Blue-White Weekend Photo Blog
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Bill O'Brien and the Nittany Lion football squad will wrap up spring drills on Saturday afternoon (2 p.m.) at the annual Blue-White Game inside Beaver Stadium, marking the first time the new leader of Penn State football will be coaching in the stadium.
Penn State has spent the spring practice season learning new schemes on both sides of the ball, but it has been a spring marked by very good progress for the Nittany Lions. The coaching staff will have one final opportunity to evaluate the team on Saturday before the start of training camp in August.
The 2012 Blue-White Game will have a different look than in year's past with an intriguing scoring system that rewards a variety of plays on both sides of the ball.
It is a big day for Coach O'Brien and the Nittany Lions.
Welcome to Blue-White Gameday.
What to Watch For:
New Scoring System
Fans will see a new way to determine a winner at the Blue-White Game. As has been the case throughout spring practice, the defense will wear blue jerseys, the offense will wear white and the quarterbacks will be in red. Red jerseys designate no contact during the game.
While standard scoring for touchdowns, field goals and PATs will remain the same, each unit will accumulate points for certain things. Here is a breakdown of the scoring.
Touchdown = 6 pts
Field Goal = 3 pts
Big play (15+ yard play) = 2 pts
Two Consecutive First Downs = 2 pts
PAT = 1 pt
Touchdown = 7 pts
Turnover (Unless TD) = 6 pts
Sack = 4 pts
Three-and-Out = 1 pt
Tackle for loss = 2 pts
New Look Offense
Penn State fans will get their first look at Coach O'Brien's offensive scheme at the Blue-White Game. While the Nittany Lions will not show everything they will be doing in the fall, the fans will get a taste of the style and pace at which Penn State will look to play at in 2012. At the center of the offense is the quarterback position. Senior Matt McGloin, junior Rob Bolden and sophomore Paul Jones have split the reps throughout the spring. All three players will see plenty of time on the White team on Saturday. Collectively, the quarterbacks have improved throughout spring practice.
Coach O'Brien will be calling all of the offensive plays. When the play is called, expect to see the quarterbacks make several reads at the line of scrimmage, often signaling new routes to the wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. Among the many features on the offense will be the tight ends. The tight end corps of Garry Gilliam, Kyle Carter, Kevin Haplea, Jesse James, among others, will play a big role in what Coach O'Brien will do on the offensive side of the ball. The White team will spread the ball around to a variety of players lined up in a variety of places.
The theme throughout spring practice has been tempo for the Nittany Lion offense. Coach O'Brien wants the offense to play fast. Penn State has moved from drill-to-drill on the practice field at a very swift pace. The same has been true for scrimmaging, which has often featured two huddles. Look for the quarterbacks to keep things moving at a quick tempo on Saturday, which will certainly challenge the defense. Penn State has worked on no-huddle offense at times during spring practice. Keep an eye out for that, as well.
coordinator Ted Roof wants to play aggressive on defense. Spring practice has featured blitzing from a
wide variety of places on defense. The
players love the aggressive approach to the new defensive scheme. Additionally, the Nittany Lions will show
multiple looks pre-snap before moving into the defensive call for each
play. The Blue team will be looking to
get into the backfield often on Saturday.
Sacks and tackles for a loss will be rewarded for four points and two
points, respectively. Aggressive play on
defense often leads to turnover opportunities, as well. On Saturday, fumbles and interceptions will
be six points for the defense. Keep that
Numbers to Watch For
Below is a list of players who are either new to significant playing time or veterans who have really stood out during the spring practice season.
#6 Gerald Hodges - He is no stranger to the field, but Gerald Hodges has put together as good of a spring practice season that you will see from a linebacker.
#8 Allen Robinson - The sophomore wide receiver has been a playmaker for the Nittany Lion offense throughout the spring. Robinson did play in 2011, but the Michigan native is poised to have a big fall.
#18 Deion Barnes - The long, athletic pass rusher possesses a great blend of size and speed. Barnes has the tools to spend a lot of time in the backfield this fall, along with fellow ends Pete Massaro and Sean Stanley, among others.
#47 Jordan Hill - Like Gerald Hodges, Jordan Hill is a veteran defensive player who has played at a very high level during the spring. Hill is in great physical shape, and he is primed for a big season.
#58 Adam Gress - The redshirt junior has been heralded by his teammates and coaches for the progress he has made at the left tackle position this spring.
#87 Kyle Carter - The entire stable of tight ends have done a good job progressing this spring, but keep an eye on the redshirt freshman from Delaware. He has great size and hands.
It has been competitive all spring long between the offense and the defense. Saturday's game will truly pit the two units against one another, and it will be very fun to watch. The scoring system will make things very interesting to track and follow.
Make sure to get into the stadium at noon on Saturday for an opportunity to say hello to the players and obtain autographs of your favorite Nittany Lions. The game will start at 2 p.m. The carnival and entertainment stage will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, as well.
Follow GoPSUsports.com Media Specialist Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony