|Dialed in: Penn St. QB Clark reaches out to M-Rob|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 11 September 2008 10:36|
No wonder fans are noticing similarities between Clark and Michael Robinson, the dual-threat quarterback who took the Nittany Lions to the Orange Bowl three years ago.
``When they call me 'Little Mike-Rob,' I'll take that compliment any time,'' Clark said.
Clark's first year as quarterback of the Nittany Lions' ``Spread HD'' is off to a fantastic start. No. 17 Penn State has averaged more than 55 points and 524 yards in its first two games - blowouts against Championship Subdivision school Coastal Carolina and middle-of-the-pack Pac-10 team Oregon State.
a bank vault.
It has led some Penn State die-hards to wonder if this unit will be as good as the Robinson-led 2005 offense that won the Big Ten title, or even the undefeated 1994 juggernaut paced by quarterback Kerry Collins that went to the Rose Bowl.
Never a fan of historical comparisons, coach Joe Paterno wants no part of that discussion.
``Don't get too excited yet, OK? We've got a long, long way to be a good football team,'' Paterno said. ``A long way to go.''
At least Clark got a head start thanks to a little help from Robinson.
The two first connected when Robinson hosted Clark during a recruiting trip. They have kept in touch ever since, including phone calls over the previous two seasons while Clark served as the backup to Anthony Morelli.
Clark has leaned on Robinson even more after winning a close preseason race for the starting job over sophomore Pat Devlin. Robinson and Clark have spoken before the last two games, talking about football, school, ``pretty much about everything,'' Clark said.
Robinson stresses film study to Clark, and the student has obliged by picking up the routine that Robinson had. Clark reviews game film three times: first, just for pure enjoyment; second, to watch how aggressive a defense plays up front; and third to analyze coverages.
ne because of injuries and suspensions.
Paterno has said he is unsure if end Maurice Evans or tackle Abe Koroma will be available for Saturday's game at Syracuse. Paterno suspended the two last week for an unspecified off-field issue.
Cool and confident, Clark seems to have emulated Robinson's poised pocket presence, too.
``We just take that responsibility upon ourselves even if they didn't go through that,'' Clark said about helping the defense. ``If we have long drives and come up with a lot of points, it just relieves the pressure, on both sides really.''
Like Paterno, Clark also knows there's a ways to go before any comparisons can be drawn to past glory teams. Robinson, now a backup running back with the San Francisco 49ers, reminded Clark as much in a recent lighthearted text message about a 20-yard gain off a sweep that Clark turned into a first down in the Oregon State game.
``He said, 'You got to score on that quarterback sweep. If it were me, I would have scored,''' Clark recalled. ``I thought it was hilarious.''