An Open Apology Letter to Matt McGloin
Dear Matthew James McGloin,
Hey Matt. How are…, actually, before I go any further, do you mind if I call you Matt? I feel like I can address you informally because we
are great friends and hang out all the time once crossed paths near the Pattee Library last spring semester. I do not recall a ton of details about that cold Friday morning in January around 11 a.m. except that you were less than a month removed from the team record, five-interception Outback Bowl performance, and I probably went to bed the night before thinking “I hope Wings Over doesn’t go under so Rob Bolden doesn’t transfer.”
Even back then, well before spring practice began, I was beyond confident that Bolden was winning this job. He was supposed to have the higher upside, the better mechanics, the more impressive physical stature. Regardless of what happened in the Blue-White Game, I was convinced the job was already won.
On the night of June 12, when it sounded like Bolden returned to Happy Valley for summer practice, I was ecstatic. All throughout the summer, I waited for the big announcement that he would be named the starter. Instead, it looked like a quarterback audition against Indiana State with a starter being named pre-Alabama. Alright, no worries. Little bit of a letdown, but no big deal. Bolden gets off the bus first; he will light it up in the first quarter and this competition will be over. That didn’t exactly happen and with no one separating themselves in the first game, we headed into the Alabama game with two quarterbacks.
With Penn State trailing 7-3, you entered the game with twenty seconds remaining in the first quarter and promptly went three and out. The “We Want Bolden!” chants quickly began, accompanied by fans holding up one finger in the air. Not much about that game was pretty, but your final line of 1-10, 0 passing yards stood out like a library in Kentucky. Everyone was frustrated. Some directly tweeted at you to express their frustration. I was not one of those people; however, I did write this.
At the time it was received well, and I thought it was a good piece. I still do, but before I stray too far off topic going over the season, that is why I am ultimately writing this. It looks like you have proven my initial prediction to be incorrect. Congratulations. Bolden led the game-winning drive against Temple, but the last month has been all about you. You even beat Iowa, something All-Big Ten quarterback Daryll Clark could never do. Although your coach would not commit to it yesterday, you got your first start against Northwestern last Saturday, and I’d bet you will receive most of the snaps for the rest of the season. The team is currently winning, and as long as quarterbacks are not riding motorcycles without helmets or fighting dogs, a lot of off-the-field criticisms go away during winning streaks.
More importantly though, this is your chance to really impress the Nittany Lion faithful and ease the pain from last year. You guys currently control your own destiny in the Big Ten. The schedule gets tougher, but the potential reward becomes bigger. This Saturday, Halloween weekend, one day short of the Michigan game last year where your reign started to take shape, it’s Illinois. Get by the Illini, and it’s a Nebraska team whose defense might not be as feared as we originally thought.
Two wins at home would set up an intriguing game in Columbus: a chance for redemption in the place it started to go wrong last year. Wisconsin and their high-powered offense would await in the season finale with a trip to Indianapolis perhaps on the line.
Unfortunately, at the moment, you do not have your favorite target in Derek Moye, but you do have help in Silas Redd, an improving offensive line, and a contingent of talented receivers. Unlike last year, you have a powerhouse defense. Even without Michael Mauti and Pete Massaro, the unit is only allowing 13.1 points per game. They are there to make your job easier.
Ultimately, I believe we both desire the same thing: Penn State winning football games. Your arm, however, has a bit more influence than my voice and will have a huge impact in how the season will end.
Perhaps it has not been the smoothest year between you and Penn State fans, but this is the chance to turn over a new leaf. Penn State has not defeated a ranked team since the 2009 Capital One Bowl and has not beaten a ranked team at home since Michigan State in 2008. As the opponents become tougher, opportunity knocks. Hopefully things work out, but if they do not, you have this apology letter from me to frame.
Congrats on proving me wrong so far and best of luck,
Kirk Herbstreit Drew Balis
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