Penn State Football: Blue-White Game Prediction Roundtable


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.

Co-Editor Barry Leonard Jr.

As is usually the case in the spring game, I’m expecting the defense to be ahead of the offense. However, I think the gap between the two will be closer this year. The offensive line that took the field last year was very inexperienced. This year’s line is in much better shape. There’s a lot more experience, and the additions of Sterling Jenkins and Paris Palmer will be huge for the line.

With that being said, I still see the guys up front having trouble with the pass rush of the likes of Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson.

I am not expecting to see a lot from Christian Hackenberg, as everyone knows what he can do. Backups Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens will see a lot of playing time. This game will be a great opportunity for several backups and many of the positions to get an opportunity to show off their skills.

As far as MVPs for the game, Zettel is my defensive pick, while redshirt freshman running back Nick Scott is my offensive selection.

Co-Editor Dylan Callaghan-Croley

It’s great to have Penn State football back this weekend, even if it is just a spring game. On Saturday, I expect the defense to look pretty similar skill wise to last year’s squad that boasted one of the top rush defenses in the country. I believe we’ll see a strong game of Nyeem Wartman on Saturday for the defense. With Mike Hull gone, the linebacker unit will be looking for a new face to lead them in 2015. Wartman posses all of the skills you look for in a strong linebacker and a leader of a defense. He definitely should have a big game on Saturday.

Offensively, the Nittany Lions should look improved from 2014 but will still have their fare share of bumps throughout the game, but that’s what spring games are for. I think Hackenberg is going to some success on Saturday but really look for WR Geno Lewis or TE Adam Breneman to also make a difference during the game.

Defensive MVP: Nyeem Wartmen

Offensive MVP: Geno Lewis/Adam Breneman

Staff Writer Eric Herrold

On offense, I fully expect everyone to finally get a good taste of what Trace McSorely brings to the table. He adds another dimension to the QB position,  and it will prove to be a very wise decision on James Franklin’s part to have redshirted him last season. By all accounts, the offense still lags a bit behind so I don’t expect much fireworks. Just a healthy dose of O-Line work and getting the freshmen RB’s, Mark Allen and Nick Scott’s feet wet in front of a large crowd.

On defense, look out for Curtis Cothran and Torrance Brown to wreak havoc. Also, my sleeper pick to make a name for himself? Antoine White. He hasn’t been spoken of much, but, for his size, the kid has a motor that reminds me a little of Anthony Zettel in his younger days. In all honesty, I’m more excited than ever to see what this kid “Big Toe” Joe Julius is all about. Hard to believe that losing Sam Ficken would be such a blow. Expect Julius to ease our minds on Saturday.

Staff Writer Eric Sion

I always tend to think that the defense will be better in the Blue-White game simply because Penn State is traditionally better on defense and a defensive playbook isn’t as complicated and diverse as an offensive playbook. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the offensive line has progressed so far this spring, especially Paris Palmer, who could be the guy charged with protecting Christian Hackenberg’s blind side this year. I’m also looking forward to seeing how Adam Breneman plays coming off his injury and how the running backs not named Akeel Lynch will perform.

In terms of MVPs, I think DeAndre Thompkins will be the offensive MVP. He was great in last year’s Blue-White game and after redshirting in 2014, he’ll be hungry to get back onto the gridiron. On defense, I think Koa Farmer will earn MVP honors. Farmer also redshirted last season and his offseason physical improvements have been noted this past winter. It’ll be interesting to see how he fits in at linebacker.

I also want to take this time to remind people that the Blue-White game is just a small taste of what to expect this season. Personnel and strategy will almost definitely change during the summer and as the regular season approaches.

Staff Writer Corey Hunter

Penn State football’s annual spring time scrimmage, the Blue-White game, will take place Saturday at Beaver Stadium. This will be James Franklin’s second such contest as head coach of the Nittany Lions. As such, I expect a bit more offense from the projected Lions starters than what we saw last year.

A few reasons for fans to be optimistic about the 2015 offensive edition of the Nittany Lions include: the returning starters now have another year under their belts with the current Lions coaching staff. The offensive line having a nice mixture of leadership infused with young talent, the dearth of receivers as well as one of the deepest tight end positions in the Big Ten. Oh, yeah…Christian Hackenberg is back, and despite his numbers last year, he may be the best quarterback in the Big Ten

On defense, the secondary will have to replace the leadership lost by Ryan Keiser and Adrian Amos, but the young talent that fans saw last year from Christian Campbell and Marcus Allen should provide for a bright future. The defensive line will be anchored by All-American hopeful Anthony Zettel. His brand of speed and toughness on the defensive interior may allow him to be counted as one of Penn State’s very best by year’s end.

As for Saturday, I expect the Blue squad, which is laden with many of the projected starters to come out victorious on the scoreboard. However, I will be watching how Trace McSorley performs as Hackenberg’s backup. I also want to see how the coach’s employ 2-TE sets since they have some athletic, pass catching tight ends in Kyle Carter, Adam Breneman, Mike Gesicki, and Brent Wilkerson. Finally, I am interested to see WR DeAndre Tompkins and his speed as well as Who will win the place kicking job after the graduation of Sam Ficken.

While little is likely to be decided on Saturday, the scrimmage could provide a glimpse of what is in store for the Nittany Lions come the fall.

Staff Writer Ryan Lance

There should be another great crowd on hand this Saturday as the Penn State Nittany Lions take to the field for their annual Blue-White Game. I think the one thing that many, if not all of us, will have our attention on is the play of the offensive line.

A season ago we all know that the offensive line play was a mess and that caused our quarterback and offense through much of the 2014 season. Now with a full year under their belts, a full season in the offense and some much needed depth, we’ll to see how much they have improved since December. They should get a good test this weekend as the defensive line has looked impressive in spring practice so it should be a good indication on just how much they have improved.

With the quarterback and wide receivers all returning it’ll be interesting to see how running back Akeel Lynch does carrying the load and how the other running backs factor in.

On the defensive side of the ball I’ll be keeping a close on on the linebacker unit and watching to see which players will step up and fill the void left by Mike Hull. Depending on how the final rosters shake out, I would expect a low scoring affair with the defensive on both side dominating the game.

The final area that we’ll all be watching in the kicking game and who will step in and fill the shoes of Sam Ficken. As it stands now, redshirt freshman Joey Julius seems to have the upper leg on the job with Tyler Davis, Troy Stivason and former punter Chris Gulla not far behind.

My pick for Offensive MVP is DaeSean Hamilton and my defensive MVP Austin Johnson.