UNIVERSITY PARK - Matt McGloin sat down on the side of the Penn State Media Room and made a quick read.
"The seat's too high," he said.
As a semicircle of reporters quickly formed around him, McGloin adjusted easily - almost as easily as he picked apart Eastern Michigan's defense by completing 14-of-17 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns to engineer the Nittany Lions' 34-6 victory Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Joe Paterno talks with Matt McGloin.
"I had some success sure, but all the credit doesn't go to me," McGloin said. "The offensive line gave us a lot of time, and our receivers made some great plays."
True on both counts. McGloin was not intercepted or sacked, and the Lion offense took advantage of Eastern Michigan's commitment to stopping the run.
"We knew we'd have to throw the ball," Joe Paterno said.
Rob Bolden started, but the offense only managed a field goal and a 3-0 lead before McGloin was summoned. He hit his first eight passes in what was his best outing of the young season.
We can debate all day - it's already taken place through September - on whether Bolden or McGloin should be the Nittany Lions' starting quarterback.
What can't be debated is how McGloin has played in Penn State's three victories and how he's picked up the team after the offense has not been sharp under Bolden.
The West Scranton gunslinger is now 33-of-44 for 421 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Lions' victories.
Clearly, the offense moves the ball better with McGloin at the helm, but the coaching staff has not been inclined to designate one quarterback and just go with him.
"I know everybody outside the program wants us to pick one over the other, but I don't know what the rush is," quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno said. "We have two starters. It's a good problem to have. I think we have two guys we can win with, and outside of the Alabama game, they've played pretty well."
McGloin and Bolden would both like to have the position to themselves, "but they're learning how to handle it well," offensive co-captain Quinn Barham said.
Offensive coordinator Galen Hall, who backed up All-American Richie Lucas in 1960, said sometimes the second quarterback, "can see what they're doing [on defense] and may be a little better prepared than even playing at the beginning."
McGloin isn't totally buying that. He said, "I take my mental reps," before he's called upon, but he added, "I don't think it's an advantage. But if coach wants to do a two-quarterback system, it's fine with me. I think we're getting more and more comfortable with it."
A quarterback controversy can divide a team - former Penn State QB and ABC broadcaster Todd Blackledge said as much during the Lions' game with Alabama and recommended picking one - but that doesn't seem to be an issue here.
"You can't be stubborn," McGloin said. "Who doesn't want to play [start]? We're two quarterbacks going at it. Guys will respond the way you respond. If you're miserable, the team will be miserable. You have to stay positive and act like you're the guy."
McGloin has definitely been better in relief than Bolden has been as a starter - except against Alabama, when McGloin looked overmatched and completed just 1-of-10 for zero yards.
"Alabama was in mid-season form," McGloin said. "It was a big-time team, and we're better for it. That day we were pressing to make plays. [But] at this level of football, you can't look back. You have to learn from it and move forward."
It's a delicate call because while McGloin may be the better player right now, and logic would suggest the best player starts, the formula is proving itself and there's uncertainty over whether a McGloin and then Bolden rotation would be as effective.
Then there's the competition factor as Indiana State, Eastern Michigan and Temple, though the Owls are vastly improved, are not Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
That's why the Big Ten schedule will ultimately decide whether the Lions have a No. 1 quarterback and which one it is.
"I'm definitely excited to go into Big Ten play," McGloin said. "We feel really comfortable in the conference and how it sets up in the Leaders Division. We feel we have a shot to win it."
As for his role, McGloin said, "Anytime I'm in there I feel I'm going to contribute. I just want to show people what I'm capable of doing."
He is - with his arm and his attitude.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.