McGloin eager to get to work as Penn State starting QB
He didn't need the announcement that ended the nearly two-year battle of Penn State quarterbacks.
What Bill O'Brien told his team Friday morning, McGloin said he has known for quite some time.
He's going to be Penn State's starting quarterback. And this time, there's no controversy.
Barring injury, the West Scranton grad will be under center to start Penn State's season opener against Ohio on Sept. 1.
"I've known for probably about a month now," McGloin told The Times-Tribune shortly after O'Brien's official announcement before a charity golf event in State College. "He had meetings at the end of the spring where he sat down with each quarterback, and pretty much every member of the team, and he told us where we all are, any plans he had for us and our role on the team.
"He was brutally honest with everything, and that's one of the things I really like about him. In that meeting, he told me where I was, that I was the starter."
Redshirt sophomore Paul Jones will be his top backup, O'Brien said. Rob Bolden, the one-time freshman phenom who had been entangled with McGloin in a tense battle for the starting position the past two seasons, will be the third-stringer.
Despite the fact that he knew about the decision for weeks, and that he easily led the Nittany Lions in passing yardage the past two seasons, McGloin said the formal announcement still provided him some excitement.
Not to mention, a sense of relief.
"There's no more talking about it now," he said. "I think it's great that the staff decided to name the starter now. It's good to know for the rest of the team. And most importantly for me, it's great to get my mind off of it."
Penn State has been locked in quarterback purgatory since Oct. 23, 2010, when McGloin relieved an injured Bolden and threw two touchdown passes to Derek Moye in a 33-21 win at Minnesota.
With Bolden still battling the effects of a concussion, McGloin dazzled the next week against Michigan at Beaver Stadium, throwing for 250 yards and a touchdown in a 41-31 win. Even after Bolden returned against Nortwestern, it was McGloin who rallied Penn State from a 21-0 deficit by throwing four touchdown passes in a 35-21 win. That win gave legendary head coach Joe Paterno his 400th win, and it made the quarterback controversy a weekly topic of conversation with the press.
McGloin started the final four games of 2010 for Penn State, but his five-interception performance against Florida in the Outback Bowl essentially opened the competition again in 2011.
Paterno never did name a starter last season, preferring to let both McGloin and Bolden take first-team snaps in practice every week. But while McGloin posted the superior statistics and higher scoring rates, Bolden started the first six games.
McGloin threw for 1,571 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions last season, starting the final five regular season games. He missed the TicketCity Bowl loss to Houston with a concussion suffered during a post-practice scuffle Dec. 17 with receiver Curtis Drake, who O'Brien announced Friday won't be back with the team this season. Bolden started the bowl game and struggled badly, completing 7 of 26 passes for 137 yards and three interceptions.
The performance of the offense the last two seasons was as uneven as the use of the quarterbacks. The Nittany Lions ranked 95th in the nation in total offense and 96th in passing offense. Only 10 teams averaged less than Penn State's 19.3 points per game.
"In the past," McGloin said, "I think if they had just put their trust into one guy, we might have been more successful."
When O'Brien took over as head coach in January, he said he had no qualms against using a two-quarterback system but he much preferred the prospect of naming a starter, handing him most of the practice reps, and letting his team rally around him.
McGloin said that, outside of a lot of congratulations and teammates telling him they "had my back," there wasn't much emotion displayed after O'Brien announced his decision. Everyone pretty much guessed anyway at that point, McGloin said.
With it out of the way, he said he can work on being a better leader now that he's entrenched as the starter. He can better work on his mechanics, because he'll be getting more practice repetitions. And as he moves forward as the first starting quarterback in the post-Joe Paterno era at Penn State, McGloin knows he's going to have to continue to earn the respect of his teammates.
"This is definitely exciting," McGloin said. "I always thought I should be in this position. But at the same time, I know how hard I need to work to stay as the starter. I am going to work my butt off, play really well and see how this team responds."
DONNIE COLLINS covers Penn State football for The Times-Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, read his blog at http://blogs.thetimes-tribune.com/pennstate/, or follow him on Twitter @psubst