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TicketCity Bowl Media Day Recap

Matt McGloin could be Penn State’s quarterback for the TicketCity Bowl, according to interim head coach Tom Bradley.

Despite being involved in a fight with teammate Curtis Drake over the weekend, Bradley may stick with McGloin under center for the TicketCity Bowl against Houston if McGloin is healthy.

A decision on the actual starter for the game will not be finalized until closer to the January 2 bowl game.

“We’re going to have internal discipline obviously,” Bradley said for McGloin, who is said to be day-to-day following a confirmed seizure and concussion as a result of Saturday’s locker room scuffle.

McGloin said earlier he hopes to play for the team in the upcoming bowl game, and he admitted to blame for the incident.

“I was knocked out no more than ten seconds,” McGloin said. The two players had argued over a route from practice and the tensions boiled over in to the locker room following practice. “I’m going to take responsibility for it. It was immature. I should have walked away,” McGloin added.

McGloin is ready to move on. “We wouldn’t be talking about it if I didn’t hit my head,” he said. That may not be necessarily true, although the injury certainly escalates the importance of the situation, and given the recent negative headlines surrounding Penn State this story may have received more attention as a result as well.

McGloin will have to pass a series of concussion tests before the January 2 bowl to be allowed to play in the game.

As for backup quarterback Rob Bolden, who was involved with a minor legal issue over the weekend, Bradley said no further discipline will be taken, with regard to playing time. Bolden will be disciplined internally. Bradley explained that Bolden took a $2.00 bottle of Gatorade as a prank, and returned the unopened bottle.

Bradley declined to mention names at this point but he did say that the team will be without some players due to academics. Bradley did say quarterback Paul Jones would be eligible to play in the bowl game if his grades met the criteria.

Jones missed the entire regular season after being ruled academically ineligible before the season started.

Bradley noted that he does not expect Shane McGregor to take any snaps with the first-team offense leading up to the bowl game. McGloin has not yet been medically cleared to practice, but Bradley seems to feel calling on third-string McGregor is not needed at this point.

Bradley also confirmed that he has interviewed with Penn State for the head-coaching job on a permanent basis but said he has no indication when the school will make a decision. For now, he and the rest of the staff are doing everything they can to complete their job for the 2011 season.

Chima Okoli was a bit more forward with his opinions on the coaching search. “They’re killing the program by dragging this out.” Penn State fired Joe Paterno on November 10. Since that time, 10 FBS programs have fired and hired a head coach. Nine more have hired a coach to fill an existing vacancy or one created by losing a coach to another school.

“We’ll continue to do a great job until they tell us that we’re no longer wanted,” Bradley said. Bradley and a few other coaching staff members were on hand in Hershey for Pennsylvania high school football championships over the weekend for recruiting purposes.

Getting away from State College and focusing on one final game will be the final chapter of what has been a maligned 2011 season, through no fault of the players on the roster.

“We’re excited to play in Dallas in the Cotton Bowl,” said senior linebacker Nate Stupar.

“We’re going to give everything we have,” said fullback Michael Zordich. “We’re playing for each other.”

The road to the TicketCity Bowl has been overshadowed by separate trials linked to the university and the ongoing coaching search.

Sophomore running back Silas Redd said that the team is not concerned about it right now but said they do want a decision to be made as quickly as possible. Redd also affirmed he has no intent to transfer following the bowl game.

As for the game itself, Bradley and his players are looking to focus on what could be a tough task on January 2.

“We’re excited to play Houston,” Bradley said. “They have skill at every position. They have a veteran group. We understand what we’re up against.”

“Houston’s a great team,” fullback Joe Suhey said. “I’m excited to go down to Dallas and play my final game. This couldn’t be a better matchup for us to play a 12-1 team.”

The offense of Houston has certainly caught the eye of the entire Penn State team, and both sides of the team can play a role in the game plan to limit Houston and quarterback Case Keenum. “It’s important to keep Houston’s offense off the field,” said Redd.

For the offense, the job will be to maintain control of the football and limit the time Keenum and the nation’s top-ranked offense spends on the football field.

“Houston’s offense is fast paced,” wide receiver Derek Moye noted. “The best thing we can do is score touchdowns and help our defense by keeping them off the field.”

Stupar commented on Keenum, saying that he is very talented. “This will probably be our biggest challenge,” said Stupar.

“Playing a team like Houston is a good thing,” said Moye. “You want to prove you can play against tough competition.”

Other notes

Defensive end Pete Massaro is progressing nicely with his ACL injury, Bradley says he won’t play him if he feels it could hurt his progress.

Penn State faces Houston in the TicketCity Bowl on January 2, 2012 in the first bowl game on the schedule for the day. Penn State players will return home on Wednesday and will return on December 26. The coaching staff will work through Thursday and return on the same day. The team will then make their trip down to Dallas and practice nearby leading up to the bowl game.

 

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Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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