AKA Penn State Blue-White Game
The impression I got from watching BTN’s telecast of the Penn State spring Blue-White Game was that it was all about BTN and Mike Hall, one of its employees. Fortunately, Matt McGloin was there to provide at least some Penn State relevance. But, for those of you who actually attended the game, you surely missed the wonder of Mike Hall’s stint as a trainee game official.
As far as I’m concerned, the whole thing was superfluous. Do we really care about announcers? Lest I offend their gigantic egos, let me state that it is not to see them that we watch these games. Furthermore, dwelling on their circus-like performances (in this case) annoys the hell out of me.
Perhaps BTN views the spring games as being less than serious and in need of an entertainment boost. I’d rather see the Country Music Awards than see a football game replete with distracting cut-aways to Mike Hall every ten minutes or so.
The Real Game
James Franklin changed the format such that a field goal kicking competition was held before the game and a punting competition was conducted at halftime. We didn’t get to see the former because the Ohio State spring game ran past the slotted time for our game to start, and I didn’t get to see the latter (if it was actually covered) because I was cooking steaks for the cave dwellers. I’m thinking BTN would have preferred to cover Mike Hall in the locker room getting his halftime official briefing, but I don’t know this for a fact.
Christian Hackenberg got a lot more reps at QB than one would have thought he should, because everyone was dying to see Trace McSorley, who was injured and couldn’t play. During the time Hack was in there, we couldn’t help but note once again that the offensive line was in need of a lot of work. Even playing behind mostly starters on the blue team, Hack was hurried on every passing down. (Some of us would say this is because our defensive starters are so great.) But srrsly, folks, you know it, I know it, and the whole damn stadium full of 68,000 happy springtime Nittany Lions fans knew it — the offensive line is gonna suck yet again this year. That’s one team component that won’t just get fixed overnight. Ain’t no free agents in college football — yet.
The kickers provided another source of amusement, notably Joey “Big Toe” Julius, a chunky kid with huge upper arms and thighs and an unorthodox kicking style. His kickoffs blasted through the end zone like rifle shots, and their trajectory was about as flat. In the competition, he managed to make one from 55 and just miss from 59 yards. To me, and maybe to a lot of my fellow old farts, he reminded me of Lou “The Toe” Groza.
Skill positions looked pretty good. I was too busy following Mike Hall to find out where DaeSean Hamilton was during the game, and I had to wonder about that. Lewis and Blacknall looked great. I think we’ll be in good shape with receivers this year. Scott and Lynch both look pretty good at RB.
The defense is pretty solid, as usual, and I think the secondary might actually be good this year. Those guys made some plays out there. This is one area that has been a problem for Penn State for a long time. I’m hoping that this group will turn that around.
We’ve had our brief dose of spring football. Now we go into hibernation until late August.
Well, read some where this week that they were warning residents around Yellowstone Park to use caution as the grizzlies were ending their hibernation and leaving their dens in search of food. I guess the spring time festivities we call the Blue White Game were having the same affect on the hibernation period of certain “grizzlies” in Florida! Welcome back NT!
I like you watched this annual prove nothing excuse of a “football game” simply because the period of withdrawal from the Pinstripe Bowl to now was excruciating. Even the beat writers were echoing the same mindless pap from column to column. So after watching Ezekiel Elliott parade around with his go-cam for 15 minutes and 100 close ups of Der Urbz looking like he had the worst team in D1 football, I was beginning to believe BTN would join the PS game during the second half. So when the switch was made, I like you was trying to figure out why the hell we were being treated to Mike Hall in an official’s uniform!
I don’t know what I expected of the O-line during the “game”, but it certainly was not what I saw. I won’t get too concerned over this performance simply because they were serviceable at the end of last season and they will not be facing an upper echelon front four like ours for the first six games of the season. Giving in to the belief that they do have some time to get stronger/bigger before practice starts again in August and practice itself I think there will be some improvement over last year’s version of the five traffic cones. Hell with the way the schedule shakes out, they very well should be 6-0 before the trip to the “Shoe”. Rutgers may be their only “game”, but as I understand it, The Jerzey Boyz will not be very talented this year.
I really wanted to see McSorley, but I think CJF is keeping him under wraps-just a hunch. I’m feeling good about the TE’s, WR’s & RB’s this year. That’s quite a bit of talent that’s been assembled in Happy Valley and with the kids coming this summer; Shazaam!! I cringed when Hack started limping after Mangiro and he botched that snap and that 300 lb center stepped on his foot, but this kid must be made of titanium! I’m not sure what to expect from Hack this year-will it be a heave and hope season like last year or will we see some of the pinpoint accuracy we saw on occasion during the BW gala! All I know is he can really put some zip on his passes; so much so that I’m not sure if many college receivers can handle that velocity. Not sure what he’ll do at the end of the season, so I’m going to try to enjoy what I think may be his last year as a Lion. Anyway having the summer to work together, the offense should be running on at least 5 cylinders instead of three like last year and here’s hoping we might actually have a semblance of a running game.
I really believe this defense has a chance to be better than last year. Depth does not seem to be an issue as there is talent across the 2 deep roster. The line may be as good as or better than last year, the LB’s serviceable and the secondary could be the best in the country.
I’m really liking Joey Julius! Reminds me a lot of Sebastion Janikowski body wise, except shorter. He’ll miss a few, but it looks like his KO’s should all reach the end zone. Punting-that’s an entirely different story. That may be (is) the weak link on this entire team.
So like you, I’m preparing myself to enter that 3 1/2 month football abstinence period. Yeah, there’s the draft and the usual BS with recruits, but I’m going to try and stay focused on the Bucs. Don’t know how that story will play out, but it’s nice to know that they should be in contention again this year.
So go tip over some garbage cans, but stay away from that den-sleeping that much can’t be good for you.
I’m really hoping K. John chimes in-I’m expecting nothing less than a 12-0 prediction from him this year.
The Nittany Turkey says
Well, you know I pop up occasionally in the off-season and this is one of those times. I typically lose all my readers as a result of that deplorable behavior and then gain some back in the fall. Thanks to my loyal family of readers, I generally get all six of you back in the fall, for which you deserve and receive my undying gratitude.
Florida black bears would be better off hibernating, because the Fish & Wildlife Commission is in the planning stages of implementing bear season for Florida over the protests of the “bear ladies”, who think the ursines are cute and they don’t want to kill them. (Of course, by virtue of the bear ladies leaving their garbage out or otherwise leaving food for the hungry behemoths, those poor damn bears are going to get killed one way or the other. “A fed bear is a dead bear”, as they say.)
The BW game was not sufficient evidence to proclaim the end of traffic cone season — not by a longshot! I think we’ll get to worry about the O-Line for at least this season and maybe the next.
Except for punting and the aforementioned Cohns, the rest of the team is pretty sound I’ll admit. Not championship material quite yet, but I think they might be able to win eight or nine games this year, given the soft schedule. It’s way too early to get serious about that, but I think even K. John won’t go better than 11-1 followed by a Rose Bowl win and Number Six in the national rankings. My thoughts are more modest. A finish in the Top Twenty-five would be a very good result from my perspective.
Nevertheless, it’s all pipe dreams at this point. There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.
SI has the Bucs finishing second in the division. That ought to make for a fun year, SI bullshit and injuries notwithstanding.
It’s the Pens that are pissing me off. They’ve been thinking they can slack off against the Rangers, who happen to have the best record in the NHL? WTF?? I know that the standard excuse is lots of injuries and at one time due to injuries and salary cap issues, suiting up only five defensement, but hey… the effort has to be there, too.
Have a great summer!