O'Brien names starting QB but says only the team knows who it is

Penn State head football coach Bill O'Brien. (AP Photo/Centre Daily Times, Nabil K. Mark)

Penn State coach Bill O’Brien disclosed for the first time Thursday that he has decided on a starting quarterback for Saturday’s season opener against Syracuse, and that the two contenders for the job and the rest of the team know the starter’s identity.

On his weekly radio show, O’Brien said of naming the starting quarterback, “That’s a big deal." He added that he did not want to publicly disclose the starter because both sophomore Tyler Ferguson and freshman Christian Hackenberg are young and are trying to get accustomed to academic life now that fall semester classes have begun.

“They’ve been told who’s going to start the game,” O’Brien said. “The team knows. That’s all that matters.”

O’Brien said that both quarterbacks will play in the game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., but that they won’t alternate series.

O'Brien did not say when he reached his decision. At his weekly media teleconference Tuesday, O'Brien would not say if he had settled on a starter.

--Joe Juliano