During an early-May tour stop on Penn State's annual Coaches Caravan, Nittany Lions' head coach Bill O'Brien explained his rationale behind finding a starting quarterback during the team's preseason training camp.
"I do believe in naming a starter," he said. "This year it will be a little bit later than it was last year. I don't like to hem and haw. I like to make decisions that are thought out, but I don't believe you can be wishy-washy about it. When it's time to make a decision, you've gotta make it."
Stating his preference to have one quarterback, O'Brien insisted that naming a starter was an important reality that would need to come to fruition, but never really ruled out the possibility of both juco transfer Tyler Ferguson and incoming Rivals.com five-star Christian Hackenberg playing this season.
Thursday morning via teleconference with Penn State beat reporters, O'Brien updated the status of a competition that has now gone for 13 practices, and, to this point, has no clear-cut winner.
"First of all, the update is, it's very even. It's even," O'Brien said. "I actually, I spoke to both guys this morning and I told them that I couldn't be prouder of where they're at right now and how they've worked. They both have had a lot of good moments and they've both made their share of mistakes, but it's very even right now. So, we'll let that play out a few more days."
Though O'Brien went on to say that he was "pretty close" to making a decision, the real information came when he clarified his position on the reality that both Ferguson and Hackenberg, regardless of who is named the starter, will in all likelihood play football at Penn State this season.
"Whoever I name as a starter, the next guy, quite obviously, has to be ready to go and more than likely will play this year," O'Brien said. "The reason why I say that is, in my experience in twenty years of doing this, many, many times, let's look at Matt Cassel in 2008 or some guys that we had at Georgia Tech or guys that we had at Maryland that were number two guys but it was really kind of like 1A, 1B, those guys played a lot of football for us.
"Let's not put a huge amount of stock into who the starter is. That guy, look, he'll start the game, but the other guy is going to play football for us this year."
With nothing really ruled out at this point, Penn State's position battle at quarterback remains an interesting prime plot to watch as preseason practice rolls along.
Blue White Illustrated will have full coverage of tomorrow's practice media availability.