Former Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg didn’t have the best 2015 with the Nittany Lions.
In fact his production the last two seasons has been on the decline.
Looking to rectify himself in the pre NFL Draft season, Hackenberg has placed the blame for his failing stats on Penn State head coach James Franklin. According to sources cited by the Monday Morning Quarterback, Hackenberg has told at least two executives from two NFL clubs that his struggles the past few seasons have been the fault of Franklin.
Per two personnel sources on two separate teams who have shown interest in drafting Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg, the quarterback has said all the wrong things in interviews when asked to explain his declining sophomore and junior numbers (a combined 28 touchdowns and 21 interceptions). Hackenberg has shifted blame to coach James Franklin, who took over in 2014 when coach Bill O’Brien departed for the Texans. Said one evaluator: “Despite the fact that it’s probably true, you don’t want to hear a kid say that.
First off, it’s totally understandable that NFL teams are being turned off by Hackenberg’s comments and pushing Frankin in front of the bus to get run over by it. It’s shows a tremendous lack of maturity on Hackenberg’s part and something the NFL will usually bury a player over if they go that route with the media.
However at the same time, Hackenberg does have a bit of a point.
Since Franklin took over the Nittany Lions from Bill O’Brien, Hackenberg has seen a decline in his production. In 2013, while a freshman Hackenberg completed 231 passes on 392 attempts good for a 58.9 percentage. However after O’Brien left, Hackenberg saw his completion percentage go from that 58.9 to 55.8 in 2014 and 53.5 this past season. This means Hackenberg’s best season with Penn State came his freshman season when he threw a total of 20 touchdowns and had a passer rating of 134.0. The only time he’d come close to this again is in 2015 when he accumulated a passer rating of 123.9.
Again Hackenberg has somewhat of a point, but not much of an excuse. While it’s agreeable that Franklin sucks as a head coach, Hackenberg hasn’t done himself any favors when it comes to adaptability, something that he’ll have to do if he want’s to make a successful jump to the NFL.