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James Franklin Noncommittal On Starting Quarterback Ahead Of Indiana

At his weekly press conference Tuesday, Penn State football head coach James Franklin spent the majority of his 35 minutes facing questions about his team’s future under center. For the first time all season, he was noncommittal about which quarterback would get the start at Indiana.

“We’re going to look at who gives us the best chance to be 1-0 this week and go from there,” Franklin said. “Whoever that is, based on this week’s practice and preparation we’ll go with.”

Though it was definitively not a guarantee five-star freshman Drew Allar will be named the starter, Franklin’s comments are a far cry from his historically immovable public support of sixth-year senior Sean Clifford. Franklin said he understood the quarterback question, calling it “an interesting question.”

In Saturday’s 44-31 loss to Ohio State, the Nittany Lions suffered four turnovers — all of which at the hands of Clifford. Just as he did in his postgame comments, Franklin noted Tuesday that the turnovers were “the biggest factor” in the end result.

“If you go back and watch the tape, the guy played his tail off and made some really good plays in that game,” Franklin said. “But obviously, there’s four to six plays that we got to get rid of.”

This season, Clifford has recorded starts in every Penn State game, totaling 1,816 yards, 16 touchdowns, and six interceptions at a 62.8% clip. During the Ohio State game, Clifford passed Trace McSorley as the program’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns.

Though he has not yet logged a start, Allar has appeared in six games so far this season, burning his redshirt. In his brief on-field experience, Allar has thrown for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns, completing 18 of his 31 passes.

Franklin said the decision will not solely come down to him, saying many other coaches will be asked for their input.

“It’s not a decision I make on my own. I want you to know, whenever there’s big decisions like that, I want to make sure that I’m not too close to it,” Franklin said. “I had a pretty good conversation with [offensive coordinator] Mike Yurcich, talked to [defensive coordinator] Manny Diaz about it.”

Ultimately, Franklin remained adamant that the starting quarterback will be the one who gives the 6-2 Nittany Lions their best chance to win against Indiana — a game that the team still sees as important, especially with a potential 10-win season at stake this year.

“I have a responsibility to the guys in the locker room, as well as the coaches, to give us the best chance to win as many games as we possibly can,” Franklin said. “What you’d like to do, at the same time, is getting better and building for your future.”

This week, Penn State will travel to Bloomington to take on Big Ten rival Indiana. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and be televised on ABC.

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About the Author

Sam Fremin

Sam is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia, majoring in journalism and political science & minoring in German and creative writing. He is a Dallas Cowboys fan who relishes the misery of Eagles fans. All hate messages can be sent to [email protected] or @SamFremin on Twitter.

He may or may not read every single comment he gets.

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