Penn State Football: Bill O'Brien Makes Savvy Move Naming Starting QB Now

Michael Felder@InTheBleachersNational CFB Lead WriterMay 16, 2012

STATE COLLEGE, PA - JANUARY 08: New Penn State head football coach Bill O'Brien waits to be announced to the crowd, with his 6-year-old son Michael, during a timeout at the Penn State Nittany Lions men's basketball game as they take on the Indiana Hoosiers at the Bryce Jordan Center on January 8, 2012 in State College, Pennsylvania. O'Brien, who has been the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator the past four years, will remain with the Patriots for the Pennsylvania. O'Brien is currently the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots and will remain with them for the rest of the playoffs.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Here at Your Best 11, we have talked about the importance of naming a quarterback at the end of spring and allowing that young man to grow into his role and properly prepare for the upcoming season. 

Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy has been the poster child for picking a quarterback as he came out early stating how important naming a starter was to his program. He followed his own advice three weeks later by naming freshman, Wes Lunt, the starter going into the season.

Now, about a month after Penn State concluded spring ball, the new head coach of the Nittany Lions is making a wise decision. Bill O'Brien has three players pushing for the starting job in Rob Bolden, Matt McGloin and Paul Jones.

Heading into the summer season, he plans on picking one guy to lead the way. From O'Brien's recent talk with alumni during an event:

“You can’t waste time, in my opinion, with a quarterback battle during training camp,” O’Brien said before speaking, along with three other coaches, to almost 400 Penn State alumni last night at the Omni William Penn Hotel. “We’re not a wishy-washy place. We’ve got to make decisions and some people aren’t going to be happy with the decisions, but that’s our job. It’s about the team, and we’re doing what’s best for the team.”

Smart man. Pick a quarterback and let him grow into the position.

One starter means one quarterback building his rapport with the receivers, tight ends and running backs. One starter means the offensive line knowing who to look to for the decisions. One starter means heading into training camp with everyone on one page.

Carrying over the quarterback battle into fall camp is never a good thing. It means splitting reps between two or three players, not prepping one guy by giving him the bulk of the repetitions. It means trying to tailor your playbook and play calls to the strengths of a couple different players within an offensive scheme.

Fall camp is about preparing for the season. If you are splitting reps two or three ways, that means guys are getting half or a third prepared; that's not good for the ball club.

“The guy I name the starter, he’s got to do a great job every day to keep his job so that doesn’t mean he can’t get beat out, but I think that’s important for our team to know who our starting quarterback is going into camp.”

As you can see, Bill O'Brien understands that point. Certainly with poor play someone else can grab the starting job. However, going through summer with a leader and into fall with a starter is a smart move. Especially in an offense that requires the quarterback to do more than run the read-option. Bill O'Brien is proving that he gets it.

That's a good thing for Penn State fans.


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