If Penn State's 37-24 loss to Florida in the Outback Bowl didn't put enough of a damper on the Nittany Lions' 2010 season, news 24 hours later that quarterback Rob Bolden intends to seek a transfer provided an exclamation point.
Bolden's father, Robert Sr., told the Mirror the decision was made prior to the Outback Bowl because of dissatisfaction over playing time. Rob Bolden the player plans to meet with Joe Paterno soon in hopes of being released from his scholarship, his father said.
Before addressing the media Sunday, Paterno knew Bolden was "discouraged," and the coach was second-guessing himself for maybe not finding a series or two for him against Florida.
Mirror file photo by J.D. Cavrich
QB coach Jay Paterno is seen with Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin during a game last season.
Though Paterno has sung the same song for practically his entire career when it comes to use of the backup quarterback, he almost never has deviated from the player he thought gave the Lions their best chance to win.
And despite his atrocious, five-interception game, Matt McGloin was still Penn State's best bet - regardless of what Mr. Bolden thinks.
For starters, Penn State was winning at halftime and was in the game the entire way. This is not Little League where everybody - especially the quarterback - gets a turn to pitch.
If the Lions were down 24-0 in the third quarter, that's different.
Bolden's rash decision is also a reason why starting out the season with a true freshman quarterback usually doesn't work. Look at the entitlement it created in this case.
Bolden had a lot of good moments this year before suffering a concussion at Minnesota in the seventh game.
After sitting out the following week against Michigan for precautionary measures, he started against Northwestern, and the Lions fell behind 21-0. They were listless - just as they were under Bolden in their previous home game, a 33-13 embarrassment to Illinois.
McGloin engineered a great comeback against Northwestern, which probably turned out to be the Lions' best win of the season, and then played tremendous in the first half against Ohio State before unraveling in the second half.
Clearly, McGloin was much more sure of himself at the line of scrimmage and instilled a confidence in the team that Bolden didn't. And that is not Bolden's fault. He had only been around the program since June. He has a bright future - whether it's at Penn State or Western Michigan.
But the fact is a season that was 3-3 in mid-October could have very easily turned into 5-7 or worse with no bowl game. Not that 7-6 is a whole lot better, but it is better, and McGloin deserves credit for that.
Still, most figured the quarterback job would be re-opened for the spring to include McGloin, Bolden and redshirt freshman Paul Jones, and even by not playing in the Outback Bowl, Bolden's stock went up.
Now, what we don't know is what Bolden was being told behind the scenes. JoePa originally said he hoped to put Bolden back in the Northwestern game. Maybe he was told he was going to play every week since.
Obviously, communication is lacking, and it's not limited to how quickly the Lions can get the play in from the sideline while JoePa screams at Mike McQueary.
What we do know is this is the third quarterback in two years, joining Pat Devlin and Kevin Newsome, to virtually race away from Penn State. Neither Devlin or Newsome waited around for the bowl game to leave, and Bolden wasn't exactly a picture of engagement Saturday.
No one looks good here - not Bolden, not his family, not the coaching staff.
It especially doesn't speak well of position coach Jay Paterno, who apparently hasn't been able to talk these players off the ledge.
During his 11-year tenure as QB coach, JayPa has not developed an NFL quarterback, unlike his predecessor, Dick Anderson, who helped put three (Kerry Collins, Wally Richardson and Kevin Thompson) on NFL rosters.
That said, at least until Saturday, Penn State's quarterbacks acquitted themselves reasonably well this season, as did two of the past three starters, Michael Robinson and Daryll Clark - two players, incidentally, who waited their turn.
Appreciation for them is higher today. They knew there was only one ball, but they were at least willing to share it.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.