For most of the late spring and early summer, it's been all quiet on the Penn State quarterback competition front. Friday's Lift for Life event at Holuba Hall, however, offered some insight from a number of players on how things are progressing in offseason work outs and 7-on-7 drills.
Matthew McGloin wasn't shy about expressing his confidence that he'll by "the guy" for Penn State at QB once the season opens September 3 against Indiana State.
"In my mind, I am the guy to beat right now," McGloin said before his lift session. "It's just the way I go about my things. Obviously, there is an open competition, but I feel like I'm going to go in there and perform well and it's going to be my job in the fall."
McGloin finished 2010 with 1,548 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions on 118-215 (54.9%) passing. Five of those picks came in Penn State's now infamous Outback Bowl loss against Florida on New Year's Day in Tampa, reinforcing notions that he is reckless and a little bit of a loose cannon with the football.
With that in mind, when McGloin was asked what he's trying to improve on this offseason, he dropped an easy answer.
"Definitely decision making," McGloin said. "Just being more consistent at times. At times last year I played very well, but at times I played very bad and I think I really did improve on that this spring. I really buckled down and that was my main focus was making the right decisions."
Sophomore quarterback Rob Bolden, after flirting with transfer in the winter, is back on campus as well and looking to snatch the starting job away from McGloin. Bolden earned the starting job to open last season and threw for 1,370 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions before he was knocked out against Minnesota and backup to McGloin, mostly, from there on out.
In an interview with BWI's Nate Bauer, Bolden said he's working on a lot of things as he prepares for fall camp.
I've been working on a lot of footwork, and I've been in that film room. That film room helps so much. Every time I watch a game from last year, I've watched every single one like three or four times with my pops back home and when Daryll (Clark) was up here, just taking advantage of everything that everybody has to offer. It definitely helps.
In the spring, coach Joe Paterno said he's "99 percent sure" the starter will be either Bolden or McGloin. Kevin Newsome and Paul Jones are also back on campus, but it would appear the former pair is the one most poised to lead a Nittany Lion offense loaded with skill position weapons in 2011.
One of those weapons will be wide receiver Derek Moye. He believes the team will be comfortable with whoever is named the starter, despite the fact he caught seven of his eight touchdown passes from McGloin in 2010.
"At the time last year I think [McGloin] might have had a little better grasp of the offense," Moye said. "Bolden wasn't even here for a full year yet. He was only hear for a summer so he was still learning things in the game."
Regardless of which player wins the job, though, Moye hopes a starter is named earlier than it was last season, when the announcement didn't come until just before Penn State's opener against Youngstown State at Beaver Stadium.
Offensive lineman Chima Okoli is anxious to see the competition play out as well. Okoli, who replaced the injured Lou Eliades on the offensive line midway through last season, believes the competition will force both guys to work their hardest in camp to earn the job.
"No spots are promised, no spots are guaranteed," Okoli said. "They're gonna work like they're No. 2."
It seems the general sense around the team, however, is that both men are prepared to orchestrate the offense this coming season and have stepped up as leaders in the very early going.
Linebacker Nathan Stupar has been on the other side of the ball from the quarterbacks in drills and seems impressed by what he's seen.
"The quarterbacks, in general, have been leaders," Stupar said. "They've been working their butts off and have been out there every other day working with receivers, and timing up routes."
Camp is still a few weeks away, but the quarterback competition is already well under way. It should be interesting to monitor developments in the coming weeks.