Quinn Barham didn’t hear much from Penn State teammate Rob Bolden earlier this offseason, so he reached out to make sure the sophomore quarterback was OK and returning to Happy Valley.
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Well, Bolden is back after toying with the idea of transferring, and he’s made it clear he wants his starting job back.
So does junior Matt McGloin, his chief competitor for the job.
It’s a rousing start to the Penn State quarterback derby – and coach Joe Paterno is still a month away from whistling the first practice into session.
”I was worried myself earlier this summer. His behavior was different. I thought he was leaving,” Barham, a senior left tackle, said at a player charity event last week. ”He was a little distant, I didn’t know what was going on. But right now, I’m fine. He’s here, he’s happy.”
Bolden in 2010 became the first freshman quarterback to start a season opener in JoePa’s four-plus decades at Penn State.
McGloin ended the season as the starter after taking over for Bolden for good in early November, two weeks after Bolden was knocked out of win over Minnesota with a concussion.
They addressed questions about the quarterback contest at the ”Lift for Life” charity strength and conditioning event on Friday in entirely different ways.
With a crush of reporters and TV cameras surrounding him, McGloin – a broadcast journalism major who appears at ease in the spotlight – again pronounced himself as the man to beat. McGloin said he’s shaken off his five-interception performance in the 37-24 loss to Florida in the Outback Bowl in January.
”Absolutely, in my mind I am the guy to beat right now, it’s just the way I go about (things),” McGloin said. "Obviously there is an open competition, but I feel I’m going to go in there, and I’m going to perform well, and it’s going to be my job in the fall.”
He shook hands with fans and signed autographs for children dressed in oversized blue Penn State jerseys.
Bolden? He wasn’t immediately seen the first two hours of the event, but was later spotted by reporters in the crowd with fans.
”I feel like a starter,” Bolden was quoted as saying by The Morning Call of Allentown. ”I feel like way more than that. I feel like the guy.”
Bolden added later that he was ”totally for Penn State right now … as far as the transferring thing goes, I’m not even thinking about it.”
And both candidates have indicated there are no harsh feelings between them about the competition, and that they are friendly off the field.
”I see both Rob and Matt really taking charge, both showing leadership skills up and front this year,” said tackle Eric Shrive, who helped organized the Lift for Life event. ”Going into camp, it’s going to be a really great battle between the two of them.”
The player-organized contest raised more than $94,400 this year for kidney cancer research and patients. Shrive, whose uncle was recently diagnosed with the disease, raised a record $25,000 on his own.