Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Paging Kevin Newsome, paging Kevin Newsome ... (posted 10.5.11)

Paging Kevin Newsome
The Penn State offensive coaches would like to apologize, and beg you to return (actually they probably would never do that, but they should consider it)

What might have been ...

Vince Young lite. A poor man's Tim Tebow. That was the hope, the belief, for Kevin Newsome. Just a little more than a year ago, that was his destiny at Penn State.

He was a quarterback who ran like a tailback. When the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Newsome turned upfield and hit the hole he could carry tacklers with him. He was adept handling the ball, such that operating some sort of spread option, a la Florida under Tebow, seemed possible.

It would be similar to the Michael Robinson-led PSU attack of '05, with a little tweaking. With Newsome's inexperience and limited throwing ability, it might have taken the 2010 season to get fully up to speed. But by 2011 and 2012, it would be rolling. All it would take was ...

Alas, the coaches elected not to tweak the system to suit Newsome. The great four-way QB competition of 2010 - which Newsome entered as the favorite - went to true freshman Rob Bolden. This essentially was the beginning of the end for Newsome.

Few seemed distraught by this. Though Bolden had just stepped on campus, he was a highly regarded recruit with a fabulous release. There might be growing pains, but the future of the Penn State offense shimmered in the reflection off Bolden's golden right arm.

Thirteen months later we all know how that has turned out. The McBolden debacle is a weekly soap opera. And Newsome is gone. He transferred after holding on as long as he could, two full years at PSU.

But what if Newsome had gotten the call for the 2010 season? The hindsight game is a tricky one. Few second-guessed the Bolden decision then, though RFBS felt remorse at not being able to see what Newsome would do.

Assuming Newsome stayed healthy as the No. 1 QB, he would have committed a lot of turnovers last season - both fumbles and interceptions - and PSU probably would have finished with a similar record. 7-5 sounds right. Perhaps the bowl game would have turned out differently, as Florida was ripe for the taking except Matt McGloin kept throwing interceptions.

This season? Things would be clicking. The Lions probably would still be 4-1, but Newsome and RB Silas Redd would be piling up the yards. The offense would have a clearer identity, more purpose and cohesion. The close wins over Indiana and Temple would have been more comfortable. Newsome to WR Derek Moye would be an inceasingly effective passing connection.

Off the field, Bolden would be long gone from Penn State. He almost transferred after last season when he didn't get a shot in the Outback Bowl as Matt McGloin was throwing five interceptions.

McGloin would still be an anonymous backup former walk-on. His alleged moxie would remain a largely unknown commodity.

Newsome would have one more year next season. He would depart PSU considered largely successful individually after a rough sophomore season, perhaps on par with the legacy of Darryl Clark.

He also would have been the final quarterback of the Joe Paterno era.

What might have been ...

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