Blue-White Game Preview: New Faces and Unfamiliar Places
Maybe the word “game” should be replaced with “weekend” in the title of this article. After all, the carnival, fireworks, tailgating, and a 5K often shadow a “tease” of a football game where Penn State reveals very little and most fans in attendance have already exited by halftime.
This Saturday has the potential to be different. Bill O’Brien will be walking the Beaver Stadium sidelines for the first time, and with a limited number of summer practices to implement his system, it is likely that this game will be a little more serious than your typical spring “glorified scrimmage” we are accustomed to.
O’Brien will not be the only new face on Saturday. Several players who have been relative unknowns up to this point in their Penn State careers will be looking to make an impression. Below are five players to watch out for during the Blue-White game:
- Gary Gilliam- The junior tight end might be better known right now for this rap video than his play on the field. That’s because he’s only been on the field for fives games in his collegiate career. After suffering a torn ACL against Iowa in October 2010, Gilliam is finally healthy and ready to go. He only has one career reception for twenty one yards. There is very little to go off of, but in a pro style offense that is designed to feature tight ends, Gilliam will be worth keeping a serious eye on.
- Adam Gress- Even less is known about Gress than Gilliam. The redshirt junior has been in the program since 2009 buying his time for a chance to compete for a spot along the offensive line. O’Brien did not mention many players during his spring press conference but really raved about Gress and the progress he was making. He will have the chance to protect the blindside of several quarterbacks on Saturday.
- Bill Belton– If you followed Penn State Football at all last year, you are likely somewhat familiar with Bill Belton as he was getting significant snaps at wide receiver and as a wildcat quarterback towards the end of last season. Belton now has been converted to running back and has put on some muscle this offseason. Running back coach Charles London was tough on him throughout spring practice drills. With no Curtis Dukes and Silas Redd’s workload to be somewhat limited, all eyes should be on Belton in the backfield on Saturday.
- Alex Kenney– The 2010 State College Area High School graduate appears ready to make an impact at the wide receiver position with the departure of Derek Moye, position changes, by Belton and Curtis Drake, and an injury to Devon Smith. The former four-star recruit should get some action on Saturday with a chance to turn heads.
- Stephen Obeng-Agyapong– This junior safety, who went to the same high school in the Bronx as former Penn State running back Stephfon Green, will be counted on to step up in the secondary. Depth is thin all around in the defensive backfield, especially at safety. Nick Sukay and Drew Astorino were not always spectacular but were typically dependable. Questions about the junior’s ability could be answered this weekend.
Let us know who you’re looking to learn more about and see something from come Saturday. Onward State will be back later in the week with another Blue-White preview where we’ll maybe even mention quarterbacks.