Penn State's Paterno says quarterback competition very close
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State coach Joe Paterno went out of his way Wednesday to praise the top contenders in the team's quarterback derby.
He said sophomore Rob Bolden and redshirt junior Matt McGloin have performed admirably with the first-team offense in spring drills, which conclude Saturday with the Blue-White Game at Beaver Stadium.
"I've been very pleased with the quarterback situation," Paterno said on a Big Ten teleconference. "I don't think there's any doubt that we have at least two kids who are ready to go and play and do a good job for us.
"Bolden, in particular, has got a tremendous amount of ability. He's a big tall kid and can really throw the football. He may not move around quite as well as McGloin does, but he's close. So I feel pretty good about our quarterback situation."
Bolden's future, though, remains up in the air.
On Wednesday, his mother, Tonia Williams, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette she is uncertain whether her son will remain with the Nittany Lions after this semester or transfer to another Division I school.
"I'm not sure what he's going to do," Williams said from her home in suburban Detroit. "Our last conversation, he didn't say if he was staying or if he was leaving. He's a grown man now. He's able to make his own decisions. The ball is in his court."
Bolden and McGloin, who started five of the final six games last season after Bolden had a concussion, went through their 14th and final practice Wednesday with the rest of the team.
Receiver Derek Moye believes Bolden will remain at Penn State, even though Bolden sought to be released from his scholarship in early January. Paterno denied that request.
"[Rob's] performing really well and I think he's given himself a good opportunity to compete for the job and start this year," Moye said. "I don't really see any reason for him to leave."
Moye is one of about 19 players who were limited or sitting out spring practice with injures. He returned to non-contact drills Wednesday for the first time since getting a concussion April 2 from a hit by strong safety Drew Astorino.
Moye, from Rochester High School, said, "There's actually a chance that I could play on Saturday."
As many as six projected defensive starters could be missing from the spring game because of injuries: Astorino, free safety Nick Sukay (Greensburg Central Catholic), cornerback D'Anton Lynn, defensive ends Eric Latimore and Jack Crawford and outside linebacker Nathan Stupar.
"This is one of those years where we've had a lot of injuries, but at the same time, it's given a lot of the younger guys a chance to get some reps," Moye said.
Paterno, 84, is entering his 46th season as coach. The Lions dropped three of their final four games a year ago to finish 7-6, which did not please him.
"I don't think I did a particularly good job last year, to be frank with you," he said. "Part of it was that I didn't want to push some of the younger kids. We were a very, very young football team last year, probably the youngest team I've had. And we had a lot of kids bumped up."
Paterno spent the spring trying to toughen up his team.
"I have not knowingly gone out and said I'm going to do more than I've done," he said. "But I have been aware of the fact that I think we're going to have to do one heck of a coaching job, starting with the head coach. We got to do a better job than we did last year.
"I've enjoyed this team. I still enjoy coaching. Thank God the good Lord has kept me healthy."
First Published April 14, 2011 12:40 am