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June 1, 2012
By Tony Mancuso
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Early on Friday morning, Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien informed the squad members in town for the summer that senior Matt McGloin would be the starting quarterback entering the 2012 season.
Coach O'Brien confirmed the news while addressing the media before teeing off at the 16th Annual Coaches Vs. Cancer Golf Tournament, hosted by Nittany Lion basketball head coach Patrick Chambers, at the Penn State Blue and White Courses at mid-day on Friday.
O'Brien cited McGloin's consistency running the offense throughout spring practice as the driving force behind his decision to name the Scranton native the starter heading into the season.
"He (McGloin) was the most consistent guy throughout the spring," Coach O'Brien said. He has good command of the offense at this point. He's a tough kid. He's a competitive kid. He's shown good leadership qualities. I just felt like he is the No. 1 quarterback."
O'Brien repeatedly said throughout the spring that no group faced a steeper learning curve during spring practice than the quarterbacks. Learning a new offensive language, commanding the offense at the line of scrimmage while reading the defense and practicing at a swift pace were all challenges for McGloin and the rest of the quarterbacks during their first spring under the direction of O'Brien. McGloin improved each day and played the best football of the spring at the end of the practice season and ultimately earned the starting assignment, which sent the fiery competitor into the summer with a great deal of confidence.
"It's definitely beneficial for me," McGloin said. "All of my focus over the next three months can be on the playbook, working on my mechanics, strength and conditioning and throwing with the guys. It feels great, but I also understand that I need to work harder than ever in getting ready for the season."
O'Brien added that it was very important to make the decision prior to training camp.
"When you go into training camp you have to make sure that one guy is getting the bulk of the reps," Coach O'Brien said. "You don't have time to give three guys equal reps. Also, in the summertime when the coaches aren't allowed to be around, you need to have leaders on both sides of the ball. Matt, being a quarterback, is a leader on the offensive side of the ball...Mostly, it's because you have to get one guy ready to play. You can't get three guys ready to play. And it's really hard to get two guys ready to play. So you have to have a starter, and then you go from there."
McGloin had chills running through his body as he sat in the squad room at the Lasch Football Building listening to his new head coach talk about the quarterback position when he addressed the team for the first time on Jan. 8. From that moment forward, McGloin knew that it was time to work. He spent countless hours studying Coach O'Brien's playbook and watching film of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to prepare for the start of spring practice.
The former West Scranton HS standout started the final five regular season contests and played in 12 games in 2011. The talented signal-caller completed 54.1 percent of his passes (125-of-231) for 1,571 yards and eight touchdowns, last season, with five interceptions. McGloin enters his fifth-year senior season having made five starts in each of the past two seasons. He graduated in May with a degree in journalism and is working on a second degree in telecommunications.
"It's great to have my degree," McGloin said. "I don't feel like it's really sunken in yet. I'm proud that that I have a degree from Penn State and my family is proud of that."
On the field, Coach O'Brien said that consistency in numerous areas pertinent to success at the quarterback position separated McGloin during the spring.
"His completion percentage, getting us in and out of the right plays, knowledge of the offense, being prepared in meetings, cutting down on his interceptions as spring ball went on," Coach O'Brien said. "He completed about 65 to 70 percent of his passes during the spring. He ran some of our situational stuff pretty well. He just did a very good job of being consistent."
As for the rest of the depth chart, Coach O'Brien said that the full depth chart could be out as early as Tuesday. Running back Curtis Dukes is working out with the team this summer. Curtis Drake is no longer with the football program.
McGloin will be the leader of the Penn State offense on the opening day of training camp when the Nittany Lions take the field on Aug. 6.
"The team has never been closer than we are right now since I've been here," McGloin said. "Everyone is working really hard."
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