Staff Predictions: Blue vs. White
Blue takes on White this Saturday in Beaver Stadium for a scrimmage to conclude spring practice, and for the first time ever, kickoff has been moved to 4 p.m., giving all you fine folks a few more hours to enjoy the tailgating scene you’ve sorely missed during the offseason. Our staff views this game as a mirror matchup, with Blue and White displaying eerily similar qualities. While the play on the field will continue to be nothing more than a glorified practice, balls will be thrown, alcohol will be consumed, and Penn Staters will rejoice.
Here are our thoughts:
According to his teammates, Christian Hackenberg has approached spring practice with a new attitude. He’s been more optimistic, more focused, and more of a leader. But will it be enough to lead his Blue side over an undersized but determined White team in a heavy pressure, three-quarter full Beaver Stadium? I think so.
Akeel Lynch, now thrust into the starting roll after Bill Belton’s departure for the NFL, should be able to find holes behind an offensive line that by all accounts has mightily improved. It could be an ugly day for White, and an 0-1 start for the team would set an unfortunate tone for the rest of the year.
When it comes down to it, in matchups like these you have to look at the coaching. It looks like the Blue team, led by big names like Christian Hackenberg and young sparkplugs like Mike Gesicki, has the advantage, but the White side has almost twice as many players — and that has to count for something. At the end of the day, it’ll be a tough day to be a White fan as coordinators Bob Shoop and John Donovan partner with straight-up stud Herb Hand to team in a lopsided matchup against positional coaches such as Josh Gattis and Ricky Rahne.
Don’t sleep on the White team. Rumor has it Blue team is walking around a bit confident and White is coming in with a chip on their shoulders. Adam Breneman will make a triumphant return to the field in a white jersey and lead his team to a win in the closing minutes. Look for Chris Godwin to make impact on the outside as White shocks the world. #whynotwhite?
The tailgating lots will overflow with happiness and alcohol during the best Penn State weekend of the entire year. Beaver Stadium will house about 75,000, a huge number considering the late kickoff time. The weather will, despite our location, hold out and be beautiful. Oh, and a football scrimmage will be played.
Well, no matter the outcome here, Penn State will definitely be winning this game. On a more serious note, look for the well rounded Blue team to take the cake on Saturday. Hackenberg gets to throw to his core group of receivers, and Nittany Nation gets to see young budding players like Garrett Sickels, Paris Palmer (JUCO transfer), and Koa Farmer get some meaningful reps. It will satisfy any and all Penn State football cravings this rabid fanbase has longed for all offseason long. Really, everybody wins.
Out of all the staff predictions we do at OS, predicting the Blue-White game is the toughest. Recent history points to Blue as tomorrow’s victor, as Blue dismantled White 37-0 last year in what was arguably the most lopsided Blue-White game of all time. Blue’s dominance goes back to the Bill O’Brien era, where they soundly defeated White 77-65 in 2012 and 67-47 in 2013.
I’d like to think that White puts up a solid fight tomorrow. Blue may have the talent year in and year out, but White has the scrappiness and grittiness that just can’t be measured on the stat sheets. Even so, I see Blue pulling out a narrow 55-50 win thanks in large part to a scoring system that never makes any sense. Don’t worry, White: there’s always next year.
All I know is there’s going to be a kicking competition to start the game and a punting competition at halftime. No matter how the game turns out, we’re all winners, because we get to see 5-foot-11, 244 pound kicker Joey Julius boot field goals in front of 70,000 plus fans in pressure situations. This game is going to be peak #B1G football, and we’re all lucky to be witnesses.
While the rest of the staff is eyeing an easy victory for Blue, White has an ace up their sleeve. With Matt “Moxie” McGloin in the building providing analysis for the Big Ten Network, quarterbacks Tommy Stevens and Billy Fessler will channel some of McGloin’s “screw it, going deep” mindset and lead White to an upset victory. At the end of the day, the spring practice championship belt will be firmly around the waist of the two scrappy QBs.
Photo: Eric Weiss
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