Blue-White Game Preview

Story posted April 11, 2014 in CommRadio by Zach Rittle

This Saturday marks the first unofficial football game that James Franklin will coach since being hired at Penn State on January 11th, 2014.

The annual Blue-White scrimmage, which no one knows how it will be formatted, is the last glorified spring practice for the Nittany Lions. It is a game that allows the coaches to get their last evaluations of the players before heading into summer workouts. After this Saturday, Penn State fans will have three new names to look forward to in this year’s lineup.

The first player fans will know after the Blue White game is Anthony Zettel. Zettel is a redshirt junior, but is poised to have a breakout year.

With James Franklin expected to use a base 3-4 defense at times this upcoming season, Zettel is the perfect fit. At 6’4 and over 260 pounds, he is an ideal fit in the five technique of a base 3-4 defense. With his size and strength, he will be able to beat blockers in a multitude of ways.

Fans will also know De’Andre Thompkins after the Blue-White game this Saturday.

Thompkins, who enrolled in January, will look to make an immediate impact for the Lions. Allen Robinson departed for the NFL, which leaves the Lions without much experience at the wide receiver position.

Look for Thompkins to be in the slot and be a dangerous weapon for quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Thompkins could make his biggest impact in the return game, something Penn State has not had since the dynamic Derrick Williams graduated. Thompkins has blazing speed and can make defenders miss. He could easily become Derrick Williams 2.0.

The third player fans will know after the Blue-White game is Garry Wooten. Wooten has been a reserve linebacker since arriving at Penn State in 2012. With Penn State continuing to have depth issues at linebacker, Wooten has the opportunity to step up and fill that role.

The 6’2, 240 pound, linebacker has good size and can handle his own in the middle of the defense. Look for Wooten to make an impact immediately in the spring game.

The position group to look out for is the offensive line. This is the thinnest position group on the team.

Derek Dowrey and Brian Gaia were once defensive tackles. Now James Franklin has moved them to guard.

Miles Dieffenbach tore his ACL and will not be available this season. That leaves Donovan Smith as the only returning starter on the offensive line. Angelo Mangiro is the only other returning player to see time on the offensive line.

Bill O’Brien raved about redshirt freshman Andrew Nelson last year. Do not be surprised if he is the starting right tackle.

That leaves both guard spots and the center position still up for grabs.

The Blue-White game should help the coaching staff decide who will play in the fall.

Zach Rittle is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email him at

Photo Courtesy: AP