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Midweek Musings - Chuck It Deep

YOLO Ball

NCAA Football: Iowa at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

In yesterday’s press conference, James Franklin fielded a question regarding the lack of deep passes in the Nittany Lions offense so far.

The question asked was one that I’ve basically been wondering myself - in a nutshell, I’m curious whether or not the fact that Drew Allar has yet to throw an interception could actually be a detriment. That he may be so hyper-focused on not turning it over, that he’s avoiding all risk, and instead always checking it down to his “safe” options.

Phrased another way - should the Lions “force” the deep ball a bit more, with the notion that Drew has the arm strength to avoid dangerous underthrows, and that the Lions have talented receivers who can go up and get a 50/50 pass. And perhaps, in so doing, unlock the last bit of potential that Allar has, and therefore the offense? If the deep pass is a legitimate threat, defenses will have to back off the line, and the run game should then thrive as well, right?

Well, I won’t put words in James Franklin’s mouth, here’s what the Head Bald Coach had to say:

To sum up a fairly lengthy diatribe: “No. No. Strong no.”

In essence, CJF feels that even when the Lions were running YOLO Ball with Trace McSorley in 2016, they were carefully designed plays, and not “eff it, going deep” breakdowns. That the Lions have never just chucked it deep and hoped for the best, but have rather always tried to put themselves in situations where the deep ball happens organically.

So it looks like the team is aware of the lack of explosivity in the passing game, and would like to improve on it, but not at the expense of a turnover, or any sort of wing and a prayer mentality.

Here’s hoping the deep game does open up, because if it does, this offense could hit a whole other gear!