UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — The countdown clock to Penn State football officially reads zero as Penn State began fall practice Monday, exactly one month out from the Nittany Lions’ season opener at Purdue.
The 2021 season was a puzzling one for a team who was ranked inside the top-5 at one point, but finished with more draft picks (8) than wins (7.)
Penn State welcomes back quite a few returners, most notably sixth year quarterback Sean Clifford. But perhaps the most intriguing returnee isn’t a player, rather offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich.
The Nittany Lions’ offense never fully clicked, but stands a better chance under Yurcich in year two, especially for Clifford who hadn’t had a returning offensive coordinator in his career.
“You know, as an offense I was really excited because it’s the first time that I’ve been able to then grow within the same offense,” Clifford said during the Big Ten Media Days. “You know coach Yurcich being back is awesome. It’s a great feeling to be able to have that same offensive system, be able to master that system now and be able to now going to fall camp as confident as ever.”
Despite losing top receiving target Jahan Dotson, Penn State added elite wide receiver transfer Mitchell Tinsley from Western Kentucky. Mitchell, and defensive end Chop Robinson are highly valued transfers. Penn State also adds one of coach James Franklin’s highest graded recruiting classes and coach said he feels good that many guys will be ready to contribute right away.
“Although our recruiting class was ranked highly– that sounds great,” said Franklin. “But once they show up the campus, no one cares whether you’re a five star or two star. And we all know there’s exceptions to that. Every year, there’s the five star who doesn’t pan out. There’s the two star that ends up going to the College Football Hall of Fame. So once they show up, you get a better feel. And right now, it just seems like there’s probably more players that we feel like can impact us this year than maybe we’ve had in years past.”
Penn State hosts their media day on Saturday, where we will hear from the players for the first time since midsummer.