In his weekly press conference yesterday, Penn State coach Joe Paterno was asked several questions about the Lions quarterback situation. This is what he had to say on the subject:
Q. Joe, my question is about Matt McGloin. After the Indiana game he expressed some frustration with still coming off the bench. Are you aware he’s frustrated and does it concern you at all?
COACH PATERNO: Well, I’m not concerned about the frustration, no. He’s not said anything to me. You’d have to give me a little bit more specifics about that.
I think anybody, when you’re a competitor, you’d like to be the whole show, if you can. I think there are times when obviously we all get caught off balance, maybe in a mood that we’re not receptive to the situation. I think that may be the case.
But I’ve not seen that in practice. I’ve not seen it with his attitude towards his teammates or the competition he has. So that surprises me to be frank with you because that’s the first I heard of that. I think most of the time I’m trying to watch I know it’s not an easy situation and I’m trying to make sure I look and spend more time probably watching that situation than I have maybe in a long time any particular situation.
I’m surprised to hear that. But I don’t think it’s had any impact, at least it didn’t yesterday. We had a decent practice yesterday.
This has been a good team. I get a little bit disappointed some people haven’t taken into consideration some things. But then yesterday they came out and they all seemed like, “Hey, let’s get on with it.”
Q. Joe, even if Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin are on equal balance, are there specific things that you can see that one of them does better than the other?
COACH PATERNO: That’s a good question, but it’s a tough question to answer, because I really can’t. Poor Jay (Paterno), who gets criticized, I make those decisions whether we’ve got to make a switch at quarter, whether we’re going to do things at different times. I try to watch…
Now that I’m back on the sidelines somewhat, hopefully this week I’ll be there the whole game because as you can see I’m walking now and I’m off the pain pills, I’m sleeping at night now and the whole bit. So I kind of try to watch and see.
But I don’t see much of a difference in the way we perform under either kid, I really don’t. That makes me very, very reluctant because they both work so hard, they’re good kids, good students, good citizens and the whole bit. For me to go out there and say, “Hey, you’re better than the other guy,” because right now I honestly can’t tell you one’s better than the other.
Q. What have you seen this season from Matt McGloin that’s different from last season particularly in terms of his decision-making?
COACH PATERNO: Well, I think the year of experience, the experiences he had. We had no intention of playing him a lot last year. Bolden got hurt a little bit. We put him (McGloin) in. He did a good job. I think he came into the season with a whole different attitude. He came into spring practice with a different attitude, that he was good enough to play, he was ready to show how good he was. I think he’s worked hard. He’s got a lot of great qualities about him.
Q. Would it change anything if Rob came in as the second (quarterback)?
COACH PATERNO: You’re still going. You’re getting to sound like a coach. Got more lullabies than I have (laughter).
I think I’ve made that clear. It doesn’t make any difference. I’m not even sure the guys, when we go in there, know who’s starting. I’m talking about the team. Obviously the kids who are playing know, the quarterbacks know whether they’re going to start or not start, yes. They both know they’re going to play.
Last week I said we played 80 something plays. I think each played 40 something plays. I think one played 41, one played 42, I don’t know. I’d have to look at it but I wouldn’t be too far off.
I think in answer to your deposition, is that the word? (smiling), I think we’re doing the best we can, trying to do what’s best for the team, what’s best for the two kids. You have to remember we’re dealing with human beings. They’re college kids.
It’s still not a professional team. There’s some kids out there. Just had a couple in this morning about owning up to some responsibility. We’re trying to get them interested in doing things in the community, whether it’s in Special Olympics, Lift for Life, the Dance Marathon, we’re trying to make them understand that the good Lord has been good to them, the whole bit.
I’ve got reluctance to say, “Hey, we’re going to play one just because everybody says to play one.” You’re talking to a guy that’s always been a one quarterback guy. I always have been fortunate enough that we’ve had one guy that I could feel comfortable was the guy that was the one quarterback. This year we have two.
Q. You have started slow a few times. I’m just wondering if you’re concerned about Bolden’s psyche to bring him in second to see what McGloin could do first?
COACH PATERNO: Sometimes I feel that way. Bolden went in there, made a drive (first possession at Indiana). First time we had the football, drove twice, one time we had to kick the football. Yeah, I think that’s a good point, but I don’t think that I’m worried about that right now, whether I start Bolden or McGloin. I don’t even know who is going to start this week. You guys are going to say, “He’s a big phony.” Honest to goodness, I don’t know.
Q. You know McGloin hasn’t started yet, right?
COACH PATERNO: I didn’t even know that. McGloin hasn’t started? I know we haven’t started Rudel. When that happens, I know I’ve got troubles.
No, I don’t think that makes much difference. I do think, though, the initial point you made, I do think that once you get something established and you have a chance on the sideline to watch, when you go in, you may have an advantage. But it isn’t as if when we’ve taken the second kid, taking a guy who has not started I’d rather say that that the guy that started is through for the day. That’s not the way it happens.
We’ve alternated them. The advantage of the one who goes in there the second time, he may have. In some cases, the guy that started, he has the same advantage because he’s on the sideline.
My take on Paterno’s comments is that he is no closer to naming a starting quarterback than he was in August. And that indecision on his and the coaching staff part is hurting this football team.