Penn State QB race is a dead heat
College Football Videos
Penn State's first 10 spring practices apparently did not produce any separation between the two quarterbacks who are competing to replace record-setting Matt McGloin.
That does not necessarily mean that neither Steven Bench nor Tyler Ferguson will have an edge after spring practice concludes April 20 with the annual Blue-White game.
“Any time you have practices left, there's always enough time for one guy to separate himself,” coach Bill O'Brien said, “and we'll see what happens over the next few practices.”
O'Brien is in no hurry to settle on a successor to McGloin, especially since the second-year coach will want to take a long look at incoming blue-chip quarterback Christian Hackenberg during preseason practice.
The Hackenberg factor isn't the only reason why Bench and Ferguson have been splitting repetitions with the first-team offense this spring.
“I think they've both had their good moments and their bad moments,” O'Brien said.
That is to be expected considering each is only a sophomore with limited experience.
Bench played sparingly behind McGloin last season, learning O'Brien's offense. Ferguson played last season at the College of the Sequoias in California, throwing for 2,614 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has been cramming to learn O'Brien's complex offense since enrolling at Penn State in January.
“Man, he's picking it up quick,” starting right guard John Urschel said of Ferguson. “Both of these guys are doing a great job of understanding the entire offense and really taking a leadership role at that position.”
“These are smart guys,” the second-year coach said. “It's not like they've made a ton of mental errors. I think that these guys have had productive practices. Has every play been great? No, but you can say that at every position.”
O'Brien hasn't babied his quarterbacks after having McGloin, who led the Big Ten in passing as a fifth-year senior. He has expanded the offense he installed last year, which has put as much pressure on Bench and Ferguson to keep up with O'Brien as much as with each other.
O'Brien said before the start of spring drills that he wouldn't name a starting quarterback going into the summer because of Hackenberg, who won't enroll until late June. Quarterback is the only unsettled position on an offense that returns eight starters and will plug in Adam Gress and Ty Howle at right tackle and center, respectively.
O'Brien still has plenty of time before he has to make a decision at quarterback. The Blue-White game, which represents the 15th and final practice of the spring, is little more than a week away.
“The word patience is a very important word, especially as it relates to me,” O'Brien said. “Coming from pro football I definitely have to learn more patience with all of these young players, and I think I have. But I can even do a better job of being more patient because these guys are 18, 19 years old. We've got to let them grow and that's what we're trying to do.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: After reinterpreting rule, draft pick sought for Bylsma’s hiring
- Dormont man missing since Wednesday found dead at Station Square
- NFL notebook: Broncos left tackle Clady tears ACL, likely out for season
- Belle Vernon scores 4 runs in wild 7th inning to capture WPIAL title
- Sabres hire Bylsma as coach; Penguins receive 3rd-round pick
- Pirates’ Morton hopes he’s past injury-riddled part of career
- Police: Man riding bike in New Kensington strikes truck, dies
- Gorman: Team Dugan gets gold, like a champ
- Pyrotechnics to be used in TV filming in New Kensington
- Penguins GM Rutherford ‘wouldn’t make’ Despres trade today
- Taliani’s 3 homers propel Deer Lakes to 2nd WPIAL softball title in 4 seasons