Christian Hackenberg developing, insists he’s progressing - The Daily Collegian: Football

Welcome!
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Christian Hackenberg developing, insists he’s progressing

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size
  • Hackenberg Horizontal Pass

    Penn State's Christian Hackenburg (14) looks to pass during an offensive play on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions beat Illinois 24-17 in overtime.

Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2013 1:00 am

Christian Hackenberg clenched his fists and made contact with the turf, burying his head in the Minnesota grass. He’d solely sealed the deal. Penn State was going to lose.

The true freshman fumbled a snap late in the fourth quarter last weekend against the Gophers, shattering every last hope the Nittany Lions had of making a spectacular comeback.

His frustration was palpable.

The 18-year-old has heard his fair share of criticisms as of late, with fans and media speculating the quarterback has hit a wall. They say his development has halted, and he’s no longer progressing. Rather, is he moving backward?

“I've got a lot of belief in this kid,” coach Bill O’Brien said, “and I think he's going to be better and better. We need him to be better against Purdue. Like I've said, there's been a lot of good and then there have been some things that we just need to take from this stage to that stage and get it all the way to the next level. That's what we're trying to do.”

O’Brien said the freshman has been improving every week, noting specifically a drive during the Minnesota game where Hackenberg had to make a check to draw the defense to show its scheme. He checked the play, made the right call, but didn’t complete the pass.

Now, for Hackenberg, it’s about executing.

“I think it’s just recognition at the line of scrimmage as to what’s going on, and it’s a complex offense,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the team, so you really got to try and do your part and do your job, and I feel like I’ve done that.”

While a lot of his development has admittedly been outside the stat sheet, the quarterback’s passing success compared to similar true freshman quarterbacks is on par.

It’s tough to compare the very successful true freshman quarterbacks with Hackenberg, as many of them were athletic, dual-threat signal callers whose passing yards simply can’t be compared with a pro-style quarterback’s.

So go back to 2009. Matt Barkley led USC to a 9-4 season and a BCS bowl win over Boston College. On the season, the true freshman had a 131.3 passer efficiency rating and threw for 2,735 yards and 15 touchdowns.

In 2004, true freshman Chad Henne led his team to a Big Ten Championship and the Rose Bowl while logging 2,743 yards and 25 touchdowns, all the while recording a 132.56 passer efficiency rating.

Hackenberg’s numbers aren’t far off from those. The young Lion has a great No. 1 receiver, but not many consistent receivers behind Allen Robinson.

Still, he’s on par to finish the season with 2,916 yards (more than Barkley and Henne), 18 touchdowns (more than Barkley), and currently has a 127 passer efficiency rating.

Hackenberg still has a lot of growing ahead of him, he’s said, but knows he has O’Brien to understand the challenges of leading a decimated team after being on campus for just a few months.

“[O’Brien] has embraced me,” Hackenberg said. “I’m a young player. I’m 18. A freshman. Everything I’m seeing is for the first time, and he’s been really understanding."

More about

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Loading…
Loading…

Total Votes: 0

Loading…

NFL Draft Coverage

DaQuan Jones' father reacts to son's drafting
Posted: May 12, 2014

DaQuan Jones' father endured many hardships while raising his son, but it all paid off Saturday as the Tennessee Titans drafted DaQuan.

Comments (0)
Glenn Carson, Garry Gilliam sign deals as undrafted free agents
Posted: May 10, 2014

Former Nittany Lions Garry Gilliam and Glenn Carson signed with NFL teams after going undrafted. 

Comments (0)
Former Nittany Lions find NFL homes
Posted: May 11, 2014

Forget about Silas Redd and Khairi Fortt? Two NFL teams didn't

Comments (0)
NFL Draft Recap
Posted: May 11, 2014

Three former Nittany Lions were drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft. 

Comments (0)
Tennessee Titans draft DaQuan Jones in the fourth round
Posted: May 10, 2014

DaQuan Jones becomes the second Penn State player to get drafted as the Tennessee Titans selected him.

Comments (0)
Math meets football: Twitter adores John Urschel
Posted: May 10, 2014

Shortly after the Baltimore Ravens drafted John Urschel with the No. 175 pick in the fifth round, fans and teammates took to Twitter to discuss their thoughts.

Comments (0)
Fans, teammates react to Allen Robinson getting drafted
Posted: May 09, 2014

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected wide receiver Allen Robinson with the No. 61 overall pick in the second round. Robinson watched as 10 wide receivers were picked before the Jaguars ended his wait.

Comments (0)
Jacksonville Jaguars draft Allen Robinson in 2nd round of NFL Draft
Posted: May 09, 2014

The Jaguars ended wide receiver Allen Robinson's wait as they selected him with the No. 61 overall pick in the second round. 

Comments (0)
John Urschel's diary: Draft day arrives
Posted: May 09, 2014

John Urschel continues his journal series for the Associated Press with his newest post: Draft Day. 

Comments (0)
Matt McGloin's moxie running dry in Oakland?
Posted: May 09, 2014

With the Oakland Raiders selecting Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr with the No. 36 pick in the second round, the Matt McGloin era in Oakland might be coming to an end.

Comments (0)