Saturday’s Blue-White Game will give fans a glimpse of many different aspects of the new-look Penn State football squad, including James Franklin’s coaching debut. New players will be on display, and some old faces will line up in different spots this season. There is a lot to watch for on Saturday, but here are a few players to keep an eye on during the game.
WR De’Andre Thompkins: The speedy true freshman wideout will be on display for the very first time in a Penn State uniform, and he should not disappoint. Listed at 5-11, 176 pounds, Thompkins fits the prototypical slot receiver mold perfectly, displaying incredible versatility and playmaking abilities all over the field during winter practices. He wasted no time asserting his position as one of the fastest players on the team this offseason, and expect him to turn on the afterburners every chance he gets on Saturday.
S Adrian Amos: The senior defensive back is lining up at safety this season, instead of all over the secondary like last season. Nittany Lion faithful know what Amos is capable of, but this season will be the first that Amos is not tasked with learning a new position on the fly. He could be primed for a big year, and Saturday will be only the first taste of what is to come.
DT Anthony Zettel: After playing defensive end his whole career at Penn State, James Franklin has decided to move the 6-4, 279 pound redshirt junior inside due to the lack of depth at defensive tackle. Zettel is embracing the switch with open arms, and has already bulked up significantly. James Franklin believes that Zettel’s true position is at defensive tackle, and Saturday will be the first look at what he can do as an interior run stopper and pass rusher. He will be battling for one of the open spots left by former Nittany Lion DaQuan Jones.
QB Michael O’Connor: Already hailed as Christian Hackenburg’s successor, Nittany Lion fans will get their first glimpse of what the future could look like as O’Connor will take his first snaps. This will be one of the only times fans will get to see O’Connor in action, as he is expected to redshirt in order to preserve his eligibility. At 6-5, 223 pounds and pinpoint accuracy on his throws, O’Connor resembles the ideal pocket passer.
Position Groups to Watch: The offensive line. Due to the lack of depth in between the trenches, James Franklin will have his lineman donning grey colored jerseys (fear not, these are only for the spring game). These will allow players on the O-line to play on either the offensive or defensive side of the ball. This is definitely a group to keep an eye on as the game progresses
The Blue-White game will be a great opportunity to get a idea of what Penn State football will look like for the upcoming season. James Franklin is switching the game’s format back to a traditional exhibition style, as opposed to Bill O’Brien’s format. Come out this weekend and enjoy the festivities!