Here’s how Penn State QB Trace McSorley believes he, and the Lions, have improved between January and now
Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley celebrate during the Penn State Lift for Life on July 15, 2017. Joe Hermitt | firstname.lastname@example.org
Trace McSorley seems to be a guy who likes routine, which is why a summer internship at Merrill Lynch was perfect for his growth as a quarterback this offseason.
No. 9 worked at the financial firm during the first half of the summer in State College before returning to the typical offseason life of classes, player-run workouts, lifting with the strength staff, and diving into film study with his teammates.
Both reminded him of the need to balance things in-season, when classes plus studying and practices have to mesh together before perhaps Friday travel for an away game or a hotel stay to get focused at home.
Doing what he does in season during the off season helped McSorley move forward as a player heading into another big year for the Nittany Lions.
“It keeps you in a routine,” McSorley said. “You have certain responsibilities you have to take care of. It gets busy at times, but it helps me stay in a routine.”
McSorley has helped lead player-run 7-on-7 matchups against the defense (linebacker Jason Cabinda is one of the players who helps spearhead things on the other side), and they’ve found a specific area of focus that could pay big dividends in their pursuit of another Big Ten title.
Of course, the reigning conference title game MVP also has made personal strides.
“For me, the biggest step that I’ve made is in the field room and mentally,” McSorley said. “Self-critiquing myself and the team, what we need to do in our offensive scheme and where we can improve, and then trying to improve my defensive study.”
As for the team as a whole?
“The big thing is attention to detail,” he continued. “The small things. Making sure your hats on the ride side if your blocking, or for me taking the correct footwork every time. Obviously third down was a little bit of an issue for us, so that’s an area we need to improve.
“We’ll do team 7-on-7, and we’ve done a decent amount of third down work because offensively that’s where we feel like we need to improve and defensively they want to get off the field, and then when you get to the red zone, that’s a time when you need to get points on the board. We have a great kicker, but if we can punch it in the end zone, that’s better.”
Penn State is a consensus top-five team heading into the new season, and along with that comes plenty of attention. The quarterback said he and his teammates are focusing on the little things, which will help the big things take care of themselves.
“All the media attention, I guess that’s kind of been amplified this year,’ McSorley said. “It’s kind of out of our control. We just try and control the things we can control, and that’s just how we approach it.
“At the end of the day, the work is going to be put in behind the scenes, and those are the things that are going to make a difference for the season at the end of the day.”