STATE COLLEGE — James Franklin wasn’t going to bench Sean Clifford throughout a lopsided loss to Maryland, and the Penn State coach will not be about to show away from his quarterback regardless of Penn State’s winless begin.
Nonetheless, Franklin wish to get his staff’s embattled starter some assist. That would come as quickly as this weekend at Nebraska. The Nittany Lions will attempt to keep away from an 0-4 begin by doubtlessly utilizing two quarterbacks.
“We have to get (backup) Will (Levis) concerned in plenty of other ways, to assist Sean out and likewise to proceed investing in Will,” Franklin stated Tuesday. “I feel you’ll see that transferring ahead. Not simply this week, however for the remainder of the season.”
Levis has come to the offense’s support prior to now. Now Franklin is hoping the bullish runner can present an extra dimension for a gaggle that has but to get on monitor. The Nittany Lions (0-3) rank within the backside half of the Massive Ten in practically each main offensive class.
They’ll limp into Lincoln with the nation’s 84th-ranked scoring offense led by a second-year starter who’s been battered bodily and mentally to begin the season.
After absorbing six sacks over the primary two video games, Clifford was introduced down seven extra instances in Penn State’s loss to Maryland final week. He tossed a pair of interceptions, fumbled as soon as and accomplished simply 47% of his passes on 57 dropbacks.
“I’m not going to level a single finger,” Clifford stated. “There’s performs that have to be made and I have to make them.”
Clifford traded his filthy, grass- and dirt-stained uniform for a shirt adorned with shamrocks after the sport. When he emerged from the locker room, he stared straight forward, at instances fixing his gaze downward whereas chatting with reporters.
“Mentally, I’m pissed,” Clifford stated. “That’s in all probability the one method I can describe it. We’re an 0-3 soccer staff. I’ve by no means been on an 0-3 soccer staff. I by no means misplaced like this in my life. To say I’m dissatisfied, annoyed, are all understatements.”
The truth that the 6-foot-2, 217-pound quarterback is the staff’s main rusher with 15 extra carries than working again Devyn Ford signifies to his teammates that Clifford isn’t prepared to surrender.
A Nebraska secondary that’s permitting opponents to finish 75% of their passes, however has solely allowed 4 landing tosses, would be the subsequent problem.
“He desires the ball in his arms, and he desires to have the ability to make performs,” tight finish Pat Freiermuth stated. “Cliff’s an excellent runner with the ball. He makes good cuts and good reads and I feel that’s the great thing about our offense.”
However that willingness to tuck the ball and take off when the pocket breaks down — one thing Clifford has been compelled to do extra this 12 months — has uncovered him to hit after hit.
Levis, who checks in at 6-foot-3 and 222 kilos, additionally doesn’t draw back from contact.
He subbed for an injured Clifford final 12 months towards Ohio State the place he turned in 18 carries for 34 yards and a landing in a 28-17 loss. He added 17 carries for 108 yards in a win towards Rutgers to shut the common season. He accomplished 28 of 47 passes for 223 yards with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions final 12 months.
Levis has not often been known as on this 12 months. He’s received two carries for a yard and hasn’t dropped again to move. He additionally misplaced a fumble within the opener towards Indiana.
“We’d like him to be productive,” Franklin stated. “To be sincere with you, there’s a facet while you put him within the sport, they’re not anticipating it, Will can chuck it.”
Right this moment’s breaking information and extra in your inbox