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Beau Pribula Emerging With Competitive Spirit From ‘Back Burner’

A few weeks ago at Penn State football’s local bowl media day, Sean Clifford was asked to evaluate Drew Allar’s season so far.

Allar, the backup quarterback, was handed the majority of garbage-time plays in 2022. Third-string gunslinger Christian Veilleux, who has since transferred to Pitt, took just 11 snaps. True freshman Beau Pribula didn’t see the field.

But instead of just breaking down Allar’s season, Penn State’s QB1 made sure everyone knew the room was deeper than just the starting and backup quarterbacks.

“Drew, and Beau, they both have a lot to offer,” Clifford said. “I think [Beau has] been kind of pushed into the back burner in a lot of people’s eyes, but he’s someone who is just as competitive as I am. We had a lot of controversy during the summer between us competing…it reminds me of me and Trace back in the day.”

After touching down in Los Angeles, Clifford and Pribula attended a Kings hockey game together. Clifford said they are “extremely close” and Pribula likened the veteran to an older brother, harping on how beneficial it was to have a three-year starter in the quarterback room this season.

If not for Allar’s wunderkind, five-star status, there would be considerable hype about Pribula ahead of the 2023 season. As Clifford mentioned, the Pennsylvania native’s top-30 quarterback recruit status has been overshadowed by Allar’s tantalizing potential.

In March, Assistant AD for Performance Enhancement Chuck Losey even said that Allar was behind Pribula from a training standpoint. Allar has since won the backup job this year, but an offseason competition still looms. The competitiveness in the quarterback room seems to be a major theme.

“Beau is an unbelievable quarterback and person. His inner drive, that competitiveness, is as good as I’ve ever been around. It’s impressive,” offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. “He’s going to continue to compete and that’s really been the message: Just put your head down and compete…He’s gonna seize the moment. He’s just ready.”

Clifford re-emphasized that competitive message at Saturday’s Rose Bowl media day in Pasadena. The Ohio native once again mentioned Trace McSorley, explaining how a “competitive nature” was passed down to him and how he’s now passing it down to Pribula and Allar.

Perhaps it’s the headband or maybe the jersey number, but Pribula has drawn lots of comparisons to McSorley since arriving on campus. Pribula said Saturday he’s never met McSorley, but he agreed that they look similar.

In 2023, Allar and Pribula will continue to embrace the competitiveness that was sparked by McSorley. Both quarterbacks are different prospects and would put different products onto the field. Allar has three inches and 40 pounds on Pribula but seems to be more of a gentle giant.

“Beau’s a little bit more outspoken. Drew’s quieter in general,” Clifford said. “Realistically, they’re both winners… They’ll not only take Penn State football but take it to the next level.”

“I think we’re very similar, but Beau definitely cracks a lot more jokes,” Allar said Saturday. “I’m really glad we came in together… I love being around him. He pushes us all each day.”

Despite competitiveness in the quarterback room, the group remains close. They’ve been hanging out in Pasadena and went bowling a few days ago. Allar mentioned they all try to help each other out by improving on weaknesses.

Balancing competition with camaraderie can be difficult, but it seems like Clifford has been leading the charge on keeping things healthy. Having his presence in the room for Allar and Pribula’s freshman campaigns is proving to be beneficial.

“Sean really had that message of, you know, we want to be competitive but we also want to be a tight-knit group,” Pribula said. “I think we really took that to heart.”

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected]

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