Today marks the first time that fans will get an up-close view of new head coach James Franklin in action. Thousands of people will travel to Happy Valley to watch the Penn State’s annual scrimmage and get an early look at the 2014 Nittany Lions.
If you are unable to make the trip to Beaver Stadium, you can watch the game on TV, though it will be on tape delay. The Big Ten Network will show the game at 6:00 p.m. ET. BTN2Go will stream the game live.
Below are some of my thoughts leading up to the annual Blue-White Game.
• Quarterback Christian Hackenberg is the clear starter after a fantastic freshman campaign in 2013. However, who’s going to back him up this season is still a question mark. Michael O’Connor is currently the only other quarterback under scholarship on the roster. I expect him to get plenty of snaps on Saturday, though he could be redshirted in 2014. Also taking snaps in the will be Austin Whipple and D.J. Crook, the likely backups this season.
• The offensive line will be a work in progress this year. It’s already been hit by injury and there were depth issues before practice began. Those depth issues prompted Franklin and his staff to move Albert Hall, Brian Gaia and Derek Dowrey to the o-line. I am interested to see the different combinations today and how each guy plays when he gets an opportunity. True freshman Chasz Wright, who enrolled at the school in January, is one to keep an eye on during the game.
• More than anything I’m excited to see and feel the excitement inside of Beaver Stadium. Coach Franklin has done an excellent job of building excitement around the program. The practices this spring have been full of energy, closely imitating the personality of the head coach. Franklin has made it very clear that he wants a large crowd to fill the stadium for the Blue-White Game. While I don’t think it will be a sellout, I’m expecting a large and loud crowd inside the stadium today.
If you’re expecting to see Hackenberg and many of the starters get a lot of action in this one, you’ll likely be disappointed. Franklin will want to avoid injuries and will most likely let his reserves handle most of the playing time on Saturday. Either way, the forecast looks great and taking in the Blue-White game will be a great way to say goodbye to the harsh winter that we’ve all endured.
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