Someone asked Matt McGloin on Wednesday to describe the difference between Penn State's offense in 2012 vs. its offense in 2011.
Matt McGloin said he's communicating better with his teammates each week.
The sound of laughter -- incredulous laughter -- came back over the phone.
"You can't compare the two," the senior quarterback said during a conference call with reporters. "All I'll say is that I'm happy to be in this offense this year."
McGloin should be. He's at the controls.
There are differences in the offense's statistics so far -- Penn State is averaging 254.5 passing yards per game, compared to 177 last season, and 378.5 total yards per game compared to 341.8 a year ago -- but the biggest change for McGloin, who is on pace for a career season, might be his responsibilities at the line of scrimmage. Bill O'Brien's offense calls for the quarterback to, as the coach often says, "get the team into the right play."
Through four games, McGloin has done that, with few exceptions, to the coach's liking.
"One of the things in playing quarterback in a system like ours is we put a lot on your plate, so to speak, and you have to have a good deal of brain power and you have to be able to understand what you're watching on film and be able to take that to the practice field and then take it to the game field," O'Brien said Tuesday. "Every week he's improved on what he sees and getting us into the right play and using little tricks of the trade to help himself to get us into the right play."
McGloin said he's getting more comfortable with reading the defense pre-snap and getting his teammates on the same page.
"The toughest part is you have to know where the 10 other guys are on the field," McGloin said. "Guys are really starting to communicate with me."
O'Brien and graduate assistant Steve Williams send signals into McGloin, who said he tries to break the huddle with 17 or 18 seconds left on the play clock.
"If we mess up the formation, it's difficult when you get up there with 8 or 9 seconds left," McGloin said. "You don't have time to do too much but call timeout or run the play you have."
Penn State has had to burn some early timeouts this season, and O'Brien has shouldered the blame for that himself. By and large, though, the Nittany Lions have had the calls they wanted, and O'Brien thinks they can be even better as the season progresses and McGloin gets even more comfortable in the offense.
"We showed him the tape (of the Temple game) yesterday, and he knows that he can continue to improve a lot and play a lot better than he's playing right now," O'Brien said. "So like I told him yesterday, a lot of it's up to him, just him continuing to work and going out there and executing even better at a higher level than he is right now."