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Penn State Football's Biggest Chip Is Hiding In Plain Sight

by on August 24, 2017 1:55 PM

Generally speaking Trace McSorley has too much on his plate to get into the perceptions surrounding the offense he's tasked with running.

You think they're throwing it to the deepest receiver? Good for you. You think Penn State is chucking up prayers? That's certainly one way to look at it.

But it doesn't mean you're right.

Following practice on Wednesday, McSorley finally got a chance to address some of those things, chief among them, offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead's passionate defense of his quarterback. One that made sure to give credit where it's due, McSorley is making the right choices, making tough throws, and doing it at a high level.

"A kid couldn't lead the league in multiple passing categories and set school single season records and be on the verge of multiple other school records if he was just throwing the ball indiscriminately down the field," Moorhead said at the time. "In a lot of ways, I feel that minimizes the role of the people who game plan the plays, the person who calls them, and the player who executes them...."

Asked about Moorhead's rant, one that lasted longer than the quote above, McSorley just smiled. He knew it was coming, because Moorhead told him he was looking for a chance to speak his mind. And he got it.

“For him, he felt like people were saying his offense is just to step back and throw it deep," McSorley said "Like, let’s call a deep shot and hope it works. How he draws up plays, he’s the best coordinator I’ve ever been around.”

“Obviously it meant a lot to me to have him go to bat for me, instill confidence in me and the whole offense. To know that your offensive coordinator’s going to put himself out there and defend everyone on the field, it’s great for the team.”

Asked if it bothered him, McSorley smiled and passed on the opportunity to go to bat for himself, a quarterback who is coming off one of the best statistical seasons in Penn State history, still having to fend off doubters.

That doesn't mean the critics don't bother him. If anything, Penn State's s biggest narrative this season is hiding in plain sight. The perception of Penn State's 2016 season is based on the belief that the Nittany Lions were the recipients of fortunate bounces.

Did Penn State get lucky? Sure. But 2017 is as much about proving that it wasn't a fluke as it is anything else, and proving that point with a bit of a chip on the shoulder. Forget the defense, forget National Title hopes, forget all of that. This offense wants to prove its renaissance wasn't a mistake.

So can they do it again? For the likes of McSorley and Moorhead, it's a foregone conclusion. One they're looking forward to proving. 

"Absolutely." Moorhead said.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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