UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Originally, Penn State fans were supposed to find out who would start at quarterback midway through preseason camp. Then coach Bill O'Brien decided to wait a while longer. The end of this week, he said, he would announce his starter.
Then Thursday happened and O'Brien had now set a new date -- never. He might not make an official announcement.
"It might not come until next week. You know, it might come the first play of the game on offense," he said. "It's my job to run the football team. I'm always going to do what's best for the football team.
"That has nothing to do with indecisiveness or doing this or doing that. All I care about is that the guys in the team meeting room know where they are headed, and our guys have a very clear direction of where they're headed on both sides of the ball."
O'Brien has spoken highly of both candidates, freshman Christian Hackenberg and sophomore Tyler Ferguson, calling them two of the best young quarterbacks he has coached. He has complimented their accuracy and their arm strength. And he has said both will likely play this year.
That doesn't mean he'll rotate them in and out in some sort of dual quarterback system. He has said he doesn't like doing that. Like the actual starter, he has not made his strategy clear.
"When you have two young guys, it's a totally different situation than last year," O'Brien said. "Whoever the backup is, is a young guy that needs to get his feet wet a little bit.
"So, why not play him a series here or there, just to get him into a major college football game and let him get his feet wet? I think that's important, too."
Youth to be served
Hackenberg likely will not be the only true freshman who plays for Penn State this season. O'Brien said he expects tight end Adam Breneman to play, as well as tackle Andrew Nelson and wide receiver Richy Anderson. He also said walk-on Von Walker might contribute on special teams. On the defensive side, he said that at this point he doesn't see many true freshmen contributing this season.
Mark Dent: email@example.com and Twitter @mdent05.