Team Blue beat Team White 10-0 in Saturday’s Penn State Blue-White game. It officially ended spring practice. Now, the Lions move on to recruiting for the coaches and rest and recovery time for the players, some of whom may end up entering the NCAA transfer portal.
We’ll have plenty of time to cover all of that. But, first, it’s time to take a swing around the Internet and see what is being said about head coach James Franklin’s program following the annual spring scrimmage at Beaver Stadium.
Defense wins the day, offense a work in progress
The Penn State defense put a strong showing on display Saturday. Only one touchdown was scored, and neither the Blue or White teams really threatened to score in the second half. For PennLive’s David Jones, the defense being ahead of the offense was the obvious takeaway.
“This didn’t look like any Blue-White Game we’d seen in a while,” Jones writes. “Unfortunately for fans of explosive plays, that meant the exposure of a hard truth – Penn State’s defense is way, way ahead of the offense at this stage. Understandable but also a bit troubling in some cases.
“The general takeaway at this point: This defense has a chance to be special. The offense is a work in progress – with a lot of work to do.”
Penn State quarterback Drew Allar takes the spotlight
As expected, many writers focused on second-year Drew Allar following his second spring scrimmage in State College. He completed 19 of 30 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown.
“Of the passing skills Drew Allar could wield in Penn State’s offense, the sidearm throw isn’t necessarily the tool he most wants to sharpen,” Mark Wogenrich writes for Sports Illustrated. “Yet there he was Saturday at the Blue-White Game, slinging a nearly underhand completion to receiver Kaden Saunders that drew gasps.
“It’s these moments, in addition to the classical traits the 6-5 sophomore quarterback brings to the offense, that has Penn State lifting expectations of its passing game in 2023. And though Franklin wants to ride those expectations with everyone else, he’s acting as the perpetual ground wire of an offense that could be quite electric.”
Lions’ key now is growing talent
That’s the direction Ben Jones of Statecollege.com went with his postgame column. There is no question that Penn State is extremely talented at many positions. But, it has work to do at others and must grow overall if it wants to reach its goals this fall.
“If you were looking to be wowed by quarterback Drew Allar his most impressive throw of a day was a side-armed completion that gain a total of one yard,” Jones writes. “Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton were fine but totaled 10 carries which will likely amount to a third of what they should have any given Saturday in the fall. One might have wanted to see more out of the offensive line, but it’s hard to put too much stock in any single units’ performance when practices are often more about observing broad themes rather than drilling down on all the finer details.
“And the theme from Saturday? This team seems talented, but it will have to do a lot of growing to get to where it wants to go.”
Young receivers step up
We wrap up here with a take from BWI publisher Sean Fitz’s first impressions notebook.
“Penn State’s wide receiver questions didn’t go away on Saturday,” Fitz writes. “It was a solid, perhaps better than expected, turnout from the other guys in the group. Omari Evans led the way with an MVP-like performance in the game. He caught five passes for 80 yards and a score on the day.
“We reported late in spring that Evans was the one pushing toward the realm of KeAndre Lambert-Smith and Tre Wallace. His performance today would seem to lean into that. Evans has some sharpening left to do, but spring was a nice boost for him. Ahead of Dante Cephas’ arrival next month, that’s a good step for Evans.”
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