Penn State: Former walk-on McGloin believes he can win starting quarterback job
Matt McGloin played in three games last season attempting two passes, both incomplete.
Matt McGloin, right, with quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno.
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Matt McGloin believes he is a legitimate contender for Penn State's starting quarterback job.
But the former walk-on knows there are plenty of skeptics who don't think he will overtake Kevin Newsome, who held a slight edge in the competition entering the start of preseason practice six days ago.
"Because I am a former walk-on, people assume I can't get the job done," McGloin said. "It just makes me work harder and use that as motivation. That's where I am right now. ... I wouldn't consider [Newsome] having the lead over me.
"Each day, you're fighting to gain that respect. I think so far I've gotten it from my teammates and the coaches. Right now, I'm just trying to work on getting it from the fans."
• Game: Penn State vs. Youngstown State, University Park, Pa.
• When: Noon, Sept. 4.
• TV: Big Ten Network.
This isn't the first time McGloin has been an underdog.
He was a three-year starter at West Scranton High School and threw for 5,485 yards and 58 touchdowns while leading his team to two Class AAA district crowns and a league title.
Yet, he received just two scholarship offers from Division I-AA schools, Colgate and Lehigh -- both members of the Patriot League -- before Penn State extended an offer as a preferred walk-on.
"I got some interest from Division I-A schools, but I just wasn't able to pull that off," McGloin said. "They were all waiting on Terrelle Pryor and guys like that.
"But Penn State called and said, 'Why don't you walk on and take a visit.' Where else in the country would you rather be than Penn State? I am very fortunate I landed here."
McGloin, 6 feet 1 and 206 pounds, redshirted as a freshman in 2008, but was rewarded with a scholarship last August. He served as the No. 3 quarterback last year behind Newsome, now a sophomore, and Big Ten Conference co-MVP Daryll Clark.
McGloin played sparingly in three games. He attempted two passes, both incompletions.
Despite his lack of playing experience, McGloin is confident he is ready to lead the Nittany Lions' Spread HD offense.
"Some people don't think I have the speed or the arm strength, which I kind of disagree with," he said. "I can control the game and I think the team rallies around me as it is.
"They show me I can be a leader in and out of the huddle. I believe I can get the job done."
Although Penn State has plenty of experience at tailback, wide receiver and on the offensive line, former quarterback-turned-receiver Brett Brackett said the play of the starting quarterback ultimately will decide Penn State's fate.
"I think that's true with any team," Brackett said. "The quarterback has to be the leader. He's a very important part of any offense."
Quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno said McGloin and Newsome both will get their share of snaps with the first team during preseason practice.
"Everybody likes to know, 'Is it Kevin's job to lose or is it Matt's job to lose,' " Paterno said. "We're not at that point yet. We'll see how it plays out. The fortunate thing is, we have talent. So as long as you got talent, you can work with them.
"Ideally, you'd like to have a guy that's going to take the first snap and get off the bus first and the whole nine yards. But if we have two guys that are good enough to play, we may play two of them [Sept. 4 against Youngstown State]."
NOTES -- Wide receiver Curtis Drake broke his leg during practice Monday and is out indefinitely. He was listed as No. 2 on the preseason depth chart behind Brackett at one of the three wide receiver spots. ... Tailback Evan Royster is one of 30 players who have been named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation player of the year preseason watch list. He also is a nominee for the Maxwell Award, given to the best player in the country. ... Defensive end Jack Crawford is on the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which goes to the country's top defensive player, and on the Hendricks Award list, given to the top defensive end.
First Published August 11, 2010 12:00 am