Penn State’s spring practice season officially comes to a close this Saturday with the annual Blue-White scrimmage, held at 4 p.m. for the first time in the game’s history. While the glorified practice attracts tens of thousands of fans back to State College for the festivities and tailgating, the game is the first opportunity for fans to catch a glimpse of emerging talent and see what returning players made the most progress during the offseason.
When Penn State kicks off its 2015 season with the annual Blue-White spring game this Saturday, quarterback Christian Hackenberg will come in with a clean slate. Hackenberg’s struggles in 2014 have been talked about over and over, from turnover issues to noticeable tension with the coaching staff. However, the quarterback appears to be coming into his junior season with a heightened level of focus, ready to bounce back with a transitional year behind him.
Donovan Smith is one of the NFL Draft’s most recent risers lately after turning heads at the Senior Bowl and seeing his name surface in first round mock drafts. Now, Smith will have an opportunity that few draft hopefuls receive: He’ll attend the 2015 NFL Draft held in Chicago beginning on April 30.
The festivities during this Blue-White Weekend won’t be restricted to Beaver Stadium. The Student Bookstore is hosting a weekend of events called “Build The Future, Honor The Past.”
The absence of Mike Hull will be the most glaring difference between last year’s defensive unit and the current squad. 140 tackles and veteran leadership — through words and actions — is not easily replaced; these are special traits that aren’t found in every football player. Redshirt junior linebacker Nyeem Wartman knows this, which is why he wants to take what he’s learned from Hull over the years, and make the middle linebacker position his own this coming season.
I get it. You really, really don’t think of Rutgers as a rival to Penn State. If you haven’t heard, just check any message board discussing the Monday announcement that this season’s game against Rutgers will be played at night. And you aren’t “wrong.” Penn State picking up 23 wins in 25 meetings doesn’t exactly scream competitive rivalry. But 25 games covers a lot of time. 25 games also covers a lot of different versions of Penn State and Rutgers football.
There are few sights more spectacular in college football than a night game at Beaver Stadium, and for the second straight season, fans will be treated to a primetime kickoff against a Big Ten opponent.