During the regular season, we will be continuing the tradition of bringing you the score predictions every Friday of the VBR staff and some thoughts on what to expect in the upcoming game. The Blue-White Game, while not a true game, gives us the first opportunity to share out thoughts on the Nittany Lions.
Below are the “predictions” of the staff for Saturday’s game.
Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr. (@barryleonardjr)
I don’t expect to see a lot from some of the starters on Saturday, especially quarterback Christian Hackenberg. The Nittany Lions already face depth issues due to lack of scholarships and the injury bug has already taken away some important players this spring. I do expect to see a lot of true freshman Michael O’Connor, a 4-star recruit who has a ton of potential. I also think that fellow true freshman DeAndre Thompkins, the fastest guy on the team, will see a lot of playing time on Saturday, both at wide receiver and on special teams.
I won’t be surprised if the defense outshines the offense in this one, especially considering the fact that they offensive line is a patchwork of players thanks to injuries. I’m looking for big things on Saturday from defensive end Deion Barnes and safety Adrian Amos.
Regardless of how the game goes, I’m predicting a very festive atmosphere in and around Beaver Stadium. The weather forecast looks great, and after the winter we’ve had, people will be itching to break out the grills and coolers and party like it’s a regular season game.
Staff Writer Eric Sion (@ericbsion)
With Penn State still having to deal with fewer scholarships than every other team, I wouldn’t look for the big guns to play too much (to avoid injury and such). I expect Christian Hackenberg to play a series or two and I expect him to be sharp as usual. We know what Penn State has in its tight end unit, so I’ll be looking at wide receivers Geno Lewis, Richy Anderson and early enrollee De’Andre Thompkins a lot. Thompkins especially because he’s lightning quick and can provide the spark in the return game that Penn State has been looking for. I also expect the defense to be ahead of the offense, especially in the trenches, due to each respective unit’s depth and experience. Aside from all that, I’m really interested to see how James Franklin and the rest of the staff are during live game situations. So hopefully the weather is nice and we can all enjoy watching the start of a new era of Penn State football.
Staff Writer Corey Hunter (@realhuntdog23)
The annual Penn State spring football game, better known as the Blue-White game, is nearly upon us. After the culmination of 15 spring practices, fans will be given a sneak peek into what players may be able to contribute to the squad come the fall, or what the future of Nittany Lion football has in store. As for Saturday, I expect a raucous atmosphere as this is Coach Franklin’s first spring game as Nittany Lions head coach, and after his now famous edict of “Dominate the State”. Look for a high intensity clash with plenty of intriguing side notes.
Some things worth watching are how freshman QB Michael O’Connor is able to fare. While there is a decent chance he will redshirt this year, his poise in the pocket as well as his arm strength should be interesting to note. I’m also intrigued by how well Geno Lewis handles being the #1 wideout this year after All-B1G WR Allen Robinson left for the NFL.
On defense, the play of the LB’s especially with depth possibly being an issue will be key for the Lions. How well will Sr. Mike Hull perform in once again leading the LB corps. How effective will Nyeem Wartman and Brandon Bell be in their sophomore campaigns?
Also, the play of the secondary, which had an up-and-down season, will be particularly key. Led by upperclassmen Jordan Lucas and Adrian Amos, Penn State has the chance to keep many of the opposing teams better wideouts in check this year.
There are so many angles and nuances that can be discerned, but the biggest thing is that every player comes out of the game healthy, unlike last year’s contest when RB Zach Zwinak hurt himself in the opening series. No matter what your viewpoint concerning the game, it’s always a great atmosphere and an exciting way to end spring practice. It also provides a nice spring-board into fall practice which is a scant 4 months away!
Staff Writer Jeffrey Jezewski (@JeffJezewski13)
This year’s upcoming Blue-White game will surely be interesting. With a new coach in town, it is always fun to see which format will be used for the game, especially after last season’s confusing scoring system. As far as predictions go, I expect this game to reinstate excitement and optimism in the Penn State community. Christian Hackenberg will show off his major arm talent and Mike Hull and Adrian Amos will lead the defense, but the most exciting part of the Blue-White game is finding the new guys to emerge. Look out for Akeel Lynch and DeAndre Thompkins to flash their abilities on the offensive side of the ball. On the defensive side, Brandon Bell is a guy I look to, to make a strong impression. Finally, the game will go a long way towards sorting through the offensive line situation. I fully expect former defensive lineman Brian Gaia and Derek Dowrey to get a big opportunity to impress in their conversion to the O-Line. The holdovers will surely impress, but look for some new faces to break out and fight their way up the depth chart during this season’s edition of the Blue-White game.