Penn State sophomore quarterback Kevin Newsome looked to be a prohibitive favorite at quarterback coming into 2010; he was a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school two years ago, and he was the first quarterback off the bench as a true freshman last year. Granted, it was all garbage time, but he was still clearly being groomed for a 2010 starting spot. Moreover, Newsome's competition for that starting role is a former walkon redshirt sophomore and a couple true freshmen.
And yet, Newsome still hasn't won the starting role; even at a teleconference today, Joe Paterno couldn't pin down any of his QBs as his signal-caller going forward:
"I've got to be honest with you. We've got some kids who we really like, and [we] think they are going to be good, and there's more than one," Paterno said. "But at this stage, I couldn't tell you which one is going to come to the front as THE guy to lead the team, or whether we have one who can handle the kinds of situations that the quarterbacks are going to have to handle as this season goes on."
It's important to note, of course, that JoePa had similar deliberations about whether to start Daryll Clark or Joe Devlin in 2008, and that worked out well enough. JoePa's not going to let on any amount of confidence he may have in any of the QB candidates if he doesn't have to.
Still, something definitely seems to be awry; as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes (via Dr. Saturday), Paterno has never opened a season with a true freshman or walk-on (current or former) under center on week one. Not once, not in any of his 44 years. Also, the game's just a few days away; if he's slow-playing anything, now's the time to cut the charade and not continue freaking fans out. So let's put some fears at ease and examine the candidates:
- Kevin Newsome: Has the most in-game experience and arguably the most physical talent of the likely QBs. Still, if he were the guy, we should know that by now. Every day he spends sharing time with the first team in practice is more valuable experience lost.
- Matt McGlouin: Is in his third season with the program, but lacks the physical tools of his counterparts. However, if all Paterno wants his quarterback to do this year is hand off to Evan Royster and not try to impress anybody with his arm, McGlouin might be the guy.
- Robert Bolden: Only a true freshman, but has received rave reviews for his play in practice after joining the team early. May be the most gifted pure passer, but does he have any chance of knowing the playbook well enough to threaten the Alabama defense in week 2?
- Anthony Morelli: Starting experience in... hey, wait, get the hell out of here, Anthony Morelli! You graduated years ago! Jeez!