Catching Up with Bolden

Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden, denied a release from his scholarship in January by coach Joe Paterno, has by all indications adopted a wait-and-see attitude about his future in Happy Valley.

Rob Bolden, the first freshman to start a season opener under Paterno this past fall (and the starter in eight games in all), will be part of a quarterback battle this spring that will also include Matt McGloin and Paul Jones, and possibly Kevin Newsome (barring a position switch).

But nothing is assured beyond that.

"I'm going to be here, working hard and see what happens from there," Bolden said Wednesday, adding that he is concentrating on "nothing more than just getting better, pretty much."

"Obviously if I do decide to stay," he added, "I'll have a little better grasp of the offense."

But it is not assured that he will stay. He is bound by his letter of intent to remain only a single year, so he could depart at the end of the current semester.

He said "no specific thing" has to happen for him to remain with the Nittany Lions.

"I'm just here to see how it goes, see what I can learn from here, see how I feel about my coaches," he told a group of reporters who had staked out the football complex for Penn State's annual Pro Day. "Obviously the bond I have with my teammates, that's not going to change during the spring. We're a tight group. So basically I'm just here to see how the spring goes, see what I can learn from these guys and see I can stay or if I decide to go."

Bolden started the first seven games last fall, but suffered a concussion in the last of those, at Minnesota. McGloin started in his place the following week, in a victory over Michigan, but Bolden returned to that role the week after that, against Northwestern, only to be yanked early in the game. McGloin then started the final three regular-season games, as well as the Outback Bowl against Florida -- a 37-24 loss in which he was intercepted five times.

Shortly after that game, Bolden and his father, Rob Sr., met with Paterno to ask about a release. The younger Bolden has said he was considering that before the bowl game, and he said it again Wednesday.

But certainly it didn't help his outlook that Paterno decided not to use him against the Gators, and the day after the game the coach said he second-guessed himself for sticking with McGloin.

Moreover, Bolden said Wednesday, Paterno "had told me even during the game, ‘Make sure you're ready.' At one point I had my helmet. I'm ready to go and everything. I thought I had a chance to get in."

But he did not. He wound up completing 112 of 193 passes for the season (58 percent), for 1,360 yards and five touchdowns. He was intercepted seven times.

He said he was "kind of shocked" that Paterno did not release him from his scholarship.

"He put it out there that it was not the best thing for me to leave," Bolden said. "He thought that I should stay or whatever, obviously, and that he wouldn't give me my release. And if I did decide to go, that if I don't have a release basically I would have to pay for school (elsewhere). Obviously that's something I'm not looking forward to doing."

In fact, he said it was an option neither he nor his family ever seriously considered. So he's back, at least for now.

"It's not that hard for me," he said. "I haven't been treated any differently. Everybody's pretty accepting of me and what I was trying to do. Me and my team, we're on the same page, so it's not really hard."

He expects the competition this spring to be as open as promised. And when somebody asked him whether he thought he was the best quarterback on the roster, he said, "I don't want to brag or anything. I feel confident in myself. Everybody else here is good as well, or they wouldn't have gotten a scholarship."


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