Is the coaching staff's reluctance to settle on one quarterback creating tension within the Penn State football program? We get the lowdown.

The rumor mill has been churning out reports of tension within the Penn State football program. It is said to stem from the overall lack of production from the offense, which many attribute (at least in part) to the Nittany Lions' curious quarterback rotation.

Is there anything to these reports?

"Yes," said a program source.

Then he added, "But this is nothing new."

For the past few weeks, FOS practice reports have mentioned a certain level of frustration within the program, particularly in regard to the QB carousel. But we also noted that the coaches and veteran players had done of good job of keeping emotions in check and strong opinions in house.

That frustration appeared to end when the staff started Matt McGloin at quarterback at Northwestern two weeks ago. It was his first start of the season, and he played the entire game, as the struggling Rob Bolden was relegated to the bench.

"Early in the week leading up to the [Illinois] game, there was a lot of relief and some excitement because [the coaches] had basically picked McGloin as the guy against Northwestern," a source said.

However, practice observers say as the week prior to the Illinois game wore on the staff continued to work McGloin and Bolden with the first team.

"That was a punch in the gut, since everyone thought they had finally made the call," a source said.

McGloin got the nod vs. the Illini last week. But he was replaced by Bolden in the second period. Bolden struggled again, going 0 for 4 with a sack and a fumble on four series. The team managed one first down with him on the field.

The half ended in a scoreless tie, even though the PSU defense had held Illinois to three first downs and 79 yards of total offense. The Lions also had two takeaways, both in the second quarter.

Up until that point, sources say, most of the frustration had been limited to the offensive side of the ball — again, over the inability of the staff to settle on one QB. But in the second quarter of the Illinois game, with the Penn State defense once again dominating and the offense once again failing to provide any breathing room, tensions hit a high.

Multiple sources say at least two prominent defensive players complained openly to an offensive assistant on the sideline about Bolden being on the field and the lack of production from the offense. At least some of those comments we picked up on the headset and, as such, heard by the assistants in the press box.

That led to an offensive assistant barking at several defensive players in the locker room at halftime, according to the sources. At least one player barked right back, until another coach told him to pipe down or he might find himself on the bench in the second half.

There was no physical confrontation, though.

"It wasn't as dramatic as some of the rumors have painted it," one source said. "But yeah, guys are tired of [the QB platoon] and want some answers. They want to understand why it is happening."

The sources we talked to all said there's been no animosity toward Bolden, per se. In fact, a lot of people in the program are worried about him.

"Everyone can see he is struggling, but they keep putting him out there," a source said.

For the season, Bolden has connected on 44 of 102 passes (43.1 percent) for 526 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. His efficiency rating is 81.8.

McGloin has hit on 90 of 162 passes (55.6 percent) for 1,193 yards, seven touchdowns and three picks.

In a conference call with Big Ten reporters earlier this week, PSU coach Joe Paterno said he plans to continue playing both quarterbacks.

"We are still going to do it as a rotation," Paterno said. "It wouldn't be fair to Bolden for me not to still consider him as one of the kids that we are going to depend on. He's worked too hard."

Penn State is 8-1 on the season and the last remaining Big Ten team without a loss in conference. The Nittany Lions have a bye this week.


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