Posted by Adam Jacobi
For the first time in his history as the coach of Penn State, Joe Paterno has named a true freshman his starting quarterback to start a football season. According to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Robert Bolden beat out sophomores Kevin Newsome and Matt McGloin for the Nittany Lions' feature role:
Penn State just confirmed what The Patriot-News reported first earlier in the day: true freshman Robert Bolden will start at quarterback Saturday against Youngstown State at Beaver Stadium.
Shortly after Wednesday's practice, Joe Paterno made it official in a statement issued on gopsusports.com:
"Based on what we have seen to this point, Bolden has a slight edge right now, but we are confident all three quarterbacks are ready to go and hope to give them an opportunity to play until we settle on the one that gives us the best chance to win," Paterno said.
For Penn State fans, this shouldn't necessarily be construed as a failure on the part of Newsome, who certainly seemed like the presumptive starter at this time even three months ago. If anything, considering the praise that has been leveled at Bolden out of summer practice, it's a remarkable accomplishment on Bolden's part, and would seem to indicate that Penn State is better off than if Newsome had just taken the reins straight away.
Of course, regardless of how skilled a passer and runner Bolden is, Nick Saban must be salivating at the prospect of unleashing his vaunted pass defense on a true freshman making his first road start in week 2. Sure, Saban's replacing most of the starters from his title-winning team from last season, but he's doing it with guys who have been learning and practicing his defense for years. Will Bolden have the maturity and wisdom to find any room in that defense?