When word leaked out on Monday that Bill O’Brien would be meeting with the media prior to Tuesday afternoon’s practice, the natural reaction was to expect a starting quarterback to be named. That did not happen, but for the second time in about a week, O’Brien alluded to the fact that he expects both quarterbacks to play. Wait, what?
The second those words came out of O’Brien’s mouth, thoughts of a Bolden-McGloin rotation of sorts creeped into the minds of countless PSU fans. And while O’Brien clarified on Tuesday that whoever is the starter (that will happen by the end of the week, by the way), they will see the majority of the snaps, my email and Twitter mentions were full of questions and concern about not settling on “the guy”.
While I have no idea to doubt O’Brien’s assertion that both guys will play, I think I view it a bit differently. Where most fans think of a rotation, and no clear cut number 1. I look at is as a head coach realizing that he has two inexperienced quarterback, and he will almost certainly need both quarterbacks. Where a veteran player gets a little more rope to play through a tough stretch, it is often counterproductive to have a young player try to power through their struggles. I think O’Brien looks at his two quarterbacks, and figures whoever he hands the keys to versus Syracuse is going to hit one of those rough patches, and will need a breather, and that’s where the backup will come in.
Sure, in a perfect world, Hackenberg or Ferguson takes the first snap in 10 days versus the Orange, and never looks back. But this is seldom a perfect world, especially when it comes to first time starters at quarterback. O’Brien will name a starter, and that will be his guy, but he also knows he has a talented alternative in his back pocket when that starter needs to take a step back. Not a bad plan, if you ask me.
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