I want to dispute or at least question some ideas that seem to have become almost 'common knowledge' among Penn State fans. Be warned, this is a long rant and most of you will probably disagree with almost all of it.
First, on offense strategy. When did running the ball consistently with play action bombs down the sideline become conservative? When did a bunch of short dumps out of the backfield to RBs or just behind the LBs to TEs become zOMG AWESOME FOOBAWWW!!!?!? I LOVE watching three yards and a cloud of dust combined with an explosive vertical passing game. When it works, it's dominant, and when you try and fail, you don't deserve to win anyway. I HATE dinking and dunking down the field and trying to trick defenses into giving up yards. It's boring.
Next, is the idea that the QBs have been THE PROBLEM on offense. QBs need receivers can consistently get open and catch the ball. We haven't had that since 2008. And even in 2008, they sucked at getting off the line vs. teams like OSU and Iowa when the refs let the DBs consistently get away with murder on the field. That, plus a line that can't pass protect for more than 2.5 seconds = disaster for almost any QB. The WRs, TEs, and RBs were PITIFUL last year as receivers. Like, by far the worst since 2004 bad. Even great QBs need their receivers to make some big time plays for them - we couldn't even get ours to make EASY plays consistently. I can think of at least 10 easy TDs that were flat DROPPED last year. And at least another 10 drops that would have been huge plays. Yes, the QBs were inconsistent and made bad throws. But they also got no help from their receivers. And this year, they lost their top three targets, who weren't that great to begin with. There's a reason Kersey's done next to nothing for four years. He can't catch the damn ball!
Finally, where did the idea come from that McGloin shouldn't be throwing deep passes? He throws a GREAT deep ball - easily on par with Clark and possibly better. The sideline bomb to Moye was easily his best throw. Here's some YPC stats, ranked by YPC.
MR 2005 YPC 14.5
DC 2008 YPC 13.5
MM 2010 YPC 13.11
DC 2009 YPC 12.94
MM 2011 YPC 12.568
RB 2010 YPC 12.14
AM 2007 YPC 11.3
AM 2006 YPC 9.77
RB 2011 YPC 5.07
As you can see MRob was a freak. Although, his YPC is helped by the fact that his legs were his short passing game. Clark was great at the deep ball when he had one of the greatest receiving/TE corps in PSU history, then fell off in 2009 when almost the entire offense around him was replaced. McGloin is right there behind DC, and has consistently been better than Morelli and Bolden. Also, wow, did Bolden fall of last year. McGloin throws a beautiful, NFL 50 yard bomb. It is not an arm punt. It has plenty of velocity and the right amount of arc. He can't throw it 60 yards or more in the air like Jones. Not that many NFL QBs can either.
McGloin's problem was never forcing it deep to often, or arm strength in general. He can drive a ball when he needs to, with a quick release and without stepping into it. I actually first saw it in a Blue White Game, while listening to the radio broadcast with Joe. McGloin DRILLED a TD pass off his back foot to a back-up TE, and Jones and Joe Pa were both audibly WOWed. Of course most people dismissed this because it was a walk-on in a BW game, and only stars are allowed to demonstrate ability in scrimmages.
By far most of McGloin's picks come from throwing the ball late to the outside. He also has trouble reading disguised zones, and doesn't recognize when he's getting baited. People seem to confuse that with him having a noodle arm. He doesn't . The difference between Drew Brees and McGloin is decision making and especially accuracy. If McGloin had Brees' brain and accuracy, NO ONE would complain about his physical attributes. Which brings me to McGloin's other problem - he sucks at leading receivers on drags across the middle. That was his problem vs. Alabama, not his 'lack of talent.' He came in cold, and couldn't get in rhythm with the WRs. He threw several balls behind them, and because they suck they couldn't catch them.
Ok, I'm done ranting now. My conclusion is - the offense this year rests on a couple of guys being able to get open and catch the ball consistently, and being able to make a tough catch on an errant pass on occasion. That includes the deep game. If you can't hit the deep ball consistently when it's open, defenses do what they did to Bolden for a year and a half. Walk the safeties up and blitz with impunity. McGloin will be effective if we can get a TE or two to be as good as 2009 Brackett and some WRs who can beat press coverage. The end.