The Penn State Nittany Lions recently wrapped up spring practice for the 2014 season with the annual Blue-White Game. The combination of free admission, a beautiful day and a ton of excitement surrounding the team thanks to new head coach James Franklin, made the Blue-White Game the nation’s highest-attended spring game this year.
According to the university, an estimated 72,000 fans filled Beaver Stadium to watch Franklin’s team play a traditional scrimmage.
What a difference two years makes. Things looked bleak for the Penn State Nittany Lions when Bill O’Brien took over the team in 2012. The program was in turmoil due to the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky situation and beloved coach Joe Paterno was no longer around. With the NCAA sanctions limiting scholarships and preventing the school from participating in a post season game, attendance at Beaver Stadium fell and things were not looking good.
However, after two successful seasons under O’Brien and now the excitement surrounding the hiring of James Franklin, positive vibes are once again flowing at Penn State.
When Franklin was hired as head coach in January, he wasted no time getting fans on board and building momentum for the program. He’s quickly brought a positive attitude and now has the Nittany Lions poised for success in the future with one of the top recruiting classes in the nation for 2015.
During his introductory press conference in January, he also made very clear his hopes that every game in Beaver Stadium will be sold out, starting with the Blue-White Game.
Fans showed up in support of Franklin this spring, and that is likely to continue during the regular season. While there could be some struggles due to depth issues, Franklin has definitely provided hope for the future. The Nittany Lions are trending in the right direction and look to be building momentum for the years to come.
With attendance dropping over the last two seasons, Penn State needed something to change that. Enter Franklin. With his attitude and excitement, and top players coming to Happy Valley, fans are likely to once again fill Beaver Stadium to capacity as they did for so many years in the past.
Follow VBR Lead Editor Barry Leonard on Twitter