UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa (WTAJ) — Penn State football coach James Franklin says senior defensive lineman PJ Mustipher is out for the season, and quarterback Sean Clifford is not.
While Franklin did not dive into the specifics of Clifford’s injury, while speaking to reporters Wednesday, he did say if Clifford was out for the year he would have addressed it. Clifford was hurt late in the first half against Iowa, and did not return. Clifford did not participate in the portion of Wednesday’s practice that was open to the media.
“It’s part of the game, Sean has had issues in the past,” said Franklin. “He’s doing everything he possibly can to get back as soon as he possibly can and go from there. What he’s dealing with is not uncommon for the quarterback position.”
When asked if Clifford would be available if the teams were playing this Saturday, Franklin says Clifford would be prepared to be the starter.
“Two things, he’s [Clifford] going to be preparing to be the starter,” said Franklin. “And number two, that’s a good way to ask me if he is healthy or not, and I’m not answering that question because I do not get into specifics when it comes to injuries. It’s a strategic and intelligent way of asking the question, but I’m not answering that. Sean is going to be the starter every single week.”
Mustipher, a senior defensive linemen, was injured in the opening drive against Iowa. He was seen on crutches throughout the second half of the game. The news is a blow for the Nittany Lions’ defense that relied on its 326 lbs tackle to anchor the defensive line.
Wednesday was the first time Franklin addressed the media since the loss at Iowa. It was also the first he spoke since Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz publicly backed Iowa fans who booed Penn State players. Ferentz alleged that Penn State faked injuries, and that the fans “smelled a rat.” Franklin had a more than 5-minute prepared response in which he challenged the sensibility of Penn State taking star players out of the game.
Penn State is on its bye Saturday, and will not play against until Saturday, October 23rd when it host Illinois.