UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — Just two week out from Penn State’s season opener at Purdue, all eyes are on Penn State redshirt senior quarterback Sean Clifford.
Consistency, communication, and Sean Clifford– the 3 C’s of the Nittany Lions’ offense.
1.) Consistency– it is year two under offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich.
2.) Communication– a somewhat obvious point, but a critical element of running a successful offense.
3.) Sean Clifford– a three-year returning starting quarterback.
Sean Clifford is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in college football. There isn’t much he hasn’t seen.
“Sean’s football IQ is really high,” said James Franklin, Penn State head football coach. “And after with being with Brent Pry and that defense, he had a pretty good idea of pressures and disguises and it’s just different.”
And depth behind him provides some stability that wasn’t quite there a year ago.
“Last year, obviously this time we had a veteran quarterback and then a bunch of question marks behind behind him,” said Franklin. “And now we have a veteran quarterback with a quarterback who’s played in Big Ten games and won a Big Ten game and and two guys that people are excited about. So just there’s, there’s more depth at the quarterback position, but really probably across the board.”
Penn State’s offense has depth at all the flashy positions– running back, receiver, and tight end. But, the Nittany Lions did last year. So, why will this year’s offense be different? Consistency and communication. We’ve talked and talked about a second a year under Mike Yurcich.
But, why exactly will that make a huge difference? It might sound simple or obvious, but communication is key and Clifford says the simple fact he, the offensive coordinator, and the offense simply know each other goes a long way.
“From a communications perspective from you know pre-snap post snap and then you know you know, before we go on the field, once I come off the field that communication is so much better just because we know each other so well now,” said Clifford. “And I know when he calls play I know exactly what looks he’s looking for. And if we’re not in that look and I’m able to get us into a different place. Being able to kind of take a step back and say, okay, I know, I know all the base concepts. I know what everything, the signals and the calls. Now why are we calling it? What are we doing? What are we trying to accomplish with this play specifically? And then once you start to dove into that, that’s when you take it to the next level.”
Clifford is among Penn State’s all-time leading passers and will about own most of the records when he graduates. The one thing missing still on his resume is a National Championship.
Clifford said that goal talked about, but it’s the only time it will be talked about. From there on out, it’s the “1-0” mentality from there on out.