Let's Be Frank

Editor’s Note: Let’s Be Frank is a weekly column written by a member of The Daily Collegian’s football staff that aims to take a deeper dive into Penn State's most recent game.

Let’s be frank, Penn State’s coaching staff spread the wealth among the roster Saturday afternoon against Ball State — and that’s a very good thing.

Sixty-six Nittany Lions saw the field against the Cardinals, some for the first time, such as linebackers Kobe King and Jamari Buddin, as well as defensive tackles Fatorma Mulbah and Jordan van den Berg.

Reserves on both sides of the ball came in and made big plays for Penn State, giving the starters a much-needed break following a grueling game at Wisconsin.

Defensive coordinator Brent Pry knew his unit needed to pause after playing 95 snaps at Madison, so he gave other guys a chance to step up and make plays throughout the game.

Following the close win over the Badgers, star players like Jaquan Brisker and Arnold Ebiketie, who both endured minor injuries at Madison, needed as much rest as possible after overloading on reps the week before.

Credit Pry and his group for not allowing Ball State to establish an offense early so those important players don’t risk getting injured and can recoup before next week’s tilt against Auburn.

More impressively, Penn State still held Ball State to 13 points while rotating players in constantly.

Penn State’s critical offensive weapons in Jahan Dotson and Noah Cain made a name for themselves early against the Cardinals, so the coaching staff opted to rotate plenty of other names in at skill positions throughout the game.

Ten different Nittany Lions caught a pass in Saturday’s contest, including three running backs and two tight ends.

Sean Clifford even found himself out of the game at one point, making way for backup quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson in the fourth quarter.

Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich wasted no time getting Roberson comfortable, as the redshirt sophomore completed his first-career touchdown pass to Theo Johnson, who recorded his first touchdown with the catch, too.

The blue and white took control of Saturday’s home opener from the opening kickoff, but substitutions began rolling in consistently midway through the first half.

Franklin and his staff managed their roster and rep distribution against Ball State to the best of their ability. More importantly, many of the rotational players proved they can provide valuable minutes this season.

Not only did young and inexperienced players get their first taste of college football, but this also gave the Nittany Lions’ biggest contributors a break before next week’s White Out.

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