There’s a popular saying in college football: “Nobody likes the backup punter.” Just kidding. That’s not a saying, because fans don’t think about the backup punter enough to make a phrase about him. Nevertheless, after yesterday’s subject Blake Gillikin won the starting job and the hearts of Penn State fans in 2016, Daniel Pasquariello is No. 2 on the depth chart.
I don’t think James Franklin is counting on using the Australian too much in 2017, but he’ll be ready just in case. Last year, when Gillikin was struggling against Maryland, Pasquariello came in and placed two punts inside the 20-yard line in the second half to help the Nittany Lions earn a homecoming victory.
Pasquariello may not have been consistent enough in his freshman and junior seasons to be counted on as the starter last year, but there’s also the possibility that he would have had his best season in 2016 had Gilliken not shown up and blown everyone away. So don’t think about the disappointing campaigns of 2014 and 2015 when you think of Pasquariello. It’s not as though Penn State would have been a Playoff contender if Ray Guy was playing on fourth down. Instead, think of those two punts against Maryland that kept James Franklin off the hot seat and propelled the Lions to one of their biggest wins of the season.
You never know when a decent backup punter might come in handy.