Getting ready for spring football

Guess what? Basketball season for the Nittany Lions has come to an unfortuante conclusion (although it was one heck of a ride), which means it’s time to start thinking about that other revenue sport. It’s time to start thinking about the great game of football. We’re less than a month away from the annual Blue-White Game on April 16. Penn State will start spring practice tomorrow. You psyched yet?

If not, we get it. It’s probably because you don’t know who the quarterback/leader/target-for-all-your-angst will be in the fall. Ivan Maisel explains in an article for ESPN’s Big Ten Blog that you shouldn’t feel left out, because Joe Paterno doesn’t know who that guy is either.

If Joe Paterno sees one quarterback separate from the other, he may name a first-team choice by the end of the spring. He may not. As he said, we’ll have to trust him. But the Nittany Lions coaches are looking for more out of McGloin and Bolden than the ability to read the offense.

Yeah, but mostly we’re looking for more out of Rob Bolden, because he’s younger, has a higher ceiling and is supposedly more talented than Matt McGloin. Yes, the elder McGloin did play better than Bolden last season. The job he did on Michigan and the awesome comeback versus Northwestern were efforts that saved Penn State from a bowl-less season. However, with a season of experience and a spring of practice under Bolden’s belt (remember, a year ago young Rob was not even a PSU student yet), he should be able to surpass McGloin for the starting job. It certainly helps that Bolden has decided to commit himself to Nittany Lion football after considering transferring after the season.

The coaches liked how Bolden didn’t mope through winter conditioning. He passed the body-language test at the crack-of-dawn workouts. McGloin and Bolden have spent the winter studying video, reading defenses and relearning pass patterns so that they may hit the practice field running on Saturday. Jay Paterno went back and looked at how they played last season. The errors he saw were made not out of ignorance but out of competition. They tried to make plays happen, force plays that weren’t there to be made.

Bolden’s attempt to flee the program seemed puzzling back then, because as a true freshman he came out of nowhere to take the job in the first place. So what if he got benched? He wasn’t supposed to see the field until sophomore or junior year anyway! Oh well. If Bolden has matured at all as a player, he’ll likely have the job. McGloin meltdowns versus Ohio State and Florida certainly don’t hurt Rob’s case.

By the way, Audrey Snyder of The Collegian spoke with Bolden the other day. It sounds like he didn’t appreciate being left on the sideline at the Outback Bowl even as McGloin threw pick after pick after pick.

“I was thinking about it after my concussion and everything and I was seeing how things were going for the remainder of the season,” he said. “At the Outback Bowl [Joe] told me, even during the game, ‘make sure you’re ready.’ At one point I had my helmet and I’m ready to go and everything and [Matt] McGloin is struggling a little bit so I thought I had a chance to get in.”

Back over at, Adam Rittenberg has a short spring preview. In a nutshell:

  • Don’t forget about redshirt freshman Paul Jones in the quarterback discussion.
  • PSU needs a defensive end to step up to create a real pass rushing threat.
  • The coaching staff is virtually unchanged from 2010.
  • Gerald Hodges should be much improved after struggling with a leg injury last season.

The Blue-White game is one of my favorite times of the year, so the fact that spring practice is starting is just awesome. The next three PSU football seasons could be drastically affected by how Rob Bolden performs over the next few weeks, so make sure you keep up with the news from practice.

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Tags: Matt McGloin Rob Bolden

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