What is the latest with the quarterback situation?
In Monday's practice Matt McGloin was back to seeing the majority of first-team snaps with Rob Bolden getting most of the remaining work. The consensus among observers is that the staff is going to go back to McGloin as the starter against Ohio State. Joe Pateno said as much at his press conference Tuesday.
"It's tough to ignore what Matt's been able to do, but the Buckeyes are a whole different ballgame," one observer said.
How is Bolden's demeanor?
"He's not thrilled, but he's an upbeat guy. He wants to be on the field, but more than anything he wants the team to succeed, so he's supporting McGloin. But the coaches are telling him to be ready," an observer explained.
According to another observer, "I think he's upset with himself more than anything. They've been putting in extra work on seeing and adjusting to the blitz (in practice) and he just missed it (against Northwestern)."
Why did the coaches ultimately pull Bolden?
Several observers indicate that he was pulled because "he wasn't picking up the blitz" and there was "concern he was going to get injured."
The quarterbacks are getting additional work on blitz breakdowns this week, because "Ohio State comes twice as hard and twice as fast as anything Northwestern threw out."
How have the players responded to the quarterback situation?
"Most of the guys like Matt and Rob. They both work hard and check their ego at the door. Those are the type of guys they want to play with," one observer said.
As another explained, "I think the bottom line is that the players don't really care who is under center, they just want to succeed and get the best players in a situation to win. This is all part of the game."
What is the mood of the squad heading into Ohio State?
The players know they have a tall order to go into Columbus and knock off the Buckeyes. But "Paterno is telling them life's about taking the opportunities presented and this is a big one."
The sentiment is that the team is "thrilled to get Joe No. 400" and it is "excited to go to Columbus" with a chance to spoil the Buckeyes' Big Ten title hopes.
"The team's closer, they just made history together — and sure it was only one win, but the symbolism and how they did it will pay dividends for this squad," an observer said.
What are the biggest focal points in practice this week?
"[The coaches] aren't going to change too much this week in practice, but they will continue to focus on the third downs and red-zone work," an observer said. "They are also working on their screens. But the real work is with responding to pocket breakdowns and getting a big push off the snap. Ohio State's defense is one of the best (in the country), so every practice rep counts."
On defense the focus is on tackling "through the ballcarrier" and "blasting to the ball." The defensive line is also stressing trying to get consistent pressure on the pocket. There's hope that the return of Jordan Hill and Jack Crawford will help the rotation.
What did the squad take away from the Northwestern win?
"To never quit," one observer said. "It's as simple as that."
As another explained, "It showed everyone that if they don't panic and trust each other and just do their job and believe that the guys around you are going to do their job that success will come. That's what being a team is all about."
What is the state of mind of Evan Royster?
The feeling is that he is more relaxed and loose and has been spending more downtime with teammates. "I think the pressure early on got to him and he closed up a bit," one observer explained. "He got the (PSU all-time rushing) record off his back and has had two mega games. He knows he'll have to run hard against Ohio State."
Royster and the offensive line have been putting in extra time and he's been taking in extra film as well to "improve reads on his blocks."
Is Royster looking over his shoulder at Silas Redd?
"Yes. And cheering him all the way," an observer said. "Evan just rolled up a ton of yardage (in the last two games). He's worked with Silas since he arrived and he's thrilled to see him blast open a game."
Royster is on record as saying Redd will break the school career rushing record by the time he is finished in Happy Valley.
Royster and Redd continue to work together and critique each other's games in practice. "As great of a career as Evan has had, he's told Silas he could be among the best ever here,' an observer said. "If you really watch (Redd) he's got amazing vision and moves — a deadly combo."
So what was said at halftime that sparked the comeback?
"Joe talked about believing in each other and making history beyond the win count, but I don't think it was a speech. On the sideline before the half the players were huddled and guys like (Brett) Brackett and (Stefen) Wisniewski were saying this was on everyone and they just needed to get it done together," one observer said.
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