As far as Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien is concerned, there is nothing that separates his quarterback candidates so far this spring.
"There is no separation right now," O'Brien said when asked about the position, which he has declared an open competition from the start of spring practice, on Wednesday's Big Ten coaches conference call with the media. O'Brien also confirmed that he would like to narrow the competition down to two candidates by the end of spring practice, but at this point there was no reason to believe that would be the case by the end of spring. O'Brien said that if the position is too open with more than two players, then he will not hesitate to move in to the summer with Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden and Paul Jones continuing to compete for the job.
Well, that's inspiring.
Penn State's quarterback situation has been a top area of concern for the team over the past two seasons, as the Nittany Lions have been unable to start and finish a season with one quarterback, starting each of the past two seasons with Bolden under center and ending with McGloin leading the offense.
"At the end of spring ball we’ll have a better idea of which one or two guys will be the starter," O'Brien said. "Hopefully we can do that at the end, if not, then we head into training camp with three guys getting reps."
O'Brien says the purpose of getting to two candidates is important because it can be difficult to get enough snaps to evaluate who will be best suited for the job when you are splitting reps between more players. The idea makes sense of course, and considering O'Brien has said he has no desire to go back and watch and evaluate film from before he stepped on campus, O'Brien needs as many snaps in practices as possible.
O'Brien was also asked about Urban Meyer and Ohio State's recruiting tactics during the past recruiting season, in which a number of Penn State commitments backtracked and signed with the Buckeyes, but the new Penn State coach did not bite at the bait dangled in front of him on the Big Ten coaches conference call.
"I have absolutely no thoughts on that whatsoever," O'Brien said rather broadly. It was a general theme for O'Brien, who stuck to focusing solely on the team he has in front of him today. O'Brien was asked about coaching changes in the Leaders Division at Ohio State, Illinois and among the Wisconsin coaching staff (as well as Penn State's own staff) and what impact it could have on the division, but O'Brien opted not to comment on the rest of the division.
"I am proud to be the coach here at Penn State and I'm focusing just on this team," O'Brien said.
All quotes obtained first hand on Big Ten coaches conference call.
Kevin McGuire is the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast, managing editor of Nittany Lions Den and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and add him to your Google+ circle.
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