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KeAndre Lambert-Smith talks how Drew Allar’s composure can help 2023 expectations

Drew Allar’s 2023 expectations are already sky-high. But according to one Penn State receiver, the quarterback hasn’t been feeling the pressure.



Drew Allar, Penn State football, Dani Dennis-Sutton, KJ Winston
April 15, 2023. Drew Allar (15) and KeAndre Lambert-Smith (1) walk off the field during Penn State's Blue-White Game. Credit: Grace Carella // Basic Blues Nation.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Right or wrong, college football is a pressure cooker. And often, the collective pressure of a fanbase is placed on young men who are barely old enough to shave. This sentiment is starting to build in some pockets of the Penn State football fanbase this off-season. Whether it’s fair or not, many believe that sophomore quarterback Drew Allar can launch the program to new heights and help the Nittany Lions compete for a Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff berth this year. That’s immense pressure for a player who has yet to officially be named the starting quarterback by James Franklin. However, according to Penn State receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith, Allar hasn’t let the pressure get to him. Rather, the young quarterback’s composure has helped the entire offense focus on improvement this spring, and not Drew Allar’s 2023 expectations.

Penn State receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith talks Drew Allar’s 2023 expectations

For many of the Penn State faithful, Drew Allar was the savior of the program before he ever set foot on campus. The former five-star prospect was one of the top players in the class of 2022 and perhaps the best quarterback ever recruited to Penn State. Allar flashed at times in limited action last year, but still showed signs of a young quarterback adapting to the college game. By all accounts, this trend continued into the off-season. James Franklin contended all spring that the quarterback battle between Allar and Beau Pribula has remained competitive, even as most of the outside world has already christened Allar as Penn State’s next starter.

Following the Blue-White Game last Saturday, much of the conversation focused on Allar and how he has handled the expectations for the 2023 season. Specifically, KeAndre Lambert-Smith was asked if he’s spoken with Allar about the pressure surrounding his performance this year. According to the Penn State receiver, Allar’s attention is on the Nittany Lion offense rather than himself.

“I haven’t actually had that conversation with him [about the expectations]. But Drew is a pretty calm guy. He doesn’t seem like he feels too much pressure,” Lambert-Smith said in media availability following the Blue-White Game. “…we have conversations about, like, what the offense needs to do better, or we need to get up here and do this, do that…I feel like we have good dialogue, but there’s never a conversation to your point specifically.”

Whoever wins the starting quarterback competition, everyone around the Penn State offense recognizes that there is room to improve. Following Saturday’s spring game, James Franklin emphasized that work needs to be done if the passing attack is to be where the Lions want it to be this year. “We can’t throw enough,” Franklin said. “Our quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, running backs, we cannot throw enough all summer…I think having Holuba open all summer to throw is going to be valuable for us.”

Nittany Lion fans will get their first look at the new Penn State passing attack on September 2 when the Lions open the season at home against West Virginia.

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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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