Questions? There have always been a lot when it comes to Matt McGloin playing quarterback at Penn State.
While there have been a lot of questions about McGloin’s ability to play the position over the last few years, two things that shouldn’t be questioned are his love for his school and his passion for playing football. That was abundantly clear as the West Scranton native patiently fielded questions from a throng of reporters at Penn State’s Media Day.
Throughout the entire Jerry Sandusky sex scandal, the ensuing trial, the Freeh report and the NCAA sanctions, McGloin has remained positive about Penn State and leader and spokesman for the team.
“I am proud to be here,” said the senior quarterback. “I’m proud to be here and the team is proud to be here. This is a great school and we came here to get a great education first and to play football and that’s what we’re going to do.”
On the field, McGloin has been through the wringer.
At first, he was the gun-slinger back-up that the fans wanted in the game. Then, he was the five-interception disaster that the fans wanted on the bench. Then he alternated with the now-departed Rob Bolden.
He led an offense that was near the bottom of FBS rankings. He led a passing game that was derided by the local and national media for its ineptness.
Despite all that, McGloin enters the 2012 season energized and excited about playing in a new offense – an offense that Tom Brady directed in New England.
“We watched a lot of tape of him in the spring and summer,” McGloin said of Brady. “Just trying to see how the offense works.”
Along with film study, McGloin had an entire new and expanded playbook to learn. By all accounts, he was an excellent student.
“He’s a good thrower of the ball and he’s got a good head,” said Penn State quarterback coach Charlie Fisher. “He’s gotten so much better in his grasp of the offense from where he was in the spring. He knows the offense.”
What McGloin has to do now is execute it.
“We’ve talked to Matt and he knows he has to protect the ball,” Fisher said. “He’s gotten better at that and he’s going to continue to get better at that. He is just such a competitor he believes he can make the play sometimes when it’s not there.
“We want him to have belief and confidence. That’s how you come to Penn State as a walk-on and become the starter. But we also want him to realize that punting the ball sometimes is a good decision.”
For McGloin the new offense is something he looks forward to directing.
“It’s an offense I’ve always dreamed of playing in,” McGloin said. “The quarterback has to get the team in the right play. It’s something we didn’t do before. It’s fun to be a part of.”
Like his coaches, McGloin knows where he has to improve.
“You can see yourself getting better every time you watch tape,” he said. “[Fisher] works harder than anybody I’ve ever seen and I can just see the improvement.”
As for the losses of his top running back Silas Redd and his top receiver Justin Brown?
“Those guys made decisions that were best for them and we wish them well,” McGloin said. “But we have guys that are going to step in and do as well.”
Bill Belton will take over the top running back position while a host of receivers got high praise from not only McGloin, but head coach Bill O’Brien as well.
“We feel good about the wide receivers,” O’Brien said. “I have a lot of respect for [the media] but nobody sees what we see inside the building.
“Shawney Kersey and Allen Robinson are both 6-3, both can run, both have good hands. Eugene Lewis has looked good. Kuntz has looked good. I think we have good receivers.”
McGloin knows there’s a learning curve but he’s excited for the opportunity this year provides him.
“We just need to keep playing together,” he said. “As long as we continue to come together, we’re going to be good.”
Marty Valania covers football for nittanylionsden.com. Follow him at @EastRecruiting on Twitter.