Final installment of a three part series reviewing the four potential candidates for the quarterback position.
Making the Case For….
The hot topic for the summer will be if Joe Paterno will let his team be led be a true freshman. In recent memory, the only two true freshman quarterbacks to start at Penn State were Wally Richardson and Tony Sacca (both due to injuries). Zack Mills was a redshirt freshman and even had to wait a few games before JoePa and company got tired of Matt Seneca making Beaver Stadium his own personal Waste Management site.
It's been a tail of two seasons for the freshmen. Paul Jones enrolled in January and got a chance to participate in Spring drills and the Spring Game. From all reports, Jones was the most impressive QB in the game throwing for two TDs. Fans were pumped up, hoping the freshman would eventually become the starter in the fall.
During the Spring of 2010, Robert Bolden was still in high school waiting to get on campus (with his head in the Penn State playbook). Since he has been on campus, Bolden has been every bit as impressive as Jones was during the spring, capping off his big week by throwing a 50 yard TD pass against the first team defense in last weeks scrimmage.
The question remains: Will Joe Paterno start a true freshman?
Zero. None. Zilch. Nada.
At this point in the game, no one cares that you were a 4 star recruit or an Army All-American. High school is over and your stats are erased. There have been plenty of instances were high school All-Americans do not translate that status to the college game (Brock Berlin at Florida/Miami, Ryan Perrilloux at LSU, Marcus Vick at Virgina Tech, Tommy Grady at Oklahoma/Utah, Xavier Lee at Florida State, Pat Bostick at Pitt). In many cases, HS All-Americans fail to develop into Superstars at the next level. For every Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford there is a Zac Wasserman and a Jared Hostetler WVU/Bloomsburg (a QB recruit from 2000, Nephew of former Penn State QB Jeff Hostetler).
If Bolden wins the job
It will be in week 4 vs. Temple. Bolden is performing at a high level and according to our source with knowledge of the competition, is set to take the starting job early in the season from Matt McGloin. If that happens, Jones will take a redshirt this season and create some separation between himself and Bolden. Bolden by all accounts has the mental capacity (to understand the playbook), arm, and legs to get the job done.
Joe has always been loyal to his older players and occasionally to a fault. Paterno gave Sennca every opportunity to keep his starting job and finally turned to the freshman Mills. Daryll Clark was never given the opportunity to unseat Anthony Morelli. This time around, the competition is just that: a competition. The players are out competing every day and the best player will get the job (eventually).
The offense, at least for this season will continue to be run heavy. They will put Bolden in situations where he can make some plays, but the playbook will be limited until he grasps the offense.
If Jones wins the job
Bolden takes a redshirt, and McGloin and Newsome sit at 2 and 3. At the end of the season, it would seem only fitting that Newsome either switch positions (safety, CB, WR) or transfer. McGloin could also potentially seek a transfer after getting a taste of the starting job. Like Bolden, if Jones does land the job, it won't be Week 1.
Evan Royster will still be the feature back and still rush for over 1,200 yards. Jay Paterno and company will utilize Jones' superior arm strength to take shots down the field with Derrick Moye and Devon Smith.
Our current QB situation has been created due to the departure of Pat Devlin. If Devlin stayed, Newsome would not be on the roster, Jones or Bolden might be here (but not both), and Matt McGloin would be relegated to Paul Cianciolo status (veteran player that JoePa will mention during the spring and summer yet have no real shot of ever becoming the starting QB at Penn State). We would have a 5th year senior at quarterback and potentially be in the hunt for a national championship (if the offensive line comes together).
Newsome will need to find another position or a new home. If he wants to be a starting QB, he will need to do it at another school. McGloin would also have to weigh his options. The freshman that is not named the QB is the wild card. If they want to wait, take a redshirt and get one year as the starter in 2014...that's an option. However, it is an option not many people would be willing to take.