Trying to glean any concrete meaning from a pre-season JoePa press conference may be an exercise in futility, but as I was reading over the media day transcript, one line in particular caught my eye:
Well, there isn't anybody with any experience out there, so when you say you're going to play a freshman or what have you, we may be forced into playing a freshman. I think we have really the (Kevin) Newsome kid is really a freshman. He started in January a year ago.
I should begin by saying that I am very much in the Bolden camp. He was the most highly-touted prospect of the four candidates. He blew everyone away at the Elite 11. Plus, from what we hear, he's lighting it up in preseason practices. Given that all of the candidates will have a lot to learn once they take the field, why not make sure we have the most talented guy in there?
My only concern has been the seniority issue. Joe and the rest of the staff have always given preference to more senior guys--sometimes even at the expense of a clearly more talented younger player. So, I have been worried that Bolden and Jones would be put at a disadvantage to Newsome and McGloin simply because Newsome and McGloin had been around a year longer. Joe's comment during the spring practice press conferences that he "doesn't even know freshmen exist" yet helped to feed that fear.
This comment helped to ease my concern. I read it as Joe saying that none of the candidates will get any sort of preference in the competition as a result of their seniority--that even Newsome, who's been with the program longest and is the only one with Penn State game experience, will be viewed as a freshmen for purposes of this competition. Maybe his experience and familiarity with the program has made him the best QB of the bunch, but he'll have to show it on the field like everyone else.
Perhaps I'm making a mountain out of a molehill here--after all, it's mid-August, and I'm football-starved. Still, I'm starting to think it's more likely we see Bolden take the helm come September.