Freshman QB Bolden getting extremely rare opportunity
College Football Videos
Not even 83-year-old Joe Paterno was around the last time a true freshman started at quarterback to open a season for Penn State.
That last occurred 100 years ago, when Eugene "Shorty" Miller led the Nittany Lions at the beginning of the 1910 season, according to Lou Prato, author of "The Penn State Football Encyclopedia."
It's expected to finally happen again, as true freshman Robert Bolden is slated to start at quarterback in the Nittany Lions' season opener Saturday against Youngstown State.
"I really think that it shows Joe has changed," Prato said. "People don't realize he has changed slightly over the years. He used to be pretty set in his ways because he was very successful, just like a lot of people would be."
Miller, from Harrisburg, went on to start all four seasons at Penn State, missing just one game. In 1913, he rushed for 250 yards against Carnegie Tech — a Penn State single-game rushing record that lasted 68 years.
At 5-foot-5 and 145 pounds, Miller became known as the "Meteoric Midget." He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1974, eight years after his death.
The only certainty surrounding Bolden and his 6-foot-3, 221-pound frame is that he never will share a nickname with Miller. On his weekly radio show, Paterno said it's likely Matt McGloin and Kevin Newsome will receive some playing time at quarterback Saturday.
"All of them have ability," the coach said. "... And it was a tough, tough decision and one that may change.
"The other kids are not gonna sit around and sulk. Hopefully, they'll say, 'Hey, I'm not sure, Paterno; he doesn't know what he's talking about,' and go after it."
Bolden will become the third true freshman quarterback to start a game for Paterno.
The last true freshman to start at quarterback for Penn State was Wally Richardson in the Nittany Lions' home opener against Temple on Sept. 12, 1992. Before Richardson, Tony Sacca started five games as a true freshman in 1988.
Penn State suffered injuries to its quarterbacks in both cases, leaving Paterno without a choice. This time, the decision was his.
And though the result surprised many, Paterno felt the nature of the position, like himself, has evolved over the years.
"I don't know if it's easier or harder," Paterno said. "They're better prepared. Most of the kids we need to come in early and wanna compete as freshman for starting jobs ... most of them have had really good experiences.
"You can turn the television on now and see high school games and see some of the better players in the country, and there are so many things that are going on these days that never used to happen 25, 30 years ago, such as summer camps, senior camps, places where a kid can go and work with somebody who may be an expert at that particular position."
Look no further than Daryll Clark, the man Bolden is replacing.
The two-time first-team All-Big Ten quarterback had the opportunity to teach Bolden at the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camp in July 2009 in California.
"When I first saw him throw the ball, his mechanics were on point," Clark said. "He was very accurate with the football. I was very impressed.
"I was out there for four days, and I came back and told the players, 'Listen, once everything is said and done, Bolden will have a legitimate shot to prove himself.' "
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.
- With Malkin out, Penguins fall to Flyers, 4-1
- Wines claimed to be toxic with arsenic won’t be pulled by state Liquor Control Board
- Former Plum teacher says he warned district about possible inappropriate conduct
- Fear of being grounded keeps some pilots from revealing mental issues
- Greensburg Salem school board discusses stricter anti-nepotism policy
- Couple files lawsuit claiming Ruffsdale Gun Club contaminates soil, water
- Jeannette teen ordered to stand trial in classmate’s slaying
- Authorities release name of Greensburg man who jumped off overpass onto Route 30
- Ligonier Township business will have to control grease
- Coach Jordano providing steady hand for Pitt baseball program
- A mayor and his dog: Peduto adopts from Western Pennsylvania Humane Society