UNIVERSITY PARK - Daryll Clark eagerly waited more than eight months to get to Monday's three-minute quarterback meeting.
Clark, Pat Devlin and Paul Cianciolo sat around a table as coach Joe Paterno broke the news that Clark would be Penn State's starter for Saturday's season opener against Coastal Carolina.
Clark, a charismatic quote machine, has made no secret how badly he wanted the job. So how did he react upon hearing the news?
He smiled, Paterno said.
That was it.
No celebration or flamboyance. Clark's heart must have been pounding, but he had to control himself with Devlin and Cianciolo sitting next to him.
Did you know?
Penn State safety Mark Rubin competed against and even beat Olympics sensation Michael Phelps on occasion as a youth swimmer. Check Thursday's Mirror for more on the Rubin-Phelps connection.
Clark may have celebrated independently the rest of the day, but that's not known since Penn State didn't allow him to talk to reporters Tuesday. (Clark will be able to share his emotions for the first time during a teleconference this morning, and altoonamirror.com will have his reaction posted online by noon.)
''Clark's had a little more experience,'' Paterno said of his decision. ''He's had a good spring practice and a really good preseason, so we're going to go with Clark.''
That doesn't mean Devlin is out of the mix for good. Paterno said Devlin will play Saturday, and the competition to start full time may linger a few weeks.
Paterno did acknowledge, however, he does not want Clark ''looking over [his] shoulder'' wondering when he may get pulled out of the game.
''I want him to come in and play,'' Paterno said. ''It isn't a question if he's going to go here, he doesn't do this, he does that. He's going to go in and play and take over the team, and we'll go from there.''
Paterno's message to Clark was simple:
''Hey, just go in there and enjoy it,'' the coach said. ''It's your club right now, go get them.''
His message to Devlin - and Cianciolo, since Paterno always keeps him in the discussion - was to stay upbeat and be prepared to play.
''I'll encourage the other two kids, [saying], 'Hey, as soon as I get a chance to get you in there and the opportunity comes up, you've got to be ready,'' Paterno said.
Clark impressed his teammates during preseason camp with his abilities and leadership.
''He's made tremendous strides since last year,'' safety Mark Rubin said. ''Definitely everybody saw last year in the Alamo Bowl the type of runner that he is, but I don't think he's really given credit for being a pocket passer.
''He makes great reads, he has great arm strength, good field vision and definitely command of the huddle.''
SUBHD: Quarless passes test
Paterno said tight end Andrew Quarless, who had been indefinitely suspended in the spring for violating team rules, did everything he had to do to remain on the squad.
''I waited until his grades came in; he did a good job,'' Paterno said.
Mickey Shuler is listed as first-team tight end, Andrew Szczerba second and Quarless third. Quarless has the most experience of the three, leading some to believe he will be back in the starting mix before long.
''Right now he'd be probably behind Shuler,'' Paterno said. ''He wouldn't be ahead of Shuler. Shuler's had a good spring and good preseason. And the young kid [Szczerba] is not quite as fast as Quarless. Quarless is a pretty good athlete; so is Shuler. Now Quarless is OK.''
SUBHD: Who needs a hero?
Anthony Scirrotto has not changed positions, but Penn State has changed its terminology concerning its ''hero'' spot in the secondary.
Scirrotto has started the past two years and was listed as the hero, but he's now listed as the free safety and Rubin is the hero.
''Two years ago when I was the hero, the name of our positions were very confusing,'' Scirrotto said. ''The hero was actually the free safety and the free safety was actually the strong safety. So now to avoid confusion, we've just named me as a free safety and hero the strong safety.''
Scirrotto's responsibilities remain covering the middle-third of the field and playing the deep spot in the secondary, same as the past two years.
SUBHD: Coastal connection
Coastal Carolina's backup quarterback is William Richardson, brother of former Penn State quarterback Wally Richardson.
The younger Richardson started all 11 games last season, threw for 1,596 yards with 13 TDs and seven interceptions and completed 57.2 percent of his passes.
''We had looked at him in high school,'' Paterno said. ''We thought he was a good prospect, but not quite as good as somebody else we might have wanted.''
Richardson was beaten out for the starting job in the preseason by redshirt freshman Jamie Childers, a highly touted quarterback from Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
SUBHD: Sukay out
Redshirt freshman safety Nick Sukay will miss the season after suffering a broken bone in his right foot.
Cory Giger is at 949-7031 and firstname.lastname@example.org.