The Morning(s) After. Well, it was a fun little whirlwind of spring football. Catastrophic, team-crippling injuries were minimal. Blue-White weekend came and went without being either completely washed out or ruined by the ongoing War Of The Roses between the University hierarchy and the Paterno family. A good time was had by all. Actually, it's a shame that we didn't have a between-quarters award presentation by the Board of Trustees, or a cameo from Graham Spanier. Probably would've sounded a bit like this:
Wait, You're Just Looking For An Excuse To Shoehorn In A Ravishing Ri-- Yeah, yeah, so what? HIT THE MUSIC.
Ravishing Rick Rude Heel Heat SuperBrawl II 1992 (via pughead)
HA HA HA HA HA. We don't need to address Ki-Jana Carter's BTN appearance other than to kindly suggest he takes a look at this. Okay, on with the links:
Dear Leaders. As you would expect, much of the post-game analysis focused on Bill O'Brien and the expectaions for his quarterbacks.
The mental burden on the PSU QB will be huge. And that is a departure from past PSU offenses. The late Joe Paterno's QBs were, um, limited by the called play.
"If a play is called, it's our job to get us into the right play,'' said McGloin, who threw for 105 yards and a TD -- to wideout Christian Kuntz, the former Trinity star. He was also intercepted once and was just 6 of 13.
"I mean, last year, it was kind of, 'This is the play, you're going to run this play'. It's totally different right now. We might have two or three plays called before we break the huddle.
"So it's our job to get us into the right play, know what the defense is doing, make sure we get everyone in the right spots. … The quarterback's the field general in this offense and we run the show.''
Later, McGloin was asked about the quarterback's freedom to audible, or change the play. It's expected now. McGloin, who split time with Bolden last season, estimated he called five audibles total in 2011.
"We might audible five times in one series this year,'' McGloin said.
McGloin added, in a story by Mark Wogenrich of the Allentown Morning Call:
"It is different," McGloin said. "Guys are getting the same amount of reps. We're communicating more, having more fun out there. The most important thing is, we're being told the truth. Coach is being honest with us, and in the past that really hasn't happened too much."
There's a secret tunnel out of Beaver Stadium, Paul Jones says, that he took after every home game last fall. He left as invisibly as possible, going back to his apartment to cry. So when head coach Bill O'Brien conferred "clean slates" upon the football team last winter, no one took a deeper breath of relief than the promising Penn State quarterback."I have a chance to put the real Paul Jones out there," he said Saturday, "so everybody will get a real chance to see me."
The situation reached a pitch midseason, when Jones said me met with former quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno and his academic advisor. He was presented with two options: Tough it out at Penn State or reset his academic progress at a junior college.
"I was depressed, I'm not going to lie," Jones said. "I spent a lot of time crying, a lot of time feeling bad for myself. You try having a thick skin about people saying stuff [regarding his eligibility], but at the end of the day I'm just turning 20 next month. So I'm still a kid, and it definitely hurt."
This semester, Jones said, his grades have improved to "all Bs," and he has learned to distinguish football from class. He keeps his course syllabus and playbook in full view as separate reminders of his priorities.
You can talk for months about competition, about the struggle of finding equal snaps for three different quarterbacks, about judging each based solely on what happens going forward. And coach Bill O'Brien has.
But if the quarterback taking the first snaps in practice is the same quarterback taking the first snaps in an exhibition game in front of 60,000 people, then it's only fair to be able to draw a conclusion about who seems to be the frontrunner to take the first snap Sept. 1 in the season opener against Ohio.
This competition isn't nearly as interesting as people think it is, on the surface.
This wasn't the offense Penn State is going to run. And it's not fair to ask three quarterbacks splitting first- team reps to have a grasp of an offense installed two months ago. Rob Bolden didn't have it. He threw three interceptions. Paul Jones didn't have it, either. For as gifted as he looked, he completed just six of his 15 passes.
McGloin didn't separate himself with his performance. But he did as many good things as the other competitors. Maybe, more good things. And he stresses that the best is yet to come. Not because he thinks what he has done so far is good enough, but because the new coaching staff is giving him a much better chance to improve than the old one did.
"I don't know how to explain it, but it's different," McGloin said. "There's more communication. We're having more fun out there. The most important thing though is that we're being told the truth. The coaches are being honest with you. They tell you what you're doing wrong. They tell you where you're at every day. And that didn't happen in the past."
Collins is probably right on this, incidentally. McGloin is the quarterback until he isn't, and Jones seems to be building a case to become one of the most popular backup quarterbacks in the last few decades at Penn State -- which is really saying something, at Penn State.
In Provincial, Non-Quarterback News. The Blue-White game gives columnists a chance to write about their local Penn State products, so Donnie Collins also checked in with fellow Scrantonian, Eric Shrive:
He didn't allow a sack, wasn't penalized, helped a line that sparked the running game and is hoping that's enough to push John Urschel for the starting job in the fall.
"I think I played well," Shrive said. "I got a lot of reps, and that's the main thing. We were able to run block. We've got some stuff to work on in the passing game, for our first time out, I thought we played really well."
Shrive has been one of the many players who have benefitted from the change in coaching staff. He said he has bought into the new techniques taught by offensive line coach Mac McWhorter, and his work in the weight room with strength trainer Craig Fitzgerald was evident at the point of attack.
Shrive was listed as 312 pounds, but he said that doesn't tell the story of the strength he has been able to add.
"The old staff is what it was," Shrive said. "But going in here with the new staff, I'm really looking forward to the fresh start. I think you're going to see a lot of improvement."
We spent a lot of time during the last few months talking about how the quarterbacks were benefitting from a fresh start under a new coaching staff. The fresh start given to the offensive linemen may be almost as important of a story, especially in light of the strength and conditioning program's makeover. If Penn State can build a supply of 8-9 credible offensive linemen, a lot of fans (and quarterbacks, and running backs) will be breathing easier in September.
Okay, One More BOB Note. From Lenn Robbins in the New York Post:
O’Brien is not Paterno and no one should make him out to be. But it is fascinating that he, too, went to Brown and when his mentor learned of his passion to coach it also did not sit well.
"I said, ‘Are you an idiot?’" Jim Bernhardt, O’Brien’s linebacker coach at Brown and now a special assistant to his former student at Penn State, told The Post. "You have an Ivy League education and you want to coach? But Bill always had a great understanding of who he is and what he wants to achieve.’’