Under former coach Joe Paterno and his staff, the Nittany Lions always broke into two entirely different teams for the final scrimmage of the spring. Both the Blue and White squads had offensive and defensive players (though QBs were often shared and midgame trades were frequent).
O'Brien is taking a new approach, pitting the offense (the White) against the defense (the Blue). The game takes place Saturday at Beaver Stadium, with a start time of 2 p.m.
Scoring will be tallied as follows:
Touchdown = 6 points
Field goal = 3 points
Big play (15+ yard play) = 2 points
Two consecutive first downs = 2 points
PAT = 1 points
Touchdown = 7 points
Turnover (unless TD) = 6 points
Sack = 4 points
Three and out = 1 points
Tackle for loss = 2 points
Another significant change to the game will involve O'Brien himself.
For the past 25 years, at least, Paterno never actually coached in the Blue-White Game, but rather turned those duties over to his assistants. For years he actually provided radio color commentary for the scrimmage.
O'Brien, who is also Penn State's offensive coordinator, will be on the sideline calling plays. Defensive coordinator Ted Roof will be calling the plays on his side of the ball.
O'Brien said his goals for the scrimmage are simple.
We want to look like a sharp football team, he explained. But it's not a game. It's a practice for us. It's another opportunity for us to evaluate our football team. So I would say the expectation level for the actual football playing on the field -- I wouldn't say that it should be too high. We've got guys who are still learning our systems.