August 19, 2010

Joe Paterno open to dual-QB offense for 2010

If Penn State uses two quarterbacks in 2010,
true frosh Robert Bolden (pictured) could see the field,
or even get the nod as the starter, in his first collegiate game.
He sure doesn't like the idea, but he's not ruling it out.

During the the Big Ten Network's Penn State preview special Wednesday night, Joe Paterno said he would not rule out playing two quarterbacks in tandem this season.
Jerry DiNardo: Coach, you've been through quarterback changes before. Your thoughts on playing two, if no one emerges?

Joe Paterno: Not crazy about it, Jerry, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I would prefer that we get a leader; I would prefer a guy that gets in the huddle that can grab a couple guys by the jersey and say "Hey, don't blow that block again or I'm gunna kick your rear end." You know, somebody who takes over. I would prefer one. It's tough to do that with two. So... but if we gotta play with two, we play with two.
I'm really surprised this hasn't been kind of one of those dog-whistle moments for bloggers and the media, especially this close to the season. But I guess when everyone is more concerned with Joe Paterno's health, what happens on the field is secondary, or at least covered in a "yeah, yeah, but Joe was..."

This is a big deal. Penn State hasn't been a team that likes to rotate quarterbacks, but there has been a model in place, one more recent than 1999 when Kevin Thompson and Rashard Casey split time during games.

In the 2007 Alamo Bowl, the coaching staff successfully implemented a dual-quarterback game plan that worked extremely well. Daryll Clark didn't have to throw a pass, but was successful at keeping the defense off-balance, particularly when Clark and Anthony Morelli were in the game at the same time. And to wonder, what if Morelli was also a dual-threat quarterback, as was Clark? How insane would that drive opposing defenses?

Well, we might find out.

With the news yesterday that Robert Bolden's freshman counterpart Paul Jones will redshirt this season this boils the race down to three guys--Bolden, Kevin Newsome, and Matt McGloin. The coaches like McGloin's poise, but Newsome's athleticism. Bolden has been impressing everyone in Happy Valley the past few weeks.

If Penn State uses two quarterbacks, my guess is that one of them will be Newsome. He's the fastest quarterback by far, and is lethal running a spread-run offense. The staff might also want to try out Newsome as the starter, with McGloin and Bolden rotating in and out. But I can't imagine that happening during even the Youngstown State game. They want to know who will be their guy--or guys--before then.

But I won't get excited over something that's still an unknown in many ways. We don't know if Penn State will actually use two quarterbacks in its offensive game plan. We don't know, if two QBs are used, if it will actually work against the other teams, particularly the better defensive football teams like Iowa and Ohio State.

This is an interesting twist, two weeks away from the opening game. That's one thing we do know.

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