The Blue White Game–The Basics
As a kid growing up in State College I loved going to Blue White games, I remember sitting next to the Blue Band wondering why they had to play so loud and thinking about how cool it was to see Mount Nittany from the stadium (that is correct kids, the upper deck hasn’t always been there). Little did I know at the age of 7 what was really going on down there on the field. Of course I understood football, but I didn’t know how much pressure and how little practice the players had going into that game. Now many years wiser I present to you, Things To Remember, and Things To Look For at this weekends game.
Things To Look For–
1. Passing––Jay Paterno said earlier this week that “(This was out…)Last Spring Practice Today before the Spring game. We’ve pushed the QBs & thrown the ball more than any spring this decade.”
Now this could mean two things.Penn State is going to be a pass heavy offense, or Penn State’s quarterbacking needs a lot of practice to get it together. Chances are that it is somewhere in between. Young guys are going to need more practice, but Penn State isn’t going to win if they don’t make use of their seemingly expanding receiving corps. Joe traditionally likes to run the ball (surprise) but has been known to unleash the cannons when need be. Let us not forget Todd Blackledge threw for 12 TDs in the first 4 games of the 1982 season so Joe will open up if need be. Matthew McGloin is generally considered the gun slinger of the two quarterbacks, but if Newsome can control his arm and developes his mechanics nicely his feet should give him the edge. Keep an eye out for the quarterback who looks comfortable in the huddle, works well with the receivers and controls the pace of the offense. Don’t be suprised if McGloin gets the start with the first team offense.
2. Offensive Line— It isn’t a great big secret that Penn State’s offensive line was riding the struggle bus last year. Iowa and Ohio State pretty much dominated the line of scrimmage which in turn dictated the outcome of those games. Generally speaking your offense goes as your offensive line goes, and considering how many times this line has played musical chairs this offseason, the Blue White game will be a chance to look at what is going on in that department. The biggest move came in Wisniewski moving back to guard from center, generally speaking Wisniewski has been solid at center whereas he dominates at the guard position.
“Steven Wisniewski, who was named the Big Ten’s first-team center last year, said his unexpected position shift came four days into practice. The coaches prefer Wisniewski at guard, and if Klopacz can prove himself at center, the change should become permanent.”
3. Linebacking— With Bowman and Lee headed to the next level it has left two spots wide open for a list as long as my arm of young linebackers waiting to step up and get the job done. Nate Stupar has shown a lot of talent on special teams and Chris Colasanti, and Bani Gbadyu are looking to make their mark as well. Chaz Powell has moved to the Cornerback position so it will be interesting to see how he is looking after the switch.
Things to Remember–
1. This isn’t the final product– As always, the Blue White game is just an indication of how things might go next season. The players have had limited practices, and are still figuring out in some cases which position they’ll be playing. The playbook will be watered down, the defense will run limited packages, and on the whole the game is only part of the puzzle. The biggest thing that comes from the Blue White game is a look at the chemistry in the huddle, the players mechanics, and a chance for players we haven’t seen before show us what they’ve got.
Just give it time…