The Penn State Nittany Lions found themselves in a quarterback race this spring between junior-college transfer Tyler Ferguson and sophomore Steven Bench. Head coach Bill O’Brien was still mulling between the two following the spring game when his decision got a lot simpler after Bench announced he would transfer out. With Ferguson now the best option currently on campus, can he hold onto the job once fall camp opens?
Ferguson played well enough in the spring game, throwing two touchdown passes, though he failed to engineer a scoring drive against the No. 1 defense. There are enough questions about his ability to step up and lead the Nittany Lions through the Big Ten next season that O’Brien did not publicly give him any kind of endorsement one way or the other before Bench’s transfer.
That leads many to wonder if the coach is simply waiting on incoming freshman Christian Hackenberg to arrive this summer and win the starting job. There have been plenty of accolades for the young signal caller as he heads to Penn State, but he will be a true freshman in one of the tougher conferences in college football. A year of seasoning could do him a world of good, though the lack of quarterback depth could prevent that.
While Ferguson sits at the top of the quarterback depth chart for now, his position is in no way safe. Fall camp will determine whether O’Brien goes the safe, conservative route by installing the older and more experienced, though less naturally talented, Ferguson or if he throws Hackenberg into the deep end to see just what he can do.
Which quarterback should end up under center to start the 2013 season?