Blue-White Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the ugly from Penn State's first spring game under new coach Bill O'Brien.

The Blue (defense) beat the White (offense) 77-65 in Penn State's annual spring scrimmage. The game used a crazy scoring system that made modified stableford look simple by comparison.

Here is what went down as PSU kicked off the Bill O'Brien era at Beaver Stadium.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Sophomore Bill Belton has taken to his move from receiver to running backs. With starter Silas Redd seeing only three carries, Belton logged plenty of action with the first team offense. He had seven rushing attempts for 50 yards and a score. He also caught a pass for 11 yards.

CLOSE SECOND: Sophomore wideout Allen Robinson caught three passes for 87 yards and had plenty of YAC. It's obvious why teammates were bragging on him in the spring.

CLOSE THIRD: Second-team defensive end C.J. Olanyian had three sacks in six plays in the second quarter. It helped that O'Brien dumbed down his offense and the defense clearly knew what was coming most of the time. It also helped that the QBs only had to be touched to be ruled down. Still, three sacks in six plays is still strong.

TURNING POINT: The teams combined to score 142 points, so there was no turning point. But we thought a really cool play was defensive tackle Jordan Hill's first-quarter interception of Rob Bolden. Hill saw Belton leaking out of the backfield and took the sneaky approach of tripping the running back. But Hill tripped himself, too. He caught Bolden's pass while falling to the ground. Hill later admitted that if he had not tripped Belton (and himself), he may well have had a pick six.

SOLID STRATEGY: Defensive coordinator Ted Roof brought heavy pressure off the edges. With the limited offense, the QBs had no chance. The defense came up with eight sacks for minus-62 yards.

NUMBERS GAME: The White dominated time of possession, 60 minutes to none. Meanwhile, the Blue had 68 tackles and the White only two (following interceptions).

BUSINESS AS USUAL: The pregame playlist over the loudspeakers seemed to be exactly the same as what we heard last season.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: It was fun to see walk-on Devin Pryor break through the first couple lines of coverage on an early kickoff return. In scrimmages, return men usually stop when they hit daylight. Not Pryor. As everyone else on the field stopped, Pryor ran the length of the field and into the end zone. He was living a dream in front of 60,000 fans. He also had an interception in the game.

WHAT'S UP WITH?

• All of those interceptions (five). We know the defense had a built-in edge in this game. But some of the passing was really sloppy.

• Unless we missed it, redshirt sophomore QB Paul Jones did not get any reps against the first-team defense.

• The stinking injury bug. Walk-on linebacker T.J. Rhattigan sustained what appeared to be a serious knee injury early on.

HIT SQUAD: We're going to change things up a bit and give this to an offensive guy. Running back Zach Zwinak was in the middle of some great collisions during the game.

HIDDEN HERO: Mother nature, thank you for holding off the rain until after the game.

DID YOU NOTICE?

• Chicago Bear star Brian Urlacher on the sideline. He was a guest of new PSU trainer Tim Bream. Bream used to work for the Bears. Urlacher signed autographs and posed for photos all afternoon. Some of his biggest fans seemed to be visiting recruits. Speaking of which…

• All of those recruits. Yikes. We were told that the guest list, including parents and coaches, numbered about 300. O'Brien gave them all a speech before the game. Stay tuned for more on that.

• Former players of note on the sideline included, in no particular order, Ki-Jana Carter (working for the BTN), Shane Conlan, the player formerly known as Derek Wake, the player formerly known as Navarro Bowman, Stefen Wisniewski, E.Z. Smith, Matt Rice, Deon Butler, Al Pola (aka Aoatoa Polamalu), Shelly Hammonds and Chafie Fields.

• Running back Curtis Dukes, held out of spring ball for academic reasons, was on the sideline but in street clothes.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: How much better will the offense be when O'Brien unleashes its full power?


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