2010 was a unique year to be a QB at Penn State. The summer was the first open competition since the Daryll Clark vs. Pat Devlin derby back in 2008. True freshman Robert Bolden and Paul Jones were battling former walk-on (in case you haven't heard yet) sophomore Matt McGloin. To the surprise of everyone not named Rob Bolden, he won the job coming out of summer camp, Jones was redshirt and McGloin would caddy for the first few weeks of the season. McGloin ascended to the top spot on the depth chart due to a Bolden injury and despite an atrocious bowl game performance that included a record five interceptions, McGloin was never benched.
The made for TMZ drama was comical after the bowl game. Bolden Sr. and Jr. met with Joe Paterno to demand a release from his scholarship, a practice that has become fairly common in college football. Typically the school will grant the release with restrictions on a few schools. JoePa had other ideas. He denied Bolden his release and told him there would be an open competition for the position in the spring. Bolden is still on campus, but he appears to have one foot out the door, delivering multiple cryptic messages about him being here this Spring and doesn't know about the future. Well Rob, I can save you some time; Joe will not name a starter until the end of summer. He did it with Clark-Devlin and he even did it with John Shaffer and Matt Knizner after Shaffer led the team to the doorstep of a national championship back in 1985.
Lil' Red. McFavre. Scranton Slinger. FIGO. Jon Moxon. Joe Kane. The list is endless. There is even some wannabe Buzz Bissinger, Esq. in the Twitterverse who likes to call him by a different name (short form of Richard), but he is about as credible as Jim Tressel teaching a class on compliance in college football. The bottom line is McGloin has six months to win this job for the next two years. Like him or not, the kid got Penn State into a bowl game and the much needed practices that come along with it. Did he save the season? Maybe. Could Bolden have done what he did? Maybe. We only know what we saw and who we saw do it. And we saw Matt McGloin
There is no doubt he had a roller coaster season. Great games against Michigan, Northwestern, and the first half of the Ohio State game were often overshadowed by awful performances in the second half against Ohio State and in the bowl game against Florida. Statistically neither he nor Bolden were anything special. Bolden had the higher completion percentage (58% to 55%) while McGloin gets the edge for TDs (14 to 5), yards (1,548 to 1,360), and INTs (9 to 7). All those numbers show is there is plenty of room for improvement this spring.
The first measuring stick comes during the practices. As fans, we won't be able to see the progress of the QBs until April 16th during the Blue/White Game (Presented by AAA of course). In 2010, Jones was the headline grabber during the game, tossing two TDs. This years all eyes will be on McGloin and Bolden. Regardless of what happens in the spring, I suspect we won't find out the week one starter until the end of August. If they really wanted to make it a fair, open competition, they would make the kids compete through the summer.
The biggest thing Matt needs to work on this off-season is to stop trying to be "the next Brett Favre" and start being the first Matt McGloin.