Take Your Marks: Blue-White Game

Fight On State's Mark Brennan and Mark Harrington discuss and debate topics concerning Penn State in their regular feature "Take Your Marks." This time they look at Saturday's Blue-White Game and the surprises the scrimmage revealed to the Nittany Nation.


BRENNAN: I know L.J.'s bright red getup made quite a statement. As far as the team is concerned, I liked what I saw out of Spencer Ridenhour. The 6-foot, 211-pounder played OLB in this game and made seven stops, but could surface at safety or even H-back in the fall. He'll definitely see action on special teams. This kid is put together like no one else in the program. He's athletic. And he's smart.

HARRINGTON: Sure, it is only a spring game, but I have to say Michael Robinson was a pleasant surprise for me. He played confident, poised and made some nice passes (and runs), hitting six for six through the air for 143 yards and picking up 23 yards and a TD on three carries. Granted he was facing the second-team defense, but it is refreshing to see him handle that defense as he should be expected to. If we had seen a 50-percent completion rate with an interception or two you'd have widespread panic throughout the Nittany Nation. As of now I only see widespread uncertainty.

BRENNAN: Speaking of wide spreads, I must admit (because I'm sure you'll bring it up) I was surprised by all the four-wide sets we saw. I know you blathered on about it all spring, just as I know it is a good way to help spread the field and protect a suspect offensive line. I'm still not convinced we'll see it as a primary part of the offense in the fall, but would be happy to be proven wrong.

HARRINGTON: Nah, history has shown that if the Lions display a new formation in the Blue-White Game, you have a better chance of seeing Penn State sporting its retro pink and black unis in the upcoming season than seeing the new formation rear its head again. You know I'd love to see the four-wide set, but I will temper my enthusiasm. I will say I was impressed with the aggressive style and overall intensity of Matt Hahn. He was a force in the backfield and could be an impressive weapon for the offense in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Some fans feel he could be a solid linebacker, but let's face it, the offense can use all the help it can get.

BRENNAN'S FINAL WORD: Two things from Joe Paterno surprised me, as well. One was playing Justin King both ways. That was a real positive, and showed Paterno is changing his ways. The other was the old coach — again — presenting the ridiculous argument that Penn State was cheated out of playing for a national title in 2002. What an insult to the great 1994 team which was honored at halftime, a group that actually was robbed of a title. I don't know if Paterno will ever get close to a crown again, but I promise you it will not happen until he learns from past failures rather than making excuses for them.

HARRINGTON'S FINAL WORD: Another thing that surprised me was having the first-team offense and defense on the Blue squad. Almost seems that the staff was stacking the deck in its favor. Why? Maybe to give the passing game a little more confidence, maybe to challenge the second-team offense or maybe to give Robinson an edge. The bigger surprise was that the Blue team, which had a clear edge in talent, only won by eight points.


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