Beginning 'Bama Week With a Reality Check

[Ed. Bumped b/c we could all use a little reflection this week - MVP]

Not for y'all, but just for myself.  Take from the story what you will.

This past Saturday, I was in full-on McGloin Derangement Syndrome mode.  I almost wanted that kid from Indiana State to go Pick Six just to finally put an end to the controversy.  I complained when I thought the staff was giving McGloin higher-percentage pass calls or when he got the short field to work from after the turnover.  I had gotten to the point of feeling real animus toward a Nittany Lion.  It was strange territory indeed, but nearly a year of #TeamPoise vs. #TeamMoxie had me feeling like I'd taken sides in a war, and my side had to win.  As we all know, nothing got settled with the vanilla, run-heavy gameplan used against the Sycamores, so going into this week, I had to choose between escalating the conflict or calling a truce.


I firmly believe that installing Bolden as the unchallenged starter is the right move and that McGloin is a great back-up whose shortcomings are exposed by any defense with a pulse.  My blood pressure rises when sports writers give McGloin credit for "leading" scoring drives that depended largely on running the fullback dive against an undersized defense or when "analysts" say he succeeded last year against "the heart of the Big Ten schedule," when they're referencing four of the worst defenses in the conference, including the historically awful 2010 Wolverines.  My opinion hasn't changed.

But a conversation with a friend last night helped me put that in perspective.  Because in the Winter of 2005, I also strongly believed that, coming off a four-win season and a run of lousy years before it, Joe was off his rocker to start the inconsistent Michael Robinson at QB for one year rather than moving him to WR full-time and grooming our blue chipper, QB14, instead.  Whoops.  On the surface, it made logical sense.  Knowing all that we do today, it sounds like borderline sacrilege, but at the time, MRob had shown very little to suggest he could deliver the season that was to come, and QB14 was a top recruit.  Fortunately, Joe and the staff knew better, just like they did when they stuck with John Shaffer over Matt Knizner.

I know BSD sometimes gets knocked as the Penn State homer blog, so I will probably take some guff for advocating a "trust the coaches" approach to this QB competition.  But that is what I have decided to do going forward.  I still believe I am right about Rob Bolden, and I am certainly still willing to question decisions by the coaching staff (like using two punt returners at the expense of an extra blocker).  I am also prepared to accept the judgment of the men who were so right about Michael Robinson in the face of many others, myself included, who were dead wrong.

From reading the message boards, comment threads, etc., I realize that there are many other folks out there who are in much the same position as I was - nervous about the short-term and long-range implications of the eventual outcome, bitter about perceived fan/media favoritism toward the other guy. After thinking back to the last time I thought I knew everything about a QB battle at Penn State, and how happy I was (at least for a year) to be wrong about it, I realized it was high time to exorcise any venom or vitriol from my fan experience.  This is not to suggest that the coaches won't pick Bolden in the end - I actually suspect they shall - but simply that I've accepted that the best player, based on what is best for this team, will play.  From a recovering victim of MDS, I highly recommend it.

It has been a very liberating revelation.  I love Penn State and trust this staff, and I will be rooting hard for whoever takes the snaps against Alabama and the rest of the teams on our schedule, secure in the belief that the right guy is out there.  Since breaking through that barrier, I've found myself to be much more relaxed about this week and beyond, and much more prepared to thoroughly enjoy what should be a great football week in Happy Valley.

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