McQueary's absence felt on Penn State sideline

Posted: November 12, 2011

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Before about a week ago - when seemingly everything here came crashing down - Mike McQueary was known as the fiery redhead who took the bulk of Joe Paterno's heat on the sideline when something went wrong.

But since McQueary was confirmed as the graduate assistant who allegedly witnessed former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing a child in the showers of the football building in 2002, he was been vilified by many for not doing more than simply alerting his father and his head coach.

McQueary's sideline presence was missed by the Nittany Lions in Penn State's 17-14 loss to Nebraska on Saturday. The wide receivers coach, usually in charge of relaying plays from the coaches box upstairs, substituting personnel and getting in his players' faces, was placed Friday on paid administrative leave after Penn State said he received multiple threats. He was reportedly not in State College.

University president Rodney Erickson reiterated Saturday that McQueary is on leave and said it is "subject to further review." All signs point to McQueary, a State College native, former Penn State quarterback (1994-97) and coach of eight years, never coaching again at Penn State.

"It was really different," wide receiver Derek Moye, a fifth-year senior and team co-captain, said of McQueary's absence. "I think when he was here he didn't get enough credit for what he did. He kept it very organized on the sidelines, sending people in, sending people out, calling plays."

Interim coach Tom Bradley said there were some communication issues with play calling early on. Quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno, who moved from his usual spot in the coaches box to the sideline, and graduate assistant Terrell Golden relayed the plays. Moye agreed with early communication issues but said they progressed as the game went on.

"He's one of the best coaches we have on the staff," quarterback Matt McGloin said of McQueary. "I wasn't happy with the decision. I think he deserved to be out there, whether he was in the box or with the team. We were thinking about him. We were right there with him."

McQueary spoke to the wide receivers via phone Friday. The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported Friday that McQueary told them he was no longer their coach, but wide receiver Derek Moye would not say what was said in the phone call, saying "I would just rather keep that between us."

Bradley called McQueary in the locker room before the game Saturday, Jay Paterno said. He reached him but the call dropped because of poor service.

Running back Stephfon Green, also a fifth-year senior, echoed the remarks of his teammates who said it was different without McQueary on the sideline.

"I just hope everything is good with coach McQueary and his family, wherever he's at. I'm praying for everybody," Green said. "It was weird, but we made adjustments and we have to move forward."

Contact staff writer Jake Kaplan at


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