Penn State Football Holds Variation of Blue-White Game with 2021 Spring Practice
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State spring football looked a little different in 2021.
On Saturday afternoon, 7,500 fans, comprised of University Park freshmen and player’s families, were in the stands at Beaver Stadium for a scrimmage version of the yearly Blue-White game.
While pandemic restrictions limited the scrimmage’s capacity, Penn State football head coach James Franklin was thankful that there is any spring ball this year at all after the Big Ten canceled all spring practices in 2020.
“There were 7,500 fans, somewhere in that ballpark,” Franklin said. “After last season, it really felt like 75,000. It really felt good to be in there with our freshman students.”
Following an outcry from students and alumni that the freshmen would be the sole class represented inside Beaver Stadium, Penn State announced that it will be allowing students from the Class of 2021 to attend another practice this upcoming Friday.
Initially, one condition that seniors had to fulfill to receive tickets was having at least one in-person class at University Park. This decision saw heavy criticism, and on Monday, Penn State reversed course, allowing all seniors, remote or in-person, to attend the Friday practice.
A source close to the program indicated to several CommRadio members that this scrimmage will likely kick off at 6 p.m. on Friday night.
According to Franklin, the team wants a crowd back in the stands just as much as fans do.
“That’s why I think being in Beaver Stadium today was important for us, it’s different,” Franklin said after Saturday’s practice. “It’s different from being out at the practice fields at Lasch. We’ll try this again Friday night—I think that’ll be important for us as well.”
The biggest difference this year is that the game was not televised at all. Normally, fans could tune in to BTN on an April afternoon to see how their favorite young players were progressing this spring.
Now, everyone has to rely solely on news articles and analysis from freshmen to get a grasp on what happened on the field at Beaver Stadium on Saturday.
Another storyline from Saturday was when Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Jack Ham let the team know that 5-foot-11-inch walk-on safety and noted speed demon Drew Hartlaub was awarded a scholarship for the 2021 season.
This marks the second straight Blue-White game where Penn State has awarded a scholarship to a player. The Nittany Lions surprised wide receiver Dan Chisena with a scholarship back at the 2019 scrimmage.
DJ Morrissey is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.