Penn State's New QB Timeline

By Jacob Kaucher

Published 08/20 2013 04:50PM

Updated 08/20 2013 07:14PM

Bill O’Brien has a new timeline to name his starting quarterback.

The Nittany Lions head coach says he expects to make the call by the end of the week. 

So why even publicly name a starter before the season?

Especially given that Penn State's week one opponent has a QB battle of it's own. 

And Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer won't name a starter before the game.

O’Brien, though, has a different view. 

“I will name somebody,” the second-year Penn State head coach says. “I'll tell you guys.”

Plain and simple, there has to be a go-to guy under center.

As for why he's pushed back his QB decision, O’Brien says he wants to give both Tyler Ferguson and Christian Hackenberg as long as possible to prove themselves. 

“Neither of them have been here very long,” O’Brien says. “I think it's important for each guy to continue to earn their stripes and continue to gain the respect of their teammates. Until I feel really good about where that's at, you know I'd say both guys it's very close.”

Other members of the Penn State offense say they're confident in both QBs to lead them onto the field.
A big reason is experience elsewhere, whether it's offensive line, wide receivers, tight ends, or running backs.

“We're a lot farther ahead than where we were last year,” junior tailback Bill Belton says, “just because we have guys returning. And basically it's no limit to what we can do this year.”

And although O’Brien has called himself a one QB coach - even leaving Matt McGloin in during lopsided wins a year ago - this season will be a little different.

“Whoever the backup is, is a young guy that needs to get his feet wet a little,” O’Brien says. “So why not play him a series here or there, just to get him into a major college football game and let him get his feet wet. I think that's important, too.”

Tuesday’s practice was the big start of preparing for Syracuse.

Junior running back Zach Zwinak has now been cleared for contact.

Safety Adrian Amos wore a red no-hit jersey. O’Brien characterized the junior’s injury as minor to the hamstring and ankle, calling it “no big deal.”

Linebacker Ben Kline is day-to-day.

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