Hall in Familiar Territory

Penn State offensive coordinator Galen Hall has been in this situation before. It's rare for a walk-on quarterback to start for a major college football program, but Nittany Lions' starter Matt McGloin has done that this season. It would be a rare situation for most offensive coordinators across the country. However, walk-on Kerwin Bell ran his offense at Florida in the mid-80s.

Galen Hall sees plenty of similarities in the two situations. Each quarterback came to school and started low on the depth chart. However, it didn't take long for either to start moving up.

McGloin saw his opening when the Nittany Lions were playing at Minnesota on October 23. Freshman Rob Bolden started all season, but his subpar play in the first half wasn't what the offense needed.

McGloin came in during the second half and went 6-for-13, throwing for 76 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Since then, McGloin hasn't looked back.

"I think what happened was very similar in both of them," Hall said. "Kerwin studied and whenever he got his chance, he took hold of it and put the team on his shoulders. Matt did the same thing."

In the eight games McGloin has played this season, he is 101-for-174, throwing for 1,337 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has the Penn State offense running the best it has all season, but it's the mental toughness the redshirt sophomore has shown that impressed his coordinator.

"It would've been very easy for Matt, being here two or three years, to come out and say he wasn't going to be that," Hall said. "Then he got his opportunity and took advantage of it."

It's hard for Hall to see his current situation at quarterback without remembering what Kerwin Bell did for him. When Bell started his first season at Florida in 1984, the quarterback gave Hall his best memory as a Gator. He still remembers that trip back to Gainesville after defeating Kentucky to clinch the SEC Championship.

"It was a very exciting time for myself, my family and The Gator Nation," Hall said. "I had a lot of fond memories from that."

Hall resigned as head coach of the Gators during the middle of the 1989 season. There are still some mixed emotions for Hall, and Penn State head coach Joe Paterno even said this week that Hall got "screwed" by the school. However, Hall claims there are no hard feelings.

"I just think that things happen, either for the good or the bad," Hall said. "You have to move on with your life. You can't sit and be a hermit. You've got to try and be successful. You've got to make the best of everything that comes of it."

Hall jumped around to multiple coaching positions after he left Florida, including NFL Europe and the XFL. He took the job as Penn State's offensive coordinator in 2004.

The speculation about Paterno retiring has surfaced during seemingly every recent season. Paterno is now 84 years old and claims he hasn't even thought about retiring.

Hall is now 70 years old. If he was on the staff of any other head coach, the questions about retirement would focus on Hall. However, he says that he isn't considering leaving any time soon.

"I really enjoy it," Hall said. "It's something you wake up in the morning and want to go. You want to get better for yourself and your team. As long as Joe will have me, I'll stay around."

"I'm not ready to go out and play golf every day. My game isn't good enough."

Fightin Gators Top Stories