaytron Allen, and the other running backs caught my eye as they ran through a series of drills.
If Penn State football wants its offense to meet expectations this fall, these running backs will need to carry their weight; if today’s Penn State football spring practice was any indication, there is no need to worry about the ground game. Here are my gut reactions to Penn State’s practice.
Penn State football spring practice: RBs standing out
Today, Penn State’s running backs were looking good, and while this may be unsurprising to some, it stood out to me. In fact, not only are Penn State’s running backs looking fast, but Penn State stars Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen are looking bigger and faster than they did a year ago.
Another notable aspect that we have seen a few times this spring is that the running backs’ hands are improving. As sophomores, Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton might be catching the ball more than we saw last fall, which only adds another scary element to this year’s Penn State football offense.
— Basic Blues Nation (@BasicBlues) April 11, 2023
More than anything, the focus and physicality were evident during today’s practice. Despite loads of contact and constant noise, few mistakes were made — the Nittany Lions’ running backs are already looking to be in mid-season form. With the addition of Trey Potts, a Big Ten veteran RB, Penn State’s running back room might be the best in the Big Ten conference.
Quarterbacks looked good, but there is work to be done
This fall, for the first time since 2018, a quarterback not named Sean Clifford will take the field as Penn State’s full-time starting quarterback. Right now, we are in the middle of a position battle surrounding the quarterback spot between rising sophomores Drew Allar and Beau Pribula, who bring different aspects to the Penn State football offense.
Allar, of the top recruits in the nation in 2022, is the projected Week 1 starter, though it is clear that there is still a bit of work to be done.
While Penn State’s quarterbacks looked quite solid once again, there were still a few notable over and under throws, though this is nothing that cannot be worked out by the time the fall opener rolls around on September 2nd. Still, if practice is any indication, this Penn State quarterback battle is genuine. Drew Allar looks solid, but Beau Pribula has stood out to me as much as anyone. His accuracy and speed make him a dangerous threat. Even if he is not QB1 come the West Virginia game, Pribula will likely still see a relevant role on Penn State’s offense.
Special teams is still working some things out.
Penn State football ran through a few special team field goal drills at the beginning of the practice availability. Right now, the Nittany Lions are looking to replace the long snapper, punter, and kicker, which is no small task.
So far, from what I have seen in practice, no one has stood out as a bona fide starter, which should be a major storyline to follow during the Blue-White game this weekend.
Make sure to stay tuned to Basic Blues Nation for more coverage following media availability with James Franklin and others later this evening.
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