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McGloin out to prove O'Brien right

| Monday, July 16, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Tribune-Review
Matt McGloin will enter Penn State training camp as the starting QB. Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review

While Penn State braces for possible NCAA sanctions following the release of the Freeh Report, at least one thing is settled when it comes to the football team: quarterback.

Coach Bill O'Brien named senior Matt McGloin the starter in early June, with Paul Jones as his backup and Rob Bolden the No. 3 signal caller. The move headed off any quarterback controversy more than two months before the start of preseason practice.

For McGloin, a former walk-on who shared the position with Bolden the past two seasons, O'Brien's decision meant he has had to work even harder.

“I have to prove not only to the coaches and to the players but also to Penn State nation that Coach O'Brien did make the right decision,” McGloin said. “At any time, someone can lose their starting position.”

Jones isn't conceding anything after getting over the initial disappointment of not winning the three-man competition following spring practice.

“I don't think it will ever be over in my mind until someone clearly tells me there will be no chance at all,” the Sto-Rox graduate said. “All I can do is fight hard and keep working hard.”

The season will be the first one that Jones, a once-ballyhooed recruit, actually suits up. The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder sat out the previous two years because of academic issues but is now on firm footing.

Jones is the most physically gifted of the quarterbacks, but McGloin is nothing if not a competitor, and his experience and grasp of the new offense allowed the 6-1, 209-pounder to win the starting job.

McGloin, who threw for 1,571 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions last season, already has earned his journalism degree. He did not take classes during the summer, allowing him to concentrate on the new strength and conditioning program as well as to lead his teammates in voluntary passing drills.

There is another benefit, McGloin said, to having a solid grasp on the starting job.

“I'm actually able to focus on the playbook more, watch film more,” he said. “I'm more focused on my mechanics, not having to worry about where I stand or what I have to do to get that role.”

Tailback Silas Redd said having a starting quarterback going into preseason practice gives the offense more of an “identity.”

As for how different the offense will look, Redd said, “A lot of formations and different things are going into the offense. It's a real versatile offense.”

Note: A decision on the future of the Joe Paterno statue outside of Beaver Stadium has not been made, Penn State said in a statement. The statue has become a lightning rod for criticism after the Freeh Report criticized top Penn State officials, including Paterno, for creating a culture of secrecy that allowed former assistant Jerry Sandusky to sexually assault young boys on campus. There have been widespread calls to tear down the statue. “Contrary to various reports, neither the Board of Trustees nor University Administration has taken a vote or made a decision regarding the Joe Paterno statue at Beaver Stadium,” the school said in a statement.

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com.

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