- Associated Press - Friday, July 9, 2010

STATE COLLEGE, PA. (AP) - Penn State quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno was checking in by phone with his vacationing mother when his father wanted to chat.

Joe Paterno wanted to run ideas by him about the Nittany Lions, but Jay said he quickly begged off the phone. The Nittany Lions’ boss might have had a long list of suggestions for getting the candidates ready for what should be an interesting preseason competition for the quarterback job.

With a month to camp, it’s not clear who will replace graduated, record-setting senior Daryll Clark.

“I said, ‘No, Mom. I got to go, I got to go,” Jay Paterno said with a laugh Friday . “I knew the conversation wasn’t going to be a quick one. I knew he had some ideas for me.”

Joe Paterno was taking his annual beach vacation when his son called. At a player-organized charity event Friday in State College, Jay Paterno said his 83-year-old father is fine and will be ready for the season after being slowed this summer by illness.

The elder Paterno, legendary in his family for shunning doctor visits and medication, skipped out on three alumni functions around the state and the Big Ten meetings in Chicago while fighting off an intestinal bug, then an adverse reaction to antibiotics prescribed to him for dental work.

JoePa will be ready for camp, Jay Paterno assured. “If we had a practice tomorrow and played a game tomorrow, he’d be fine,” he said.

Up in the air, though, is the starting quarterback job.

Contact between coaches and players in this part of the summer is limited, so it’s up to the quarterbacks and wideouts to organize their own drills. There are plenty of both to go around at Penn State _ four signal-callers and plenty of young, talented receivers looking to develop rhythm and get an edge.

“We got a lot of wideouts, so whenever one of (the quarterbacks) says, ‘I want to throw,’ four or five guys step up,” said senior receiver Brett Brackett.

Officially, the QB job is wide open. Sophomores Kevin Newsome and Matt McGloin, the backups to the charismatic Clark last season, have been joined in Happy Valley by highly touted freshmen Paul Jones and Robert Bolden.

Unofficially, history points to Newsome as the leader. He was second string last year, ahead of McGloin, and JoePa typically places experience at a premium when a job comes open _ especially under center.

Plus, while Jones and Bolden both hold promise, the chances of a freshman starting at quarterback for Paterno are very slim.

Jay Paterno, though, isn’t giving into preconceived notions. The only timetable to name a starter is by the season opener Sept. 4 against Youngstown State.

“Everybody wants to make certain assumptions about it. I haven’t made any, really,” he said. “We haven’t given anybody an edge.”

Newsome didn’t attend the charity weight-training competition Friday for kidney cancer research because of a family obligation. McGloin, though, sweated it out at the team’s indoor practice facility as fans watched while players groaned through events like flipping over tractor-trailer tires and racing through sets on weight machines.

McGloin, a former walk-on, lists one of his main strengths as game management. He has heard the whispers that he doesn’t possess Newsome’s speed or arm strength.

“Some people say I can’t get the job done,” McGloin said. “It just makes me work harder, it’s more motivation.”

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