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Penn State Offense Employing Balanced Approach To Rose Bowl Prep

Outside of the College Football Playoff, bowl season has taken on different meanings to different teams in recent years. While some teams see the postseason as a season finale, others use it as a building block for the future.

Unlike last season, when the team was forced to field multiple backups, Penn State has largely avoided player opt-outs. As a result, the Nittany Lions are taking a balanced approach ahead of the 2023 Rose Bowl.

At a press conference in Los Angeles Thursday morning, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich expounded the program’s perspective on the coming week of preparation.

“Early on in bowl prep, you’re trying to develop as best you can the young guys because you have time,” Yurcich said. “Then as you melt into the game week, you’re [tailoring] those reps a little bit more to the guys that are going to play.”

Going as far as calling them an “additional spring ball,” Yurcich spoke highly of the intensity of the Nittany Lions’ pre-Rose Bowl practices.

“If you came in and saw us practice, you would maybe have a hard time telling ones and twos apart from the developmental squad from an effort standpoint,” Yurcich said.

At certain positions, players are being asked to step into larger roles –– both in preparation for the future and for January 2. With wide receiver Parker Washington’s injury and quarterback Christian Veilleiux’s transfer to Pitt, less experienced skill players such as wide receiver Trey Wallace and quarterback Beau Pribula are seeing more practice time.

When asked about certain team strengths and weaknesses, Yurcich stressed the importance of the process. The offensive coordinator explained coaches must leverage their given rosters, otherwise they can get bogged down in unimportant (or even distracting) hypotheticals.

“I know it’s coachspeak and I know you guys are like ‘it’s another coach saying the process,’ but it’s really about that,” Yurcich said. “Football is a very humbling game. You don’t want to get down that road of thinking anything other than how can you improve.”

There are multiple ways Penn State’s offense intends to combat Utah’s stout defense. Especially with potential returns from injury by impact starters, Yurcich said his squad will employ all facets of their offense.

“We’ve got really good tailbacks we’ve got to feed the rock to, and then we’re going to throw it to the receivers at the same time, so we’re a very multiple offense that likes to distribute the rock,” Yurcich said.

The 2023 Rose Bowl will kick off at 5 p.m. EST on January 2 in Pasadena, California. No. 11 Penn State’s postseason matchup with No. 8 Utah will be televised by ESPN.

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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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