Penn State Football Quarterback Drew Allar Adapting To Offseason Changes

A lot has changed for Penn State football since quarterback Drew Allar last took the field ahead of the Peach Bowl loss.

Three new coordinators officially took over their respective departments, the offensive line lost three veterans, and the wide receivers brought in top transfer Julian Fleming.

Perhaps the biggest change is the new scheme offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki is in the process of installing. In a flip from traditional Penn State offensive structures, Kotelnicki’s offense stresses motion and formation shifts while trying to create one-on-one opportunities for the backs and receivers.

According to Allar, the new install process is going well with the offensive staff aligned with the new pillars of the scheme.

“I feel really comfortable right now,” Allar said Wednesday. “Everybody’s learning the concepts and not just one part of the concept, they’re learning the full concept. So it can get to the point, hopefully, toward the end of the spring cycle and moving into the fall camp where all the receivers can be plug and play of out all the positions.”

One receiver the group is looking to is Fleming. After transferring from Ohio State, players and coaches alike have stressed his locker room presence and the new skills he brings to the room. Allar said Fleming brings a certain toughness and mentality to the wide receiver room that he believes elevates the rest of the group.

Along with his work ethic and dedication to becoming the best he can be, Allar was impressed with the receiver’s help and influence on the run game.

“Blocking on the perimeter is something that most receivers probably don’t want to do,” Allar said. “I think [Fleming], Malik McClain, and Malick Meiga do a great job of being physical on the perimeter and opening up explosive plays for the offense. Those three guys specifically have really rubbed off on the rest of the room.”

Explosive plays were an issue for Penn State last year without a consistent downfield threat in the passing game. Receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith was supposed to be the long-ball option but had minimal targets in the final three games of the season and ended with 53 receptions for 673 yards and four touchdowns.

This spring, though, Allar said the wide receiver is making strides. While James Franklin said he’s still waiting for a group of players to separate themselves from the rest of the room, Allar believes he’s seeing a lot of consistency from his targets.

“I think what [Lambert-Smith] has done a very good job of is just being consistent throughout the spring,” Allar said. “I think the more ways we can get the ball to him on the perimeter and let him showcase those skills, the better for the offense.”

Complementing his consistency on the field, Allar said that Lambert-Smith’s leadership, along with being more vocal, has brought a positive change to the locker room. Seeing the effect on the wide receiver room, Allar is also trying to be more of a vocal leader for the offense as a whole.

The increased leadership role is only one part of Allar’s evolution, though. Entering his second season as the starter for the blue and white, Allar has become leaner, saying he’s at 243 pounds. One of the quarterback’s offseason goals was to lose weight, and Allar said he’s going to continue working toward that goal through fall camp.

Despite his new body composition, new personnel, and new game plan, Allar’s routine remains the same. He said that his preparation for every game last year was something he was very proud of, and when coupled with all the differences, he believed there are big things coming for the offense.

“I’m always going approach every game like it’s the biggest game on our schedule,” he said. “For me, it’s more of just being calmer in the moment and not having to force things, just letting everything happen more organically, not trying to make the big play happen. I think it’s really gonna show this year.”

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About the Author

CJ Doebler

CJ is a junior double majoring in broadcast journalism and finance. He is from Northumberland, Pa, just east of State College. CJ is an avid Pittsburgh sports fan, but chooses to ignore the Pirates' existence. For the occasional random retweet and/or bad take, follow @CDoebler on Twitter. All complaints can be sent to [email protected].

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