At Penn State's annual Coaches Vs. Cancer golf tournament today, Bill O'Brien spoke briefly with the media, but during that short availability, he dropped a couple of bombshell announcements, as reported by BWI's Ryan Snyder, among a host of writers.
First, O'Brien said that he had informed the team earlier today that Matt McGloin would be the starting quarterback heading into the 2012 season. The coach also confirmed reports that Curtis Drake was no longer with the team--adding that he won't be back.
McGloin began each of the previous two seasons as a backup before taking the starting job from Rob Bolden, but this year's competition was between the redshirt senior and Paul Jones, in his first year of academic eligibility, and seemed to feature McGloin as the incumbent. O'Brien did also confirm that Jones will be heading into the season as Penn State's #2 QB.
What this means depends on how you feel about McGloin. Last year, he was undoubtedly the lesser of two evils--even if he did have a propensity for massive struggles in big games--but with a new offense, and a fresh start, the hope was that Paul Jones would prove himself worthy of overtaking McGloin in the race. Even O'Brien, in his press conferences, seemed hopeful that Jones would distinguish himself. This announcement signals that Jones hasn't, yet, and turning back to the experienced McGloin is the safer choice. And the more practice reps he can get in the complicated O'Brien offense, the better.
As for Curtis Drake, the sad saga seems to have taken its final turn. The athlete-cum-wide receiver-cum-wildcat quarterback-cum-cornerback had reportedly been dogged by ongoing academic issues, and this seems to be the final straw on a promising career cut short by the curse of adolescence.
Drake had, by all accounts, been turning heads as a corner--playing much of the Blue/White Game with the ones--but there's only so much agita a coach can be expected to bear. From concerns about grades to legal problems to fighting teammates, Drake made the news more often for his off-field transgressions than his tremendous on-field talent.
This once again leaves a gaping hole in Penn State's already-thin secondary; if Drake wasn't going to start, he would at least have been the nickel, a heavy contributor to the defensive back corps. After Adrian Amos' move to safety, Derrick Thomas, Stephon Morris, and Mike Wallace are now the only cornerbacks on scholarship (a few incoming freshmen, like Da'Quan Davis and Jordan Lucas could be reinforcements)--but hey, Devin Pryor and Jesse Della Valle sure looked good during the Blue/White Game!