Joe Paterno is a freaking genius.
That was the first thought that came to mind when I saw Penn State's news release naming true freshman Robert Bolden as the Nittany Lions' starting quarterback for the opener Saturday against Youngstown State. The announcement came down about three minutes before the Big Ten officially announced its new divisions and future schedules.
What better way to take the spotlight off a true freshman? Again, JoePa=genius.
I'm stunned by Penn State tabbing Bolden as its top quarterback. No one gave him a shot after spring ball, considering he hadn't even arrived on campus. Sure, Bolden had a great camp and caught on faster than everyone expected, but Paterno hates playing freshmen, much less at the quarterback spot.
Clearly, the 6-4, 208-pound Bolden made a strong impression on the legendary coach. That, or Penn State didn't see nearly enough development from sophomores Matt McGloin and Kevin Newsome. Probably a bit of both.
Paterno reiterated in the news release that he expects to play multiple quarterbacks early in the season. He considers Bolden, McGloin and Newsome as 1a, 1b and 1c on the depth chart.
"Based on what we have seen to this point, Bolden has a slight edge right now, but we are confident all three quarterbacks are ready to go and hope to give them an opportunity to play until we settle on the one that gives us the best chance to win," Paterno said in a statement.
Bolden looked impressive in the Big Ten Network's preview show at Penn State, and he brings excellent size and athleticism to the huddle. Like any freshman, he'll make some mistakes, but if the Penn State coaches think he's the best option now, he'll likely only get better with experience.
What a day. The Big Ten has divisions, Michigan and Ohio State are on opposite sides and Penn State is starting a true freshman at quarterback.
Times have changed.