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2021 Spring Position Preview: Quarterback

Easily the offense’s biggest question mark this upcoming season.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Remember this time last year when the Blue-White game had been cancelled (along with the rest of sports in the U.S.) and we were desperately watching Korean baseball? We should all be grateful that with vaccinations picking up, we once again have Spring football to pay attention to and more importantly for us at BSD, the triumphant return of our yearly Spring position previews leading into the Blue-White game. We begin today with a look at the quarterback room.

The Starter - Sean Clifford

The pieces surrounding Sean Clifford in Penn State’s offense for 2021 are in place: One of the best (if not the best) offensive coordinators in college football? Check. A solid stable of running backs? Check. Proven wide receivers and tight ends? Check. An offensive line that shouldn’t be a liability? Check.

What remains to be seen is whether Cliff himself can not only shake off the nightmarish 2020 season that saw him get benched for a stretch, but whether he can go above and beyond his 2019 performance where he was good overall, but mostly ineffective against the best teams on the schedule. With Mike Yurcich now calling the shots offensively and with the ability to establish some chemistry in the Spring time with his receivers, the best may indeed be yet to come for Cliff.

In case you missed it last week: Cliff described his excitement for playing under Yurcich and emphasizing the importance of having actual Spring ball during media availability.

Backups - Taquan Roberson and Christian Veilleux

This is where things get dicey. Neither Roberson nor Veilleux has seen meaningful snaps in a college game, and they are the only other scholarship quarterbacks currently on the roster. In fact, it’s been over a year since Veilleux has seen any live football action, given that his high school (The Bullis School in Potomac, MD) cancelled their Fall sports in 2020. If Cliff has to miss any playing time, Roberson is very likely to be the first one subbing in for him.

Taquan has reportedly shown signs of stepping up in practice and is now in his third year with the program, and second Spring practice. Until he actually sees action in a situation other than garbage time though, we won’t truly know what he’s capable of. At the very least however, we should get a good glimpse of him in the Blue-White game. The same could be said for Mr. Veilleux, as the staff will definitely want him to get re-acclimated to some live football action of any kind. After having been to the Elite 11 camp last Summer, Christian will definitely be itching to showcase what he’s capable of come April 17th.