PSU's McGloin aims to keep hold of starting QB job
By GENARO C. ARMAS
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) For the first time in three summers, Penn State doesn't have an offseason quarterback quandary.
Coach Bill O'Brien put any suspense to rest last week when he named Matt McGloin the starter.
"I can kind of relax a little now," McGloin joked Thursday.
Not so fast, Matt.
There's the matter of mastering the new offense installed this spring by O'Brien, the former coordinator of the New England Patriots' high-octane attack. O'Brien was also the Patriots' quarterback coach, and his star pupil was Tom Brady - one of the best signal-callers in the NFL.
Now, O'Brien's starting quarterback is McGloin, a senior who split time at the position the previous two seasons with Rob Bolden. Each season, Bolden opened as the starter before McGloin wrested away the position down the stretch.
McGloin finished with 1,571 passing yards and eight touchdowns with a 54 percent completion percentage in 2011. He sat out the 30-14 loss to Houston in the TicketCity Bowl in January because of a concussion.
"It gives me more time to focus on the playbook, focus on mechanics ... trying to keep people together to run routes, things like that," McGloin said before he and about two dozen teammates volunteered at the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania Summer Games on Thursday, held at Penn State.
"Now that I've been named the starter, I understand that I have to work harder than ever just to keep that spot. But I'm glad he announced it when he did."
O'Brien's predecessor, the late Joe Paterno, avoided naming a starting quarterback the last two offseasons. Not coincidentally, perhaps, the Nittany Lions struggled offensively the last two years. Starting with a clean slate, O'Brien said he didn't watch much offensive film from 2011 in hoping to make depth chart decisions based on his evaluations from the spring.
As promised, O'Brien waited until he had a chance to view this spring's film, which he finished last month. After McGloin, redshirt sophomore Paul Jones is next on the depth chart, while Bolden has fallen to third.
Rarely lacking in confidence, McGloin said Thursday he felt he had separated himself enough about 10 practices into the 15-session spring drills that it was "his job to lose."
The announcement wasn't a surprise to right guard John Urschel.
"For us, it wasn't really a huge mystery because Matt's doing so well," said Urschel, McGloin's first-round "draft pick" for the team's tweaked offseason workout regimen that promotes more competition. The summer strength and conditioning program builds on similar changes instituted under O'Brien this spring that favors free weights and lifting over exercise machines.
Captains for the workout teams took turns choosing players for the 7-player squads, like picking sides for a sandlot baseball game. Linebacker Michael Mauti took athletic tailback Silas Redd with the first pick, a potent one-two punch that has guided their team to the top the leaderboard.
McGloin said his workout team is in the middle of the pack. "We've got to pick it up a little, get up into the top five," he said with a laugh.
He knows full well how to finish first - down the stretch - after a tough start.
NOTE: Junior Khairi Fortt starts running next week for the first time since having surgery in April to fix a dislocated right kneecap. Fortt said he's had the injury off and on since ninth grade, but that the surgery will hopefully fix the problem for good. Fortt wears No. 11 - the same number worn by LaVar Arrington and more recently, Navorro Bowman. Fortt, who is listed atop the depth chart at middle linebacker along with incumbent Glenn Carson, expects to be ready for the start of training camp in August.
Updated June 8, 2012