Blue-White Rosters Announced, Blue Team Loaded With Projected Starters
With a day to go until the 2016 Blue-White game, Penn State unveiled both teams’ rosters to provide fans a glimpse of the match-up they’ll see on Saturday. This year, James Franklin opted to load the Blue team with projected regular season starters on both sides of the ball, providing some interesting player match-ups as critical positional battles wage on. The full rosters for each team can be viewed here (Blue) and here (White), but we highlighted a few important notes from each squad.
The biggest and most publicized offseason battle surrounds the quarterback position as Franklin searches for Christian Hackenberg’s replacement. The White team features redshirt freshman Tommy Stevens and true freshman Jake Zembiec, with Stevens likely to receive the majority of reps. Though redshirt sophomore gunslinger Trace McSorely remains the favorite for the job in the eyes of some, many believe Stevens is hot on his tail. He’ll be put to the test on Saturday against the likes of Blue team defenders Jason Cabinda, Christian Campbell, Marcus Allen, and Torrence Brown, all of whom will help coaches see what Stevens is made of in a live-game simulation.
Stevens will have plenty of talent to throw to, but the trio of Juwan Johnson, Irvin Charles, and DeAndre Thompkins should provide assistance. All three could benefit from a big spring performance, especially Thompkins, who failed to generate much noise as a receiver in 2015. Running back Andre Robinson will make his case to be the team’s No. 2 option behind Saquon Barkley as the lead runner for the White squad, so expect plenty of reps to go his way. True freshman lineman Connor McGovern will make his collegiate debut on Saturday, and most believe he’s ready to start from day one — a rarity among Division-I offensive linemen. His performance could determine the coaching staff’s perception of his readiness to contribute.
The Blue team features plenty of notable names, including Trace McSorely, Saquon Barkley, DaeSean Hamilton, Andrew Nelson, Paris Palmer, along with a handful of defensive stalwarts. It’ll be interesting to see how Franklin deploys his offensive tackles, given his willingness to plug both players at both positions. While Barkley likely won’t see much action on the field, expect McSorely to take advantage of each rep as he tries to gain a leg up on Stevens.
Defensive tackle Kevin Givens, who’s made waves with his offseason progression, will try to throw his hat into the mix to prove to the coaching staff that he deserves a starting spot alongside Garrett Sickels and Torrence Brown on the defensive line.
While there will be no kicking/punting competition, Daniel Pasquariello and Joey Julius will represent the White team, while Tyler Davis and Chris Gulla constitute the Blue team’s specialist group. Ricky Rahne, Charles Huff, Tommy Galt, Joe Brady IV, Tim Banks, Andrew Jackson, and Ryan Smith will coach the White squad, while Joe Moorhead, Matt Limegrover, Josh Gattis, Brent Pry, Terry Smith, and Sean Spencer round out the Blue team’s coaching staff.
Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m., and while it might only be Blue-White, football is football.