CDT, Guy Cipriano
“I’m definitely light years ahead of where I was, not only in terms of a quarterback, but in terms of a leader as well,” McGloin said. “Coach O’Brien and Coach Fisher are doing a tremendous job with the quarterbacks. They are teaching us the right way how to play the game of football and the right way how to play quarterback. We have never had anything like that before here, so we are really happy with the progress that we have made.”
After 17 days of camp, quarterback might be one of the roster’s most stable positions.
O’Brien named McGloin the starter on June 1, giving the outspoken fifth-year senior three months to prepare for next Saturday’s opener against Ohio University at Beaver Stadium. McGloin spent the past two years competing with Rob Bolden, who transferred to LSU last month.
Sophomore Paul Jones’ methodical development and the inexperience of true freshman Steven Bench has allowed McGloin to embrace his role without fretting about job security. Teammates seem relieved to conduct training camp without looming quarterback questions.
“You definitely see a lot more confidence in not just him – he’s always been a confident guy — but when you watch him,” Zordich said of McGloin. “He’s more poised, he knows what he’s doing. He’s confident in his throws and decisions, and it shows on the field. It helps when you are not in the middle of a quarterback controversy where if you make a throw you’re thinking, ‘If I miss this throw, am I going to get pulled.’ You can kind of let it out there and throw it. It’s working for him.”
McGloin has started 10 games over the past two seasons. But McGloin watched the younger Bolden open the past two season openers.
McGloin’s experience might help him navigate this year’s opener. Ohio, which went 10-3 last year, presents a tricky on-field test. The off-the-field challenges are also immense, as McGloin must steady an emotional team playing in the aftermath of last month’s severe NCAA sanctions levied against the school. The game also marks the program’s first since former coach Joe Paterno’s death.
“Anytime being the starting quarterback at Penn State you are going to have a lot of pressure on you,” McGloin said. “Now more than ever people are looking at what type of person you are and what type of leadership you have. People that know me know that I’m loyal guy. I want to be loyal to the program. All we want to do is go out there and play football.”
Center Matt Stankiewitch, a close friend who has known McGloin since high school, said he’s noticed a different player this preseason. Stankiewitch’s career at District 11 Blue Mountain High School ended with a 39-16 district playoff loss to West Scranton in 2007.
The Warriors’ starting quarterback? A senior named Matt McGloin.
“I think the confidence level is the big thing for Matt McGloin,” Stankiewitch said. “He has really taken that leadership role of being the quarterback and embracing that. He really has that confidence. I remember facing him back in high school, and he has that confidence when he takes that huddle and during the play.”