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Penn's McNally Maps Course as Safety
Former backup QB playing a role in Penn’s secondary
With so much attention bestowed on Penn quarterback Robert Irvin and his backup-slash-punter Kyle Olson, most people have probably forgotten about junior Brendan McNally.
McNally saw some snaps in five games last year as the second-stringer to then-senior Bryan Walker. He threw three interceptions in just 12 attempts.
So far this season, he’s been seeing snaps from the other side of the line - as a safety.
According to coach Al Bagnoli, the change was strategic. The Quakers have four senior safeties, so McNally will use this season as a learning period before stepping into a more permanent role next year.
“We knew short term, it was going to be an adjustment for him,” Bagnoli said. “But long term, it would be a tremendous move.”
The coach added that having McNally - who also sees special-teams action - at safety was likely a better fit for his skill set, considering his size (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) and athleticism.
Discipline is key.
The Quakers committed seven penalties in their 20-14 overtime loss to Villanova on Saturday, compared to the Wildcats’ one.
Four of Penn’s seven came before the snap - two false starts and two delay of games.
Bagnoli placed some of the blame on the Quakers’ gameplan.
“We intentionally tried to bleed the clock because of how many plays we saw Villanova run against West Virginia and Lehigh,” he said.
The Wildcats ran 87 plays against the Mountaineers in their season opener and 82 plays against the Mountain Hawks.
Yet he added that first-game jitters meant that offensive communication was somewhat lacking.
“When you cut it that close, because [Irvin is] going into the huddle with 20, 21 seconds, that doesn’t leave much room” for error, Bagnoli said. “We obviously have to cut those penalties down.”
You mean there aren’t any eggs?
With a 6 p.m. game at Lafayette on Saturday, the Red and Blue will trade their typical away-game routine for some rest and breakfast.
“It makes no sense to go on a Friday night,” Bagnoli said. “We’ll just do a normal Friday, let them sleep in late on Saturday. Then we’ll have a team meeting and a light continental breakfast before going up.”
Although he admitted that the game time was a little strange, Bagnoli only foresees potential problems with Saturday afternoon highway traffic.
An apple a day…
Aside from a few bumps and bruises, Bagnoli said there are no major injuries on his team heading into the Lafayette game.
McNally maps course as safety
By Brandon Moyse, The Daily Pennsylvanian
Media Credit: Mustafa Al-ammar/The Daily Pennsylvanian