Morelli OnLion: No Question at QB

With summer in full swing, many of the preseason publications have hit the grocery store news racks.

There’s plenty being written about the 2011 version of the Nittany Lions and most publications put the squad in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten. Of course, most are fixated on the quarterback position and why not? It’s the biggest question mark the Lions have – or so the preseason publications would lead you to believe.

In today’s edition of Morelli OnLion, we’ll take a closer look at the QB spot and what is going to happen there this fall. We’ll also pay tribute to a member of the Penn State family who passed away recently.

Let’s start at QB.

No Question at QB

As you settle into your beach chair and peruse one of the many summer publications that focus on college football, be prepared for a bit of a shock.

Many of those publications list sophomore QB Rob Bolden as the starter on the Nittany Lions’ depth chart. I’m here to tell you those publications are dead wrong.

We said it in the spring and we’ll say it again in the summer – Matt McGloin is your 2011 starting QB, Nittany Nation.

Really? Yes.

Matt McGloin has earned the right to be the starting QB when the 2011 season begins.

A large portion of Nittany Nation wants to believe that Bolden is better. He’s not. A large portion of Nittany Nation wants to believe that had Bolden been inserted into the Outback Bowl that the outcome would have been different. It wouldn’t. The fact of the matter is that McGloin is a better quarterback. Period.

The numbers back me up here. When you closely examine the 2010 statistics, it’s clear that McGloin won the battle of the QBs. Bolden completed 112-of-193 passes – that’s 56 percent. McGloin completed 118-of-225 passes – that’s nearly 55 percent. OK, pretty even. The interception numbers are also pretty close. Bolden threw seven picks while McGloin tossed nine (five of those came in the 37-24 loss to Florida in the Outback Bowl). On the ground, Bolden ran the ball 30 times for minus-11 yards, while McGloin carried the ball 13 times for 6 yards. Bolden started in eight games, McGloin in four.

What those numbers don’t tell you is the fact that McGloin bailed the Nittany Lions out several times. They also don’t tell you that Bolden racked up his numbers against inferior competition during the non-conference slate, while McGloin’s numbers came during the heart of the Big Ten schedule.

Ultimately, however, it comes down to which QB plays with more heart and which one is more mature. The way that Bolden has held the program hostage with his attempts to transfer out of Happy Valley is simply a sign of his immaturity. Quite frankly, Bolden appeared uninterested when he was on the sidelines as the No. 2 QB.

We can only hope that the Paternos (Joe and Jay) don’t cave to Bolden’s childish act and anoint him the starter. There should be an open competition, for sure. McGloin and Bolden will be the front-runners, but don’t rule out Paul Jones as a potential No. 2. Remember, he redshirted last season and was pretty impressive during the 2010 Blue-White Game.

But at the end of the day, you need a QB with heart. You need a QB who knows how to win.

You need Matt McGloin.

Boland Remembered

Many sportswriters are paying tribute this week to a member of the Penn State media team that passed away. Pat Boland, 42, from ESPN Radio in State College died after a long battle with cancer. Boland had recently given up his broadcasting career to be with his family in Somerset, Pa., as he battled the disease.

I had several chances to work with Pat and was often a guest on ESPN Radio when he and Cory Giger co-hosted “Sports Central” on the Fridays before a Penn State game. The one thing that I always respected about Pat was the fact that he was never afraid to be critical of the program. He called it like he saw it.

I was asked on “Sports Central” about Pat on Tuesday afternoon to share some memories about Pat. Although I didn’t cover the men’s basketball team very often, I can always remember Pat collecting dollar bills from those covering the game for his infamous “attendance polls.” Everyone in the media room would chuckle as they shelled out their singles for the poll, which went by announced attendance. I can also vividly remember hearing Pat doing the Pittsburgh Pirate promos on ESPN Radio in State College. He would mimic the voice of a swashbuckling pirate as he promoted that night’s game.

Pat was a good guy. He will be missed.

Morelli OnLion’s Final Thought: As I was returning from Pittsburgh on the Fourth of July along state Route 22, I realized that I had to change lanes several times when I probably shouldn’t have had to. Why? Because no one – and I mean no one – obeys yield signs anymore. I’m not quite sure when it became acceptable to act like the yield sign doesn’t exist, but that seems to be the case.

For those uninformed drivers out there, when you are merging, the yield sign is telling you to slow down, stop even, if you need to. At one time, author Bret Easton Ellis wrote in his novel “Less Than Zero” that people are afraid to merge.

Not anymore, apparently.

Chris Morelli is an award-winning writer/editor who lives in Centre County and covers Penn State athletics for He’s also a regular on “Sports Central,” which airs on ESPN Radio in Altoona and State College. E-mail him at Also, be sure to check out Morelli OnLion on Facebook!

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15 thoughts on “Morelli OnLion: No Question at QB

  1. dnldmrgn67

    the only thing those numbers tell us is that in 8 games the lions threw the ball 193 times and in the last 4 they more than doubled the amount per game. with the same comp. % it wasn’t due to anything that mcgloin was a better passer. mcgloin can’t manage a game. he takes too many chances as he did in the osu game…. no patience…. two int for td’s in that one and again in the florida game…. as a defensive player, i would have been in mcgloin’s face after those games….. both games the defense played extremely well, but the offense(mcgloin) couldn’t take care of the ball and allowed the opponents to put points on the board with psu’s defense on the bench.

  2. clfdman

    What a surprise! Out of 12 responses, only one agreed with Morelli. This guy has always been a joke as a “journalist” going back to when he worked for the Clearfield Progress. Still gotta love how he always has to link himself to ESPN radio to try to somehow make himself feel important. I, too, am surprised that he is still able to remain employed in this field. I love these responses.

  3. jrpbball

    Chris, you are an absolute idiot. McGloin knew the system, had been in it for 2 years already… had been through 3 training camps already. Bolden had 2 months to learn the system and still in all honesty put up better numbers against better defenses. You try to say that he played against a weak OOC, but you forgot to mention Bama was in that OOC and was the highest ranked defense they played all year, and Iowa was the second highest. Mcgloin reached his potential, Bolden actually has potential to get better. If you knew anything about the QB position you would know Mcgloin has no form and stares down every single receiver (usually Moye or Brown) that is why he threw all but 1 of his interceptions in the second half of games because defenses just started keying in on who he stared down from the beginning.

  4. rbower

    Way to skew the stats so they fit what you’re saying… McGloin completed 55% of his passes last year (118-of-215) while Bolden completed 58% (112-of-193… your math is off there. Also, you’re saying McGloin didn’t rack up numbers against inferior opponents? 250 yards and a TD against Michigan, one of the worst defenses in the nation. 315 yards and two TD’s against Indiana… 4 TD’s against a Northwestern defense that ranked 95th nationally against the pass and 97th in total defense.

    Also, Bolden got off to a good start against Northwestern before being pulled don’t forget he was dealing with a concussion).

    Bolden made starts against Alabama (5th in defense), Temple (16th), Kent State (10th), Iowa (25th), Minnesota (76th) and Illinois (38th)

    McGloin started against the following (OSU, 4th), Florida (9th), Michigan State (43rd), Indiana (90th) and Michigan (110th)… the numbers actually show that Bolden played against better competition than McGloin did. Keep in mind too that Matty McInterception the four of his nine TD’s in one game. Even in that game, the rushing attack was what really did it. Other than the TD pass to Moye, McGloin didn’t make any great passes that day, he consistently overlooked wide open guys underneath and was always worried about making the big play. Go watch the film on that game.

    Bottom line, McGloin is a cocky kid who thinks he is better than he really is. His interceptions are the kinds that absolutely KILL a team in crucial moments.

  5. Tom PSU

    Chris i understand you were not a Penn State math student but you really need to work on your basic math skills a bit. If Bolden completed 112 of 193 his completion rate was 58% no 56%. If McGloin was 118 of 225 his completion rate was 52% not nearly 55%. Big difference.

  6. sweitzpsu

    Wow. The walk on was a walk on for a reason. He reached his potential. Bolden was a freshman fresh on campus. He had the same stats as the walk on. As a freshman. The sky is the limit for Bolden. With the walk on, I see 7-8 wins, max. With Bolden, we could see 9-11 wins. The next time you decide to write a column, remember to write the exact opposite of your opinions to get it right.

  7. psunl781

    You also have to love the part where he says the statistics back him up, and then he provides the stats and they not only don’t back him up, but they weren’t even accurate. He said Bolden’s completion percentage was 56% when it is really 58%. This guy is actually a genius.

  8. chooch

    Holy dumb.

    Not only for the article fail to persuade me, but his lack of credible evidence, along with the blatant misrepresentation of the stats, cements my opinion that mcgloin supporters are delusional.

  9. mojo

    Wow. Garbage like this is the reason newspapers are dying. This column starts as a statistical defense of McGloin then, when that proves a dead end, devolves into typical sportswriter obfuscations about heart and knowing how to win. It sounds like Woody Paige after his third cocktail. What a joke.

    Spasmodically firing off sentences like “The fact of the matter is that McGloin is a better quarterback” and “McGloin bailed the Nittany Lions out several times” with ZERO supporting evidence or real insight is shockingly lazy writing. The Gant Daily may want to mix in a decent editor. It would be embarrassing let this mess into the Clearfield High Stampede, let alone a professional paper. I could walk by any tailgate on game day and hear this drivel. This is the last time this column gets a millisecond of my time.

  10. psunl781

    I agree with Smokeybandit. McGloin was not better than Bolden. He had been in the system longer and knew the playbook much better which allowed the coaching staff to open it up when he was in the game, as opposed to Bolden who they wouldn’t go past page 1 for. McGloin doesn’t have nearly the upside of a player like Bolden, and he is completely careless with the football. People may say that was only against Florida, but in reality it was against every team, but Florida managed to actually catch the passes thrown directly to them. Bolden is the future of this team, and the coaches know that, he will be starting.

  11. smokeybandit

    “When you closely examine the 2010 statistics, it’s clear that McGloin won the battle of the QBs”

    As clear as mud, because when you look closely, you see Bolden was improving as he got experience, where McGloin was regressing.

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