I keep reading posts by fans and articles by sportswriters that talk about Bolden being the "future" of the program and how he needs to get reps in so that he's prepared for next season. But my question is - is he really the future of the PSU program? Yes, Bolden is a better athlete than McGloin. Yes, I think Bolden has a better arm than McGloin. But is he a better quarterback than McGloin?
Most people will agree that a college-level quarterback doesn't necessarily have to be a pro-type prospect to be successful in college. There have been plenty of very successful college QBs who ended their playing days once they used up their eligibility. There have been extremely successful college QBs who were moderate to unmitigated disasters at the pro level (Ryan Leaf, Casey Clausen, Chris Weinke, Gino Torretta, etc).
I think the majority of fans began the 2010 season dreading the possibility that McGloin could win the QB competition since all that was known about him was that he was a former walk-on and was apparently somewhat cocky. Everyone assumed that Kevin Newsome would win the spot until after the Blue and White game when neither he nor McGloin really imressed anyone. McGloin's performance in the game seemed to reinforce the idea that he was simply a walk-on who was needed as a filler once Pat Devlin decided to transfer and PSU was short a back-up QB. Jones was the apparent star of the game, and many thought he might rise up as the starter. But then we heard about how Bolden was imressing everyone in practice and excitement began to build around him.
So, everyone (myself included) was predisposed to dismiss McGloin because of the label of "former walk-on" and because of a poor showing in the Blue and White game.
However, except for the two INTs in the (t)OSU game which weren't necessarily McGloins fault since a case can be made that the play calling in the second half, and the key injuries that had occurred, played a contributing role to those two pick-sixes. Other than those to picks (which were costly, I agree), McGloin has played excellent football overall. the team's scoring production has dramatically increased (yes, the defenses haven't been as strong as the ones Bolden faced although the tOSU defense in the first half of the game was) and the red zone effectiveness has gone up. Most importantly, with McGloin in, the offense plays with a spark and that's not something that athletic ability brings out. It's brought out by leadership and confidence.
Bolden supporters say that Robert Bolden will be a better QB next year once he has the summer to grow and learn more of the play book. However, doesn't the same hold true for McGloin? If McGloin goes through the summer as the starter, getting more reps with the 1st string, doesn't it hold to reason that he too would be an even more effective QB next year? With a strong stable of receivers, what should be a more stable O-line, and Silas Redd who'll gain experience over the summer, shouldn't we expect McGloin to grow even more in the roll just as we expect Bolden to grow if he is given more 1st string reps?
Personally, I would like to see PSU go with the guy who wins; the guy who isn't necessarily the best player on the field but who elevates everyone elses' game and gets the team to play as a team. Denard Robinson is one heck of an athlete, so is Tyrell Pryor. Michigan has won games because Robinson does so much all by himself. (t)OSU mostly seems to win games despite Pryor who really has never lived up to the hype with which he enter college.
If Bolden is chosen as the starter next season I believe he will more than likely do very well. But, from what I've seen this year I think Matt McGloin, given an off-season to grow and gain even more experience, is PSU's best option for a truly outstanding season in 2011. The guy is a winner a'la Doug Flutie. He's not the best, most gifted athlete on the field, but he has the intangibles of leadership and confidence.