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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football is set to punctuate a competitive spring season with its annual Blue-White Game Saturday. In the culmination a 15-practice schedule, the Nittany Lions welcome alumni, fans, family and friends back to Beaver Stadium for a spring ball finale at 3 p.m. with live coverage on the Big Ten Network.
On the heels of historic season, Penn State reenergized its momentum in winter conditioning, channeling an unprecedented level of energy into a productive spring season. As Penn State head coach James Franklin noted earlier this week, the annual spring game will now bring one final look at the progress and development for the Nittany Lion staff before training camp arrives.
"There are going to be some young guys who are going into that stadium and there's going to be some experience that's going to help them," Franklin said.
also been key throughout the spring season, with the motivating results of a
successful season under the guidance of defensive coordinator and linebackers
coach Brent Pry and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Joe Moorhead, who's
new scheme helped guide the Nittany Lions to a Big Ten Championship and its
fourth Rose Bowl Game appearance in program history.
"As a group, we look a lot more confident and you can tell really just across the board, how much more comfortable we are and how we've been able take what we installed last spring, grow it in fall camp and through last season and then refine it coming into this spring," quarterback Trace McSorley said.
Much like the offensive side of the ball, the Nittany Lion defense has also continued to reload with younger Nittany Lions seizing opportunities to step up and make an impact.
"You have guys on the first, second, third, fourth string defense who can all really play and you can see that they're going to be really good players and that's the biggest thing," linebacker Jason Cabinda said. "It's all about executing when it comes down to the fall but guys are working to get their techniques better and you can see we're taking this time to really improve and each day we're making sure that we're getting a bit better every day."
For Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Running Back of the Year Saquon Barkley the success of spring ball only adds to the anticipation of what's to come.
"We had a successful season so I think these competitive practices with offense and defense, it's not just one sided when you're both going at it," Barkley said. "You truly get the experience of competing against each other and getting better as a team. I'm really excited to see how that translates to camp and how it translates to the season."
The work doesn't end for the Nittany Lions at the conclusion of the spring season. Finals are looming and then it's right back at it with summer strength conditioning. For now, it's all about finishing spring ball on a high note, welcoming back the Nittany Lion community for a fan-centered afternoon in game-like conditions in Beaver Stadium.
"We just want to go out, stay injury free, have fun and put on a good show for our fans," running back Andre Robinson said.
Penn State's Blue-White game features the Nittany Lion roster split into two teams (blue and white) with quarterbacks wearing the opposite jersey color of their team. With regular scoring, all four quarters will be 11 minutes in length with a running clock, and the final 2:00 of each half at game timing. Stoppages will occur for penalties and change of possession. Each team will have two timeouts per half at 45 seconds each, with an additional 1:30 timeout at the first change of possession after the 6-minute mark in each quarter. There will also be a 2:30 break at the end of the first and third quarters.
The ever-popular Penn State Football autograph session will return to the stadium gates at Beaver Stadium for another season, running from 12:15 to 1:05 p.m.
Fans may visit as many as five different gates with one item per person permitted. Team posters will also be available at the following gates. Stadium gates A,B,C, and E will officially open at 1:30 p.m. for fans to enter.
Halftime Kicking Contest
Earlier this week, Franklin invited members of the media covering the Nittany Lions to participate in fielding a few Penn State punts prior to kickoff. Select members of the media who signed up to participate in the challenge will all take to the field at Beaver Stadium for a unique opportunity to catch a punt from a Nittany Lion.
-- Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) April 19, 2017