Blue White Illustrated

Blue-White Game Preview

Penn State Sports Magazine

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A P R I L 1 8 , 2 0 1 8 B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M 2 Franklin said earlier this week. "It's amaz- ing – the slope of the field, all those little, subtle things that you would not necessar- ily think about, they factor in. The lights, the Jumbotron, all those types of things, as well." Franklin said he would like to practice in Beaver Stadium more often than the team did in recent weeks, but the spring practice itinerary is not going to change until next year at the earliest, as this year's drills are set to wrap up on Saturday. Were those drills successful? That will likely depend on how well-prepared some of those young players are for major roles on both sides of the football this coming fall. With four key starters gone on offense and eight on defense, the Nittany Lions have a lot of holes to fill, and it's all but in- evitable that they will have to rely on sev- eral first-year players. At linebacker, fans will be getting their first look at Parsons and Brooks, who have been practicing at the Will and Mike spots, respectively. Parsons started out at Mike, but he's only been on campus for a couple of months, and the coaches opted to ease his transition by switching him to the other box LB spot, which isn't as demanding from a leadership and signal-calling per- spective. That leaves Brooks and several more-experienced players such as Cam Brown, Jan Johnson and Jake Cooper in the mix at middle linebacker. No decisions have been made yet, and Franklin said that he and defensive coordinator Brent Pry plan on letting the competition play out during preseason camp in August. "I think we'll be confident by the time camp ends," Franklin said. "I don't think it will be the beginning of camp. I think we'll be pretty far into camp before we decide, because we've got a lot of inexperienced guys and some veteran guys who are bat- tling for that spot. For me, the picture has- n't cleared up yet. I think Coach Pry feels the same way." The challenge for Penn State as it looks to replace graduated starter Jason Cabinda is that the middle linebacker spot requires a combination of high-level athletic skill, proper block-shedding technique and an ability to read offensive formations and shift the defense into the proper align- ment. Finding one player with that par- ticular skill set isn't easy. Said Franklin, "At the end of the day, it's [about] trust. It's [about] the coaches trusting who they can throw out there in that position [and] consistently being able to fill all those roles all the time, or a large percentage of them." On offense, the talk of spring practice has been freshman wideouts Hamler and Hip- penhammer. Franklin called Hamler "the buzz of the camp right now," and the team's veteran receivers seem to concur. "That dude is a lightning bolt," senior DeAndre Thompkins said. "I like to think that I'm the fastest dude on the team, but he might have got me." Thompkins recalled a deep pass during one of the first days of spring practice in which Hamler blew past the secondary with ease. "He caught a post in cover two and he was gone," Thompkins said. "As THE BLUE-WHITE GAME AT A GLANCE WHERE Beaver Stadium WHEN 3 p.m., April 21 TV/RADIO The Blue-White Game will air live on the Big Ten Network, with Brandon Gaudin and Matt Millen in the booth and Anthony Adams on the sideline. The radio broadcast featur- ing Steve Jones and Jack Ham will air live on the Penn State Sports Network and at GoPSUS- ADMISSION/PARKING There will be no admission fee for Penn State's spring game. Also, season-ticket holders who purchased season parking permits for the 2017 season received a white 2018 Blue-White Game parking permit with their 2017 tickets and parking permit sheet last summer. Season-ticket holders planning to attend the Blue-White Game are asked to hang their permit as they approach Beaver Stadium. Previously issued Blue-White Game parking permits that are lost will not be replaced. Fans with a white 2018 Blue White permit issued with their 2017 parking permits will be admitted without charge. Fans without a white permit may purchase a yellow 2018 Blue White permit until 4:30 p.m. April 20 at the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office. Fans with no permit will be charged at the lot entrance on April 21. Friday overnight RV arrival with a white 2018 Blue White permit issued with the 2017 parking permit will pay $60 at the ORV lot. Friday overnight RV arrival with no permit will be charged $100 at the ORV lot. Saturday RV arrival with an RV permit issued with the 2017 season per- mit will be admitted without charge. Saturday RV arrival with no permit will be charged $40 at the ORV lot. Parking on game day is cash only. The overnight RV lot opens at 8 a.m. Friday, April 20. Beaver Stadium parking lots will open on game day at 8 a.m. Beaver Stadium gates will open at 1:30 p.m. The team blue bus arrival for the Nittany Lions will be at 11:45 a.m. at the corner of Curtin and Porter roads. AUTOGRAPH SESSION The annual autograph session with the Nittany Lions will take place from 12:15 to 1:05 p.m. at gates A, B, C, E and F. The players will be permitted to sign one item per person to give as many fans as possible an opportunity to meet the squad. OTHER EVENTS The Fan Fest will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will include numerous displays and vendors, as well as interactive events for kids. It will be located on Curtin Road near Beaver Stadium, as it is during the season. ... The Blue-White Family Fun Zone will take place from 9-11 a.m in Holuba Hall and will feature game stations run by Penn State teams, live entertainment, novelty stations and giveaways. Admission is free. … Penn State letterman LaVar Arrington is bringing his elite eighth-grade all-star game to Happy Valley. The invitees will play in the A11 Stars Bowl in Beaver Stadium beginning at 10 a.m. The A11 Stars Bowl will be open to the public without charge. ... The ninth annual Paterno Family Beaver Stadium Run/Family Fun Walk to benefit Special Olympics Pennsylvania is set for 11 a.m. Sunday, April 22. Participants will finish at the 50-yard line in Beaver Stadium for the 3-mile run or 1-mile walk. For more information, visit

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