Maybe James Franklin should see if NCAA rules permit his quarterback, Christian Hackenberg, to be given a Popemobile or other similar armored vehicle in which to drive around town. Or whether it’s permissable to install one of those no step showers in Hackenberg’s apartment. Because one fender bender or slip in the shower could spell disaster for Franklin’s first season as Penn State head football coach.
To say nothing of a nasty blind side hit by a 290-pound defensive end charging at full steam.
As long as Hackenberg stays healthy, PSU’s signal calling is in good hands. There haven’t been too many more impressive true freshmen quarterbacks in major college football than Hackenberg last year. Granted, he benefited from Bill O’Brien’s tutelage, and Allen Robinson’s receiving ability, both of which have moved on to the NFL. Still, Hackenberg quickly proved he is the real deal.
In fact, he proved it so much that the other two pedigreed backups, Steven Bench and Tyler Ferguson, transferred. That leaves the quarterback depth chart incredibly shallow.
The group behind Hackenberg as spring practice gets going: R-Fr. D.J. Crook, R-Fr. Jack Seymour, R-Fr. Austin Whipple, and true freshman early enrollee Michael O’Connor, who will practice and play in the spring game.
Recruiting folks were generally high on O’Connor, but no one seems to think he’s the second coming of Hackenberg. The other guys we just don’t know. While there could be a Matt McGloin in the bunch, the odds are more likely there isn’t. What we do know is there is no experience facing Big Ten pass rushes after Hackenberg.
The quarterback position often, in my opinion, gets too much attention on a football team. The QB is the leader and many times the most important player, but you’ve got to have a lot more than just a guy under center to win consistently, including a good defense when that QB is on the sidelines.
This year, though, it may be tough to overstate the importance of Christian Hackenberg to Penn State’s chances for success. If he goes down, it will be a big roll of the dice.
Tread carefully in that shower, young man.Read More