What a difference a year makes.
It was almost exactly one year ago when we first learned that Daryll Clark would be the starting quarterback against Coastal Carolina. Up until that time he was consumed with just winning the starting job. Forget about beating Ohio State, or winning the Big Ten, or almost playing for the National Championship. Daryll Clark just didn't want to spend another year sitting on the bench. And before he was named the starter, you could tell in his interviews he was nervous about it.
He barely won the job to the chagrin of many Penn State fans. Many felt Pat Devlin gave Penn State the best chance to win, and doubted Clark had arm and intelligence of a big time quarterback. So Clark just went out and threw for 2592 yards, 19 touchdowns against six interceptions, rushed for another ten touchdowns ,and led his team to a conference championship and the Rose Bowl for the first time in 15 years. Not bad for a guy who didn't even know he would be the starter going into preseason camp.Skip ahead to today, and this is a different man from the one we saw a year ago. Clark is no longer looking over his shoulder at Pat Devlin who left the program in December. He's no longer shaking off the criticism of the doubters who say he's just a glorified running back lining up under center. When you see him on camera he oozes confidence. He's dripping with moxie. He didn't spend the offseason trying to win a job. He spent the offseason trying to build a championship football team. Daryll Clark is the man. This is his team. And he knows it.
No single position in college football is more important than the quarterback. Without good quarterback play, you're stuck in the mud. You can win a lot of games with a good quarterback, but if you want to be truly great, you need a great quarterback. Daryll Clark is a great quarterback.
There's always an argument that goes like this: Is it easier to break in a new quarterback with an experienced group of receivers, or is it easier to break in a new group a receivers with an experienced quarterback. Though Clark was highly successful with three senior receivers last year, I believe it's easier to break in new receivers with an experienced quarterback. A reciever just needs to know his assignment, which is basically the route he's running and maybe his hot read if there's a blitz. A quarterback has to know the routes all of his receivers are running, but he also needs to know their hot reads, the coverages they're facing, and his blocking schemes. So if I have to choose between three guys knowing just their assignments versus one guy having to knowing everything, I prefer to have the experience at the quarterback position.