UNIVERSITY PARK - Joe Paterno has a history of not letting true freshman quarterbacks talk to the media early in their careers.
So it was not surprising that Rob Bolden did not appear in the Penn State Media Room after sparking the Nittany Lions to a 44-14 victory over Youngstown State in the season-opener Saturday.
What was surprising, or perhaps amusing, was JoePa doesn't even want to talk about Bolden.
"Do we have to go over that again? he said. "I'm so tired [talking about the quarterbacks]."
After becoming the first true freshman quarterback of the Paterno Era to start a season-opener, Bolden let his play speak loudly and clearly as Penn State overcame a slow start and put away the Penguins in the second half.
The 6-foot-3 Bolden completed 20-of-29 passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted once.
His strong arm and quick release are apparent, but his intangibles are what helped him leap over three other candidates - Kevin Newsome, Matt McGloin and Paul Jones - who have been on campus longer and participated in the Blue-White Game.
"Great poise," defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said of Bolden. "We put him on his back a few times in practice, but he comes right back. He stands in the pocket. He doesn't say a whole lot, but he has a good command in the huddle."
Bolden endured some early hits Saturday, did not take a sack and checked down from his primary targets while showing a presence on the field uncommon for first-year starters.
"I knew he was going to be a great player from the time I saw him," receiver Devon Smith said. "He's calm and relaxed. I was really proud of him today."
So was everyone else, or at least everyone else willing to talk about him.
"He's as good as advertised," guard DeOn'tae Pannell, who grew up near Bolden in Michigan, said.
"He's got a strong arm and a great touch," receiver Derek Moye said. "Once he got here, in the first week of camp, we were amazed at how he hit his second- and third-options."
There was one Paterno who didn't mind addressing Bolden.
"Most freshman come in and are stumbling over the play calls," quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno said. "He came in expecting to compete and expecting to start."
Jay Paterno cautioned that next week's game at No. 1 Alabama will bring a whole new set of challenges that could temper the enthusiasm about Bolden.
"The last three days, everybody has been telling me what a great decision we made," he said. "We'll see how everyone feels in three weeks."
JoePa left the door open to playing more than Bolden as soon as Saturday - "whether that means we will have one all year or three alternating, I don't know," he said - and lamented at how the team arrived at the decision/dilemma of starting a freshman QB.
"We are fortunate in a way that we have some kids that can play in that position," he said. "We are unfortunate that the timing of it is screwed up because we lost a kid [Pat Devlin] in a transfer [to Delaware]. We had to adjust, and we ended up with some talented kids that have to learn."
Bolden looks like a fast learner.
Granted, it's one game, and yes, it was against Youngstown State. But it sure looks like a new Penn State quarterback has been born - regardless of how soon it takes JoePa to sign the birth certificate.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.