Last updated: February 16. 2013 6:42PM - 469 Views

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That familiar anxious feeling, the one that hits every August, is back. For Matt McGloin, it??s stronger than ever.

It??s not just that he??ll be back on the football field next week for a live game ?? his first since Thanksgiving weekend ?? but that it will represent a turn of the page at Penn State.

??I??m more excited for Sept. 1 than any start I??ve had before,? said McGloin, who will start in the Nittany Lions?? opener that day against Ohio. ??Being the game one starter is different from what I??ve had in the past. ? I??ve been getting anxious and trying to stay focused. But you can??t help but think about what that??s going to be like running out of that tunnel Sept. 1.?

McGloin has made 10 starts at quarterback for the Lions, but this will be his first in a season opener. And this one happens to be the first game with Bill O??Brien leading the program following a nightmarish nine months of scandal and sanctions.

On a personal level, the Scranton native is eager to see how far he has come under the tutelage of O??Brien and new position coach Charlie Fisher.

??I??m definitely light years ahead of where I was (at this time last year),? McGloin said. ??Not just as a quarterback, but as a leader.?

??He??s always been a confident guy. He has that strong inner confidence,? starting guard John Urschel said. ??But yes, the biggest thing now is how much leader he??s been. He??s really stepped up this year and is taking control of this offense.?

Penn State will certainly need that, especially with the transfers of two top playmakers in Silas Redd and Justin Brown.

As far as his brand-new receiving corps, McGloin praised sophomore Allen Robinson as the team??s new top target while also mentioning Shawney Kersey and Alex Kenney as dependable wideouts.

Discussing newcomers, McGloin said he expects Eugene Lewis, a fellow District 2 product, and Trevor Williams to see the field as true freshmen.

But next Saturday??s game will be about more than just football. An offseason of unprecedented chaos has left players, alumni and fans alike with raw emotions from the Jerry Sandusky scandal and the fallout that continues to develop.

Acting athletic director Dave Joyner said Thursday that the blue ribbons announced for the uniforms this season to support child abuse awareness will appear on the backs of the players?? helmets.

That, along with names debuting on the jerseys will be a stark reminder of how different things are now for the Lions.

The players are hopeful that the season can help the Penn State community come together.

??There??s a lot of better people who could represent Penn state, but we??ve been blessed to be in a position to represent the university,? Urschel said. ??We need to make the most of it and do the best we can to show the outside world how great a place Penn State is.?

??We know it can??t heal everything,? senior Mike Zordich said of the football season. ??But we know it can help.?


Don??t miss our Penn State preview special section. Coming Wednesday

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