Homecoming is a great time on any college campus, but at Penn State there is just something special about the atmosphere, and we're not talking about the stench of the homecoming festivities from Friday evening either.
This weekend the color of the season (I hear they come and go, but I will never change) will be filled with the eye-catching red, orange and yellow on the drive in to State College, but will have plenty of blue and white surrounding Beaver Stadium, when Penn State looks to move to 6-1 and getting the second half of the season off on the right foot.
Despite a continuing quarterback debate, which seems to have been finalized based upon on-field performance (Matt McGloin), Penn state will likely use two quarterbacks against Purdue, who also has some quarterback issues to sort through it seems. McGloin has put up the better overall numbers compared to sophomore Rob Bolden, who seems to have lost his sense of confidence on the field leading the offense compared to his freshman swagger. The coaching may be to blame for this development by mishandling him ever since he was knocked out with a concussion last season. For better or for worse, McGloin looks to be the guy that will take charge in the huddle moving forward.
Purdue head coach Danny Hope says that preparing for two different quarterbacks should not make much of a difference, though.
“You have to assume that both the quarterbacks should be able to run somewhat of the same system so that everybody on the football team doesn't have to change just because which quarterback's in the game,” Hope said this week. “Both the quarterbacks can run the same offense in a lot of ways, and then there's some things that one quarterback might do a little bit better than the other quarterback. And you have a plan, and you identify those guys when they're in there on the field just like you would any other personnel adjustment.”
Both of the quarterbacks may be able to run the same plays, in theory, but those who have watched Penn State have seen two different offenses on the field. When Bolden is on the field he is often under pressure and his receivers rarely come up with a big catch. When McGloin is under center somehow the receivers manage to hold on to the football better.
McGloin will be without his favorite target this weekend (and next) as Derek Moye has been sidelined with a brokenfifth metatarsal bone (that’s in his foot). He is reported to have fallen down some stairs. Hmm, OK.
Against Purdue, Penn State should be able to survive without Moye, but they will certainly hope he comes back soon before the tough games in November creep up. Next week’s game against Illinois could be trouble, but we’ll worry about that next week.
As for this week, look for another stellar outing from the Penn State defense, which continues to impress. Pay attention to the play of defensive tackle Devon Still, who is starting to become a popular name in the sport. If the Eagles want to scout any defensive tackles, Still would certainly be worth checking out. The massive defensive tackle often finds himself in the offensive backfield disrupting the quarterback or running back. Don’t be surprised if he causes some problems against Purdue’s offensive line.
Nick will have your look at today’s Temple home game against Buffalo coming up shortly.