STATE COLLEGE - It isn't exactly a news flash that football teammates get into fights on the practice field. It happens more often than people might think.
Under normal circumstances, Saturday's dust-up between Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin and wide receiver Curtis Drake - an argument over a busted pass route that began at practice and continued into the locker room - could be chalked up as just another heat-of-the-moment thing that went too far. No one would have thought anything of it, and it wouldn't have become a story with major implications. It probably would not have been reported at all.
But McGloin, who hit his head when he and Drake fell to the floor, suffered a seizure and a possible concussion. An ambulance was called to the scene and, in keeping with university policy, the Student Affairs office was brought into it. Now, the question as to who starts at quarterback for the Nittany Lions against Houston in the Jan. 2 TicketCity Bowl in Dallas is very much in doubt, and not just because of uncertainty over McGloin's medical situation.
McGloin, who started the final five games of the regular season after replacing Rob Bolden, will take concussion tests this week to determine whether he is physically able to play. Team physician Wayne Sebastianelli would make that call.
"After you've been knocked unconscious and suffered a seizure, it's going to take time," said McGloin, who noted he passed a mental test Sunday, but still was having problems with his balance and vision. "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get back in time for the bowl game."
But interim coach Tom Bradley said that decision is not in McGloin's hands, and maybe not in his or Sebastianelli's, either.
"We are going to talk about that," Bradley said when asked whether McGloin would start if healthy. "There is internal discipline, which has to do with our football team. Students Affairs will also deal with this, since the campus police were contacted and we had to have an ambulance come down here. We'll have to let the process take its course."
Not surprising, the McGloin-Drake scrap was a major topic among those players made available to reporters during Penn State's Bowl Media Day yesterday in Holuba Hall.
"I couldn't even tell you. [There are] countless amounts of scuffles," Penn State tailback Silas Redd said when asked how often players tempers flare. "But that's on any team, not just us.
"This one went a little overboard. Usually, it's kind of an unwritten rule that once you go off the field, everything's kind of squashed. That wasn't the case this time."
McGloin - who said he and Drake are good friends - blamed himself for the incident.
"I should have walked away from it," he said. "It was just two guys who are emotional about the game that got into an argument.
"As he came over to me, I couldn't back away. You can't even call it a fight, you'd call it a scuffle. We kind of just grabbed each other. It didn't last more than 10 seconds. As we fell to the ground, it was basically a freak accident the way I hit my head off the ground. You do that a hundred times, 99 out of a hundred [a reaction like a seizure] won't happen.
"As a quarterback for this university, I feel as if I'm held to a higher standard. I feel like I'm a role model for younger kids. In every way, I feel the coaches look at me to lead this team. I'm man enough to say I'm going to take responsibility for it. It was my fault. It should not have happened.
"With everything that's going on right now, we don't need another distraction."
Redd, who witnessed the incident, acknowledged being shaken up by what he saw.
"I've seen a lot of things in my life, but I've never seen a seizure," he said. "It was scary."
If McGloin is ruled out of the game for whatever reason, it remains to be seen whether Bolden also could be an administrative casualty as the result of what has been termed a "legal" problem.
"Rob's situation was a prank that dealt with a $2 bottle of Gatorade that was returned unopened," Bradley said, "He is taking care of it. There will be no [team] discipline for Bolden."
Jones may be available
Redshirt freshman quarterback Paul Jones has yet to take a snap in a game that counts, mostly because of academic issues. But the former four-star recruit is expected to raise his grade-point average to about the necessary 2.0 after the current marking period, and he might be available to play against Houston if McGloin, Bolden or both cannot go.
The only other quarterback to have logged game action this season is third-teamer Shane McGregor, who has completed one of four passes for 12 yards.
"He could play in the bowl game," Bradley said of Jones, who, as a scout-team mainstay, has spent the season mimicking the opposing quarterback. "He's looked awfully good in practice.
"He does all of the individual drills, all of the individual work. He's obviously throwing against our defense; he's going to be battle-tested, from that standpoint."