September 15, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O

Like It Or Not, Bill O'Brien is Molding Matt McGloin Into a Good Quarterback

In previous seasons, I have been extremely critical of Penn State senior quarterback Matt McGloin. There were times when he would show a little something…then come right back and have me screaming at my television. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?!?” I would say. I haven’t done much yelling this season.

McGloin has some physical limitations that aren’t going to go away. He’s not the biggest guy, he’s not going to outrun many people and he struggles a bit with accuracy, when throwing the deep ball. It’s the fringe skills that McGloin has always shown glimpses of. Checking down, going through progressions and making the right decisions. He has improved at all of those things this season. In situations where, last year, he would have just thrown it up to Derek Moye, he now knows where his tight end is dragging across his eyes and hits him.

Despite Allen Robinson being the clear go-to guy, Matt McGloin completed passes to eight different receivers on Saturday. Against Ohio and Virginia: seven each. Where Matt used to panic and lock on a guy, he is now making better, quicker decisions and finding the open man, no matter who it may be. That is a small but crucial step because teams are going to start rolling coverage to Robinson and O’Brien has to be able to rely on McGloin to go the other way. I think McGloin is at that point of trust.

His career-high 135.8 QB rating has him just trailing Matt Barkley and Landry Jones and ahead of guys like Everett Golson and Danny O’Brien. His eight touchdowns this year tie him with last season’s total and are enough to currently lead the Big Ten. His lone interception came during garbage time, down two scores to Ohio.

Detractors will point to the competition to this point, but Ohio is 3-0, Virginia hasn’t allowed more than 200 yards passing to anyone (MM had 197, missing time with injury) and Navy only allowed 197 yards of passing from Notre Dame in the opening week. Things are going to get more difficult for Penn State, but this hasn’t been your regular cupcake out-of-conference schedule

Bill O’Brien said that he wishes he had Matt for another year or two, because the quarterback understands the offense and knows how to help each player in it perform better. I’m not usually one to buy into “coach talk” but I think that comment is sincere. Matt McGloin is benefiting from the Bill O’Brien era. Whether it’s the coach, the quarterback or the offense, it’s working.

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