I honestly didn't think it would happen this way. Maybe he'd work his way into the job by the end of September; maybe he'd even establish himself as the go-to guy before the end of the Youngstown State game. But as for Saturday's first snap, I figured it would be a toss-up between McGloin and Newsome.
So, when news dropped tonight that Bolden would be the starter for game 1, I was honestly a little bit shocked. Now, skeptics will focus on the tentativeness of JoePa's comments in the press release, and argue that this is still very much an open race. That may be true, but at this point, I think it won't be relevant. In under 3 months with the program, Bolden has come farther than Newsome did in his first 19 months with the program, and farther than McGloin did in his first 25 months. At that pace, even if the race is still completely open, do you see either Newsome or McGloin catching up to, passing, and remaining ahead of Bolden? I could MAYBE see it happen for a game or two early in the season, but if Bolden is ahead now, I think he'll stay ahead for good. All that being said, I doubt the race is completely open at this point. If he's come this far, it's Bolden's job to lose now; unless he has a significant breakdown or lapse in development, I expect the job to remain his.
So, it's time to start talking about what to expect from the Penn State offense.
I think that this decision is a pretty strong endorsement of the offensive line. I don't think the coaches would put Bolden in so soon if they thought he'd spend the bulk of his snaps either on his back or running for his life; that would kill his confidence and make him develop bad habits, especially considering how young he is. Joe talked on Tuesday about how far the line had come in camp; a decision like this certainly backs up that assertion.
I still expect the running game to be the focus of the offense. Our WRs may be great and Bolden may have a great arm, but it's going to take time for him to be able to read the trickier defensive schemes that are going to be thrown his way. Royster, on the other hand, can find his way through just about anything. Maybe as the season goes on, we'll get back to churning out the perfectly balanced running and passing stats which this staff loves so much. But in the mean time, I think we'll see a whole lot of Royster, while Bolden won't be asked to do much more than avoid making dumb mistakes.
The question remains as to how McGloin and Newsome will be used. I think, or at least hope, that Newsome will be willing to follow in the MRob mold: take one for the team, and use his formidable athletic ability wherever the coaches line him up. It certainly worked for Robinson, who's collecting his fifth year of NFL paychecks by still stepping up wherever the 'Niners need him. Could Newsome land a starting QB job somewhere else if he were to transfer? Probably. But I think he'd develop into a better player if he stays here and plays the Swiss Army Knife role; I hope he sees it that way too. As for McGloin: for all his talk about confidence and leadership, he might not be willing to fill the Paul Cianciolo role at this point. Maybe the offense will find more room for him than I'm expecting, maybe he'll be happy as a career back-up, or maybe he'll take his chances at another school. I think a transfer is the least likely scenario, but I could see him going any of those three ways.
Anyway, these are just a few thoughts after a day in which my brain was overloaded with football news. What do all of you think about the implications of Bolden being named the starter tonight?