Penn State Blue White Game preview

Penn State Opens Spring Practice

Spring practice for the Nittany Lions will wrap up on Saturday afternoon, with the annual Blue White Game. Penn State will be an interesting story all season long, and the spring has brought about a lot to talk about. Here are some of the basics of what will be happening Saturday, along with some quick thoughts from our team and some recommended links to help you get caught up.

Schedule

  • 10:00 a.m. – Carnival and entertainment stage open
  • 11:30 a.m. – Gates A and B open for autograph session
  • 12:00 p.m. – Gates C and E open for autograph session
    Note: Autograph session runs approximately from 11:55 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. 
  • 2:00 p.m. – Blue White Game kicks off
    Watch the game live on BTN2Go; Replay on Big Ten Network at 8 p.m.

 

Scoring Format

This year’s scoring system will look a little different from what we have traditionally watched. Rather than two separate teams complete with offense and defense, the spring game will employ the offense vs. defense scoring method that a number of programs use for the spring game. Here is how the scoring will be handled for both sides of the football:

Offense
Touchdown = 6 pts
Field Goal = 3 pts
Big play (15+ yard play) = 2 pts
Two Consecutive First Downs = 2 pts
PAT = 1 pt

Defense
Touchdown = 7pts
Turnover (Unless TD) = 6pts
Sack = 4pts
Three-and-Out = 1 pt
Tackle for loss = 2 pts

So what does this new scoring system mean? From an evaluation standpoint, nothing. All of the players that would get a chance to play will get a chance to play on both sides of the football, and there will be no need to switch players from one team to another. Though it will be new to Penn State, from a player’s standpoint there is no difference because it is always offense vs. defense in a sense.

Both units have some concerns to address this weekend, with position battles reaching an end for the spring at quarterback and defensive backs. With both areas among the biggest concerns on the team, you would think that one will be able to take advantage of the other on Saturday. Will it be the quarterbacks finding open receivers without much of a challenge, or will the defensive secondary frustrate the quarterbacks, who have lacked in production overall recently?

Related Links

Five players to watch at the Blue-White Game

What to watch for: Penn State Spring Game – Via Crustal Ball Run

Keeping (grades) up with Jones

Will Paul Jones become leading QB candidate in spring game? – Via Bleacher Report

Fearless predictions for Penn State Blue White Game – Via Bleacher Report

Tailgating tips for the Blue White Game

Fans organize black shoe tribute for Joe Paterno

Penn State Blue White Game watching parties in Chicago and California

 

Nittany Lions Den Staff Briefs

Derek Aschman: Like most Penn State fans, I am interested to see everything about this new Nittany Lion football team, but for time’s sake I will only talk about what interests me the most: Ted Roof’s defense. Roof has been met with skepticism by the blue and white faithful, but I am interested in watching every aspect of this new defense. Specifically, how will Curtis Drake, fresh from a position transfer, match-up against his old position group? And how will Derrick Thomas look in coverage?

I admit that most eyes in what figures to be a damp Beaver Stadium will be plastered on the quarterbacks, but quietly the depth at the linebacker position is being re-stocked. It will be interesting to see how underclassmen Ben Kline, Mike Hull and Glenn Carson play. Also, how will the defensive line look without Devon Still to anchor it?

Finally, aggressive defense and man coverage are foreign to most Penn State fans. I know O’Brien and Roof are not going to show much this weekend, but the entire base of the defense has supposedly been reworked. With this being the only chance to see it in action before the Ohio Bobcats come to town, I will be watching it all.

Ryan Hogan: Rain, food and sloppy football is what I am expecting this weekend. Whether the football is sloppy due to the rain or due to the team learning new formations under coach O’Brien is up for debate, however. I am also excited to hopefully see Paul Jones take some snaps, as well as see all the new recruits who will be there. And like every student, I am excited to tailgate with my friends and get back in the stadium to cheer for my team. It’s B.O.B.’s first game so let’s show him some love!

Karisa Maxwell: This year’s Blue White Game will serve as the official Welcome party for coach Bill O’Brien and his staff. It’s the first time fans will be able to see how he interacts with the players and embraces the Penn State community. More importantly, this weekend is the perfect opportunity for fans to show him why Beaver Stadium is home to the greatest show in college football and what “WE ARE” really means. I don’t expect to see anything too exciting happening on the field, but I do expect the atmosphere to be wild. We need to pump the team up and bring excitement back to the football program. This weekend, Penn State will ‘restore the roar’ to Happy Valley.

Kevin McGuire: This may be the most scrutinized Blue White Game we have seen in a long time. A new coaching staff brings about a number of changes of course, but the focus will remain on the quarterback position and whether or not the offense can find ways to keep the ball moving, and maybe even get in to the end zone. While the fall results will not necessarily be directly impacted by anything positive or negative that happens Saturday, this will be a significant test for the quarterbacks, tight ends, offensive line and defensive backs in my book. The chance to set the tone now before splitting until the summer will be critical.

 

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Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Managing editor of Crystal Ball Run and contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

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