O'Brien speaks about Penn State QB situation

Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien said Wednesday he would like to cut the competition for the starting quarterback job from three players to two by next week’s end of spring practice.

Speaking on the Big Ten coaches conference call, the first-year coach said the ideal situation would be to go into pre-season practice with two contenders because of the reps they will need to prepare for the season. But he said no one or two quarterbacks have stood out thus far.

“At the end of spring ball, I’m sure we’ll have a better idea of which one or two guys will be the starter, so hopefully we can do that at the end,” he said. “If not, then we go into training camp and we continue with three guys getting reps. But hopefully, for the next eight practices, a couple of guys will separate themselves. Right now, there is no separation.”

The Nittany Lions conducted their eighth day of spring practice Wednesday. They are allowed 15 days under NCAA rules. The team’s Blue-White Game will be held April 21 at Beaver Stadium.

The three quarterbacks competing for the starting job are senior Matt McGloin, junior Rob Bolden and sophomore Paul Jones. While Bolden has had the majority of starts (16) over the past two seasons, McGloin (10 starts) has seen more playing time. Jones has yet to play in a game, having been redshirted his first year and academically ineligible last season, when he played on the scout team.

O’Brien said the three have made progress and have worked very hard. But he said what he would like to see from all of them for the remainder of spring practice was to improve their decision-making, their accuracy and their grasp of the new offense.

“These guys are really working at it,” he said. “You gain everything through hard work and they’re working extremely hard at it. But I want to see them improve. Then it will be easier to make a decision.”

Asked about the new offense, O’Brien said the running game is a little bit ahead at the present time. As for the passing game, it’s “a little bit behind when it comes to throwing the football, and catching it, and getting open.”

--Joe Juliano