Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden are saying all the right things about their two-man duel for the starting quarterback job at Penn State. But after a full offseason of competition and uncertainty and several days of fall camp under their belts, they're both just about ready for a decision already.
"The sooner, the better," Bolden said. "Just like last year, I hope it's not like the day before the game. We'd definitely like to know sometime soon."
It's a fascinating choice on a couple of different levels. Bolden was the hyped recruit who was thrown into the fire as a freshman to start 2010, struggled a bit and then appeared to figure things out just before he suffered an injury. Then the former walk-on McGloin took over, giving the offense a little spark but throwing the ball to the wrong team repeatedly in the bowl game.
Add to the situation that Bolden openly talked about transferring both after the bowl and after spring practice, and it makes for more drama. Kevin Newsome transferred and Paul Jones won't play because of academics, leaving just Bolden and McGloin as experienced quarterbacks for the Nittany Lions. Would Bolden bolt if he doesn't win the job this month?
"I plan on winning it, so that's not even in my head," he said.
Bolden said he showed his commitment by coming back for summer workouts and bonding with his teammates. But he also admitted he was a little concerned about how they would react to his talk about possibly leaving, which is not usually something you want to hear from the leader of your huddle.
"But I know they have my best interests at heart, whether I stay or if I leave," he said. "They know it's not just a childish thing -- I have to look at my future as well. Whatever decision I make, I'm sure they will be 100 percent with me, so I feel good about it."
McGloin calls his relationship with Bolden "very healthy" and both guys say they've worked to make sure it doesn't become a distraction for the team. McGloin said it's good to have two experienced quarterbacks around now, which wasn't the case last summer.
"I've really been focusing on my leadership role," he said. "We didn't have that last year, and I think the guys have really responded to that this year with Rob and me."
McGloin's last impression is one he'd like to forget, as he threw five interceptions in an Outback Bowl loss to Florida. That motivated him all offseason.
"I needed to get better with my decision-making," he said. "The number one thing I'm focusing on right now is making the right reads, checking down and taking what the defense gives you. I think that's really shown so far this camp."
Bolden had the opposite experience, as he was 11-of-13 for 130 yards and a touchdown against Minnesota in his final start before getting a concussion in the second quarter.
"It was frustrating," he said. "I felt like I could have had four or five touchdowns that game."
McGloin said he gets annoyed sometimes by all the questions about the competition but called it "very exciting to be part of a quarterback controversy. Whatever happens, I'll accept my role." Bolden diplomatically said that whoever starts will know he has an excellent backup.
Who will start remains the big question hovering over Penn State's season right now. The sooner the Nittany Lions resolve it, the better.