Breaking Down Post-Iowa Reactions For Penn State Football
Things are not looking good for Penn State football.
After yet another loss Saturday, the Nittany Lions are now 0-5 for the first time in program history. The Iowa game further exposed issues James Franklin’s squad has faced all year, and Penn State now faces an uphill battle to even win a game this season.
Considering all of that, folks aren’t feeling too great about the rest of the 2020 campaign. A few of our staffers decided to analyze some of the most popular reactions following Saturday’s contest.
‘The Nittany Lions Won’t Win A Game This Year’
Sam Brungo: Overreaction, I don’t think that Penn State will go winless. Although the Nittany Lions look like they’ve run out of steam, I think they’ll pick up at least one win this year. They do still have to play Michigan and Rutgers, who both also suck.
Gabe Angieri: It’s hard to say this is an overreaction at this point. Penn State has played poorly the entire season, and there have been no signs to make me think that will change. If the Nittany Lions lose their final three games, it honestly wouldn’t shock me and is definitely a possibility.
Ryan Parsons: After the first few games, this sounded like an overreaction, but it’s certainly in the realm of possibility now. Penn State’s remaining games are all against teams with losing records, but even that has proved to be a challenge for the Nittany Lions so far. Penn State has a lot to clean up if it wants to win a game.
Will Pegler: This is starting to sound more and more like a serious possibility. More than halfway through the season, the same old issues are making each Penn State game feel the exact same. Unless James Franklin and his staff figure out a way to combat slow starts, uncharacteristic mistakes and turnovers, and in some cases a lack of effort, I could see the Nittany Lions losing the rest of the way.
‘There’s Plenty Of Distractions, But There’s No Excuse To Go 0-5’
SB: There is no excuse for being 0-5.
GA: There are absolutely no excuses to start off 0-5, especially with the talent this Penn State team possesses. Yes, there have been some misfortunes for this team — Journey Brown’s retirement, Noah Cain’s injury, and Micah Parsons’ opt-out. However, this team is still loaded with talent, and starting off 0-5 is embarrassing and completely unacceptable.
RP: Yup, there are no excuses in the world for having the worst start in program history. Yes, Penn State has faced lots of adversity this season between the pandemic, injuries, and coaching changes. But even these things are typically no match for such a strong program. Everyone is in the same boat and James Franklin can’t use the virus, or anything, as an excuse.
WP: This year has sucked for a lot of people, including Penn State football. There’s no doubt it’s been tough, and it’s understandable that it has some effect on the on-field product, but there’s plenty of teams the Nittany Lions should’ve beaten no matter what. Indiana and Ohio State are both clearly solid teams, but Maryland and Nebraska? Come on. Those need to be victories in James Franklin’s seventh year in Happy Valley.
‘It’s Time To Get Younger Players Reps At Quarterback’
SB: I’m here for it. I don’t know about Micah Bowens since he’s still just a freshman, but it’s absolutely time for the Nittany Lions to see what Ta’Quan Roberson has in his skillset and see if he is someone the Nittany Lions can rely on for the rest of the season/years to come.
GA: I completely agree with this one. Sean Clifford has struggled mightily this season and been a turnover machine. Will Levis started against Iowa last game and failed to impress. Clifford has played poorly, and we know what Levis is at this point. It’s time to give Ta’Quan Roberson or Micah Bowens the reigns at quarterback. It would be smart to see what you have from one of those guys with it already being a lost season.
RP: Why the hell not? Seriously. While it’s certainly possible that Sean Clifford is just having an unbelievably bad stretch of games, this season is the perfect time to see if you have a future starter in a guy like Ta’Quan Roberson or Micah Bowens. My money is on Christian Veilleux being the guy in years to come, but Franklin has to change something up at this point.
WP: Why not? Will Levis doesn’t seem to be the answer Penn State needs, and Sean Clifford’s issues with turnovers still showed up in the short time he got against Iowa. It’s not as if the season will completely turn around with Ta’Quan Roberson at the helm, but it’s certainly not a bad thing to get the young gun some reps at quarterback. Franklin did explain postgame Saturday that Roberson has been medically unavailable, but if that changes anytime soon, I wouldn’t mind seeing him sling the rock.
‘Penn State Wasn’t Ready For The Season’
SB: I think they they prepared for the season but at the end of the day, the Nittany Lions are riddled with injuries and don’t have enough life in them after losing consecutive games to come out and perform against other squads that just want it more.
GA: This is an overreaction. I believe Penn State was just as ready as any other Big Ten team for the reason to be reinstated. That shouldn’t be a reason/excuse for the Nittany Lions’ struggles whatsoever. The bottom line is that the team has underperformed, and if the Nittany Lions weren’t ready for the season to start, then shame on them.
RP: It’s hard to tell what exactly is going on behind the scenes, but it’s definitely possible that the Nittany Lions checked out when the season originally got canceled. This isn’t an excuse and would likely be the product of poor coaching. Franklin and many players have hinted at the team struggling off the field, and it’s certainly possible they weren’t emotionally locked in for a season.
WP: Again, there are plenty of other non-football issues going on, and with that in mind Penn State just doesn’t seem to be in the right headspace to play. It’s hard to say exactly what the problem is with this team, considering there are so many, but overall I truly feel they just mentally accepted they weren’t going to play football anytime soon once the season was canceled in August. After the season was reinstated, the Nittany Lions struggled more than any other squad to get up for it.
‘It’s Time To Make Some Changes On The Coaching Staff’
SB: No. This won’t help anything. All this will do is make it harder to recruit and leave Penn State with more years of turnover. Stay calm, the “coronavirus season” will be over soon and Penn State will find itself back in the W column and back in the top 25 in the coming years.
GA: Slight overreaction, but I don’t blame people for saying it. Given what this team has done in previous years, I don’t think anyone on the coaching staff should lose their jobs based on a shortened, albeit disastrous, season. However, the coaching staff should be held accountable for the awful performance of the team so far this season, as should the players.
RP: All things considered, this is likely an overreaction. Lots of coaching changes were made coming into the offseason and it’s likely that the team’s struggles have come from a lack of reps with some of the newer faces. Cleaning house again wouldn’t help any of these issues. If the Nittany Lions carry these poor performances over to next year, however, the program may need to think about switching things up.
WP: The answer to Penn State’s struggles aren’t in any midseason coaching changes. It’s extremely hard to judge each of these position coaches after so much turnover during a time in which the team could barely meet in person. If anything, give guys like Phil Trautwein, Kirk Ciarrocca, John Scott Jr., and others more time to spend with their players after this season so they can hopefully get some hands-on coaching done.
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About the Author
The Nittany Lions participated in a max-out lifting session to mark the end of winter workouts.
Gaines was committed to the Nittany Lions for nearly a year.
Sophomore forward Tessa Janecke also earned CHA Player of the Year and Forward of the Year distinctions.