Joe Paterno unsure of starting QB

Updated: August 31, 2010, 7:34 PM ET
Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Just who will take the first snap behind center Saturday for No. 19 Penn State remains a mystery.

It could be Kevin Newsome. Or Matt McGloin. Or Robert Bolden.

And even then, whoever starts the season opener against Youngstown State likely won't play the entire game anyway.

Coach Joe Paterno still didn't know Tuesday what he was going to do. Honest.

He does promise that he'll be down on the sideline for his 45th season as the lead Nittany Lion. He said he hasn't missed a play of preseason camp after intestinal ailments forced him to skip out on some offseason appearances.

But he said the decision on who he'll send out as his starting quarterback is still a day or two away.

"We'll probably play a couple kids. You just don't know what you're going to get, because none of them have been through a lot of pressure, so we'll see what happens," Paterno said.

Out of eligibility, two-year starter Daryll Clark left Happy Valley with his imprint all over the school record book. He set school highs for most touchdowns in a season and a career, as well as most career rushing scores by a quarterback.

The polished Clark had a charismatic personality that provided seasoned leadership for Penn State's offense.

Now Paterno has the exact opposite situation at the most important position on the field.

Newsome, a sophomore, was highly touted out of high school but played sparingly last season as Clark's top backup. McGloin, another sophomore, played even less as the third-stringer.

Bolden, a highly recruited freshman, has reportedly impressed most on the practice field after enrolling in school over the summer. He's ahead of another top freshman recruit, Paul Jones, who enrolled in January, but will likely redshirt.

Experience, or lack thereof, is a big concern for Paterno. With a trip to top-ranked Alabama looming in Week 2, Penn State would be wise to build up as much confidence as possible in the quarterback -- or quarterbacks.

Peppered with quarterback questions through his 40-minute news conference, Paterno in part said he doesn't want to put too much pressure on any of his candidates.

"I've got to be honest with you. We've got some kids who we really like, and [we] think they are going to be good, and there's more than one," Paterno said. "But at this stage, I couldn't tell you which one is going to come to the front as the guy to lead the team or whether we have one who can handle the kinds of situations that the quarterbacks are going to have to handle as this season goes on."

Receiver Brett Brackett said all three quarterbacks have split time equally with the first team.

"They've all been doing really well ... We have a pretty comfortable situation with whoever they decide to go with," said Brackett, voted a captain this week by teammates along with defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu.

Paterno has a couple other worries on offense.

Sophomore receiver Curtis Drake, a former high school quarterback who gave Penn State an option on wildcat-type formations, is already out with a broken left leg.

Backup tailback Stephfon Green has been nagged by a neck injury, while projected starting tight end Andrew Szczerba has a bad back. Redshirt freshman Garry Gilliam is the listed starter at tight end for now.

It is unclear if Green or Szczerba might be available Saturday, so speedy junior Chaz Powell has been shuttled back from cornerback to the receiver/all-purpose position he played last season.


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