Joe Paterno Not Fully To Blame for Rob Bolden, Penn State Quarterback Troubles

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Joe Paterno Not Fully To Blame for Rob Bolden, Penn State Quarterback Troubles
Hunter Martin/Getty Images
Joe Paterno could see two of his quarterbacks transfer this spring

Reports are out that true freshman quarterback Rob Bolden will ask Penn State to be released from his scholarship within the next couple of days.

When it’s all said and done, head coach Joe Paterno could see two of his top three quarterbacks this season transfer. Third-stringer Kevin Newsome never even made the Outback Bowl trip and is most likely heading out of Happy Valley along with Bolden.

There’s a lot of blame being put on the coaching staff, and for good reason. Penn State has notoriously mishandled its quarterbacks for decades. Recently, however, it’s been a huge issue.

Everyone wants to point fingers and bring up the Pat Devlin debacle. This situation with Bolden is by no means anywhere close to that comparison.

Yes, I agree the coaching staff mishandled Bolden down the stretch, but this is not entirely their fault. Bolden should share some of the blame.

Devlin had two years left to play football. He knew he was not going to start the 2009 season over Clark and rightfully so. Clark was the leader and quarterback of that team, and it just made sense for Devlin to transfer.

Bolden potentially still has three years left to be the starting quarterback at Penn State. He would've had the inside track of regaining his job, but decided to throw that away because he didn’t get enough playing time down the stretch.

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Players need to do what’s best for them, and the coaches need to do what’s best for the team.

Penn State had three heavily recruited quarterbacks in camp this season (Paul Jones, Kevin Newsome and Rob Bolden). They also had a former walk-on (Matt McGloin), who wound up being a spark plug for the team down the stretch.

Let’s face it folks, the offensive production was way up with McGloin under center. The Nittany Lions averaged 18 more points a game during the regular season and seemed to rally around him over the second half of the season.

McGloin earned the right to play out the rest of the year and Bolden should have used this season as a learning experience.

Paterno was going to give Bolden and Paul Jones every opportunity over the spring and summer to take the reins of the Penn State offense, but Bolden couldn’t wait that long.

Truth is, McGloin really wasn’t that much better statistically. He played in nine games and threw for 1,548 yards and 14 TDs, but struggled down the stretch, throwing eight of his nine interceptions in three of his final four games.

Bolden’s stats weren’t that bad, considering the tough schedule he faced early on playing at Alabama and Iowa. He completed 58 percent of his passes for 1,360 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
True freshman quarterback Rob Bolden is expected to transfer from Penn State.

The big difference between the two is leadership, something that is highlighted by Bolden’s decision to transfer.

Bolden was very quiet in the huddle and it showed. His teammates just did not respond to him when he was in the game. Instead of being a leader, learning from this experience and moving forward, he’s taking the easy way out and transferring.

In a way, it’s better off that he goes now. That shows me he doesn’t have the mental make-up to be a big-time quarterback.

Bolden thinks Penn State didn’t give him a fair shake, but in reality PSU did and then some. He’s the first true freshman quarterback to start the season for Joe Paterno, and that’s saying something. Paterno also gave him the start against Northwestern after his injury, and he did nothing with it.

After McGloin’s meltdown in the Outback Bowl, it’s clear to me and many Penn State fans that he is not the answer. You cannot throw five interceptions in a game. You have to make better decisions with the ball, and against elite competition, McGloin has come up short in that category.

My money right now is on Paul Jones. Why?

He’s the only one left.   

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