Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford injury update: Clifford receives ‘treatment’ for unspecified injury
Penn State coach James Franklin offered only a vague injury update regarding quarterback Sean Clifford on Tuesday, but explained how training reps are divided at the post.
Franklin said quarterbacks Ta’Quan Roberson and Christian Veilleux split reps ahead of Penn State’s game against Illinois on Saturday as the team navigates their plan for the offense.
“It’s still a competition, but it’s probably magnified a bit,” Franklin said at his weekly press conference. “We take a very close look at these guys in practice and scrum. So we’re going to split the reps between those two evenly and make it a competition.”
Clifford, injured in the Lions’ 23-20 loss to Iowa, is receiving “treatment” and working with the team’s medics to get back as soon as possible, “when it can be,” Franklin said. Franklin deals with injuries and potential missed time only at the end of the season.
The coach added that Clifford “has shown his tenacity over the years, both physically and mentally” and his potential return will not be delayed “due to lack of effort on his part”.
“Mentally, in terms of preparation and approach to the game, he’s as good as I am,” Franklin said. “He’s doing all the right things. I’m not surprised by that, and I hope it puts him in the best position to come back as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, Roberson, a red-shirted sophomore, and real freshman Veilleux re-entered a competition that Roberson won for second place in training camp. Heading into the season, Franklin said Roberson took 90 percent of the snaps with the second team offense and “opened a lot of eyes in this camp.”
Franklin said on Tuesday that the gap between them “is somewhat close.” Roberson entered the game from Iowa after Clifford was injured, completing 7 of 21 passes for 34 yards and two steals. Veilleux has not yet played this season.
“I have a meeting with the two guys today and [will] challenge them both and let them know we’re going to evaluate everything, ”Franklin said. “The good thing is that with both of them I’m very impressed with them as young men and as competitors and players. It won’t be new information for them, but I still think it’s important for me to sit down and talk to them face to face and go over some of this stuff with them. “
Wide receiver Cam Sullivan-Brown said both quarterbacks took reps with the first team’s offense last week and “looked great.”
“I believe in these two guys a lot,” Sullivan-Brown said. “They’re extremely talented. So every time they practice they always make great throws. So I have a lot of confidence in these guys. They pitched really well last week.”
Franklin likely won’t publicly announce his decision on a starter, although he also said on Tuesday it was too early to make one. The team returned to training on Sunday and were on leave on Monday. But Franklin gave the impression that Roberson and Veilleux would get equal hearings this week.
“You would like to make the decision as soon as possible,” Franklin said. “We’re not in a position to do that at the moment, so these reps will be divided equally, and once we know that’s clear we’ll make the decision and go from there.”
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