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Penn State Football: Mixed Bag of Play from Quarterbacks in Blue-White Game

by on April 21, 2012 10:00 AM

Updated at 3:57 p.m.

The unofficial first game of the Bill O'Brien era is in the books.

There was good — Bill Belton, Allen Robinson, C.J. Olaniyan.

There was bad — Rob Bolden, fair or not, will get the brunt of the criticism here.

And, maybe the best part for O'Brien is hardly any of it really matters.

The record will show the 2012 Blue-White Game as a 77-65 victory for the defense. What the estimated crowd of 60,000 fans came to Beaver Stadium on Saturday to see was a new era of Penn State football — a new coach, a new offense and a new defensive scheme.

As for the quarterback competition? I think it's safe to say Matt McGloin will be one of the finalists.

The fifth-year senior was the first-teamer on Saturday, and he completed 6-of-13 passes for 105 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

So, so.

Now consider:

Rob Bolden — 7-for-14, 78 yards, three interceptions

Paul Jones — 6-for-15, 113 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and half of those completions and 63 of those yards came on his final drive with the game clock winding down.

Bill Belton showed the move from receiver to running back was for the better, as he finished with 50 yards and a touchdown on seven carries, and wide receiver Allen Robinson hauled in three catches for 87 yards for a unit that was light on depth because of injuries.

More later after we head down to the media room.

Updated at 3:30 p.m.

OK, who had Shane McGregor leading the offense to its first touchdown drive under first-year coach Bill O’Brien?

Better yet, who had McGregor seeing the field before Paul Jones?

Both happened in the first quarter of Saturday’s Blue-White Game at Beaver Stadium, but that’s how it goes in these spring scrimmages. It’s still a practice, and though everything is magnified with a stadium full of spectators, what you see Saturday will likely be a lot different come fall.

McGregor’s touchdown drive was nice and all, but Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden and Paul Jones are the three horses in the quarterback derby. That race will continue through the summer.

By halftime, a 45-35 lead for the defense, it’s apparent O’Brien wasn’t trying to fool anyone.

There is little separation between the three.

McGloin’s second drive was impressive. On first down, he faked a handoff and hit his first read to the tight end. Later, he found Allen Robinson down field, who made a nice cut toward the outside and darted inside the 15. From there, receiver-turned running back Bill Belton punched in the second touchdown of the day.

Rob Bolden struggled in the first half, throwing an interception on his first series to defensive tackle Jordan Hill on a botched screen play and going three-and-out on his second drive. He led no touchdown drives.

All three quarterbacks threw an interception — except McGregor.

Here are the numbers, mid-way through the third quarter.

Matt McGloin 6-for-13, 105 yards, one touchdown, one interception

Rob Bolden 4-for-9, 28 yards, two interceptions

Paul Jones 2-for-8, 50 yards, one interception

Shane McGregor 4-for-4, 47 yards

Quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher closely watched the action on the field about 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage and was usually in the quarterback's ear after each play.

Of course, quarterback play wasn't the only area to watch Saturday.

Some other observations:

  • Running backs Bill Belton and Zach Zwinak look to be strong back-ups for Silas Redd, who saw of one drive's worth of action.
  • Defensive end C.J. Olaniyan had three sacks in the second quarter alone. Pete Massaro, who has had two ACL injuries in his career, did start with the first-team defense. He was a question mark heading into the game for precautionary reasons.

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  • Walk-on defensive back Devin Pryor raised a couple eyebrows with an interception off Jones and a nice kickoff return.
  • Walk-on linebacker T.J. Rhattigan, who was running with the second-team defense because of the number of holdouts, injured his left knee in the first quarter. He had an ice pack and wrap on.

First-team offense

QB – Matt McGloin

RB – Silas Redd

FB – Michael Zordich

TE – Jesse James

WR – Justin Brown

WR – Shawney Kersey

WR – Christian Kuntz

LT – Adam Gress

LG  - Miles Dieffenbach

C - Matt Stankiewitch

RG – John Urschel

RT – Donovan Smith

First-team defense

DE – Pete Massaro

DT – Jordan Hill

DT – DaQuan Jones

DE – Sean Stanley

LB – Mike Hull

LB – Glenn Carson

LB – Gerald Hodges

CB – Curtis Drake

CB – Stephon Morris

Saf. – Jacob Fagnano

Saf. – Malcolm Willis

Earlier at 10 a.m.

It's time for football.


It's been 15 weeks since Bill O'Brien was hired as Penn State's football coach, and Saturday's Blue-White Game is the first extensive look at a new chapter in the program's history.

Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Beaver Stadium, and the Big Ten Network will air the game on tape delay at 8 p.m. will have multiple reporters in the press box and on the sidelines covering every angle of the debut of Billy Ball.

All will be chiming in on Twitter, so be sure to follow:

  • Nate Mink (@MinkNate)
  • Ron Musselman (@rmusselmansc)
  • Mike Poorman (@PSUPoorman)
  • Ben Jones (@Ben_Jones88)
  • Laura Nichols (@LC_Nichols)
  • Greg Pickel (@GregPickel)

Live tweets and comments from the scrimmage will be featured in the Cover-It-Live box on the right-hand side of this post.

Related coverage:

Nate Mink covers Penn State football and news for He's on Twitter as @MinkNate.
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