Hand Darryl Clark the Big 10 MVP

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By Paul M. Banks

When the Big Ten MVP award is handed out today, many people think it will be either Wisconsin RB John Clay or Northwestern QB Mike Kafka. If those two names and the numbers behind them don’t overwhelm you, it’s because this year has no true front-runner. There’s no clear-cut number one. Preseason player of the year Terrelle Pryor has proven himself to be more overrated than Miley Cyrus. No one else on Ohio State, or Iowa for that matter comes close to deserving it.

Obviously, I think it would be really cool if a player on the team I cover (Kafka) won the award, but I’m not going to let that bias my choice here. Kafka just hasn’t accounted for enough TDs to win the award, and I think more of his success lies with the excellent work of his coaching staff (And Pat Fitzgerald deserves Big Ten Coach of the Years honors, in my opinion). The guy who has accrued touchdowns aplenty is Penn State QB Darryl Clark, who set the school record for TD passes in a season, and in a career on Saturday. Think about that. All the great players to play the top spot at a school that is top 5 all time in victories. Clark has truly impressed, and I asked his Offensive Coordinator Jay Paterno all about it after the Northwestern game on Halloween.

“Some of the throws he’s made the last couple of weeks have been fantastic, he’s in a rhythm and hopefully, people around the country take notice of him…“I certainly don’t think there’s anybody better at quarterback in the nation right now. Whether that makes him Heisman worthy or not that’s for other people to decide, but you have to show me a guy who’s having better year than he is. I wouldn’t trade him for anybody,” said the man likely to inherit the program from JoePa. Jay is also the man said to be actually pulling the strings in Happy Valley right now.

In recent years, Penn State deity/head coach Joe Paterno and company have gotten away from the traditional I-formation sets in their base offense and today rely on the “Spread HD.” PSU quarterbacks today are more often mobile, dual threats (Zack Mills, Michael Robinson) instead of the classic drop back passers of yesteryear (Kerry Collins, Todd Blackledge). Like President Barack Obama said, “it’s not enough to change the players, you have to change the game.” 2008 All-Big Ten quarterback Darryl Clark is the latest in the line of total offense generating machines being produced in Beaver Stadium.Darryl-Clark

“I think the biggest thing with darryl is that he’s even-keeled, and that’s one of the things you have to do if you want to be a big time quarterback, you can’t be too emotional. The game’s gonna be good and its gonna be bad. You’re going to miss throws, guys are going to miss protections,” Jay Paterno said.

Darryl Lawrence Clark is a 6-2 233 pound senior from Youngstown, Ohio. He was quite loquacious at Big Ten Media Day, which should serve him well as he works towards his second college degree in journalism- he finished his first degree in telecommunications last December. When asked who might win the Big Ten, if Penn State does not, Clark responded: “I don’t even want to answer that because I want to win the Big Ten. The conference is so unpredictable; you never know who the sleeper teams are, who’s going to creep up. Not to sound cocky or nothing like that, but we were predicted {in ‘08} what 5th? 6th? And we won it, so you just never know.” This season most experts predicted PSU to finish 2nd. So most forecasters pretty much got it right.

In ’08, he did sort of come out of nowhere to accomplish A LOT. He became just the second QB in Nittany Lion history to become an All-Conference first team quarterback as he threw for 2,592 yards (third highest in school history) while tossing just 6 interceptions against 19 TDs, leading Nittany Nation to a 11-2 record, the aforementioned conference championship and a Rose Bowl appearance. He was among the best passers in the nation, but also ran for 9 TDs on the ground and 282 yards. The 29 touchdowns he accounted for was a school record. If there were fantasy leagues for college players, Clark would no doubt be a first round pick. And this year, individually he topped those numbers. So basically he’s earned it.

Penn State QB Darryl Clark: Interview/Profile

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By Paul M. Banks

In recent years, Penn State deity/head coach Joe Paterno and company have gotten away from the traditional I-formation sets in their base offense and today rely on the “Spread HD.” PSU quarterbacks today are more often mobile, dual threats (Zack Mills, Michael Robinson) instead of the classic drop back passers of yesteryear (Kerry Collins, Todd Blackledge). Like President Barack Obama said, “it’s not enough to change the players, you have to change the game.” All-Big Ten quarterback Darryl Clark is the latest in the line of total offense generating machines being produced in Beaver Stadium.

Darryl Lawrence Clark is a 6-2 233 pound senior from Youngstown, Ohio. He was quite loquacious at Big Ten Media Day, which should serve him well as he works towards his second college degree in journalism- he finished his first degree in telecommunications last December. When asked who might win the Big Ten, if Penn State does not, Clark responded: “I don’t even want to answer that because I want to win the Big Ten. The conference is so unpredictable; you never know who the sleeper teams are, who’s going to creep up. Not to sound cocky or nothing like that, but we were predicted {in ‘08} what 5th? 6th? And we won it, so you just never know.” This season most experts are predicting PSU to finish 2nd.

Last year, he did sort of come out of nowhere to accomplish A LOT. He became just the second QB in Nittany Lion history to become an All-Conference first team quarterback as he threw for 2,592 yards (third highest in school history) while tossing just 6 interceptions against 19 TDs, leading Nittany Nation to a 11-2 record, the aforementioned confernce championship and a Rose Bowl appearance. He was among the best passers in the nation, but also ran for 9 TDs on the ground and 282 yards. The 29 touchdowns he accounted for was a school record. If there were fantasy leagues for college players, Clark would no doubt be a first round pick.

Of course, last year Clark benefited from having a great supporting cast and a stellar offensive line. In 2009, questions on the O-Line surface from JoePa and football experts alike. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have a great offensive line coach at every level, so I’ve never worried about one player not coming to play,” Clark said. Aside from Center Steven Wisniewski and Tackle Dennis Landolt, the big boys up front this year are highly uncertain and far from intimidating.

Clark expressed no concern. “You just to have to trust in your guys that they’ll make the plays for you., they’ll step up for you, they make that block for you in tough situations like 3rd & 1. Our O-Line has to make that push for our running backs,” he said. He’ll need his hogs in front of him to step up if he hopes to duplicate (or perhaps build upon and grow) 2008’s success. Last year, Clark was a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien and Maxwell awards. He’ll no doubt be on the watch list for those awards, as well as All-American, Unitas Award and the Silver Football. He currently projects as a 6th-7th rounder in the NFL Draft.