Today I attended my third consecutive PSU Blue-White spring scrimmage (see entries from 2008 and 2009). This year ESPN2 was here in Happy Valley to broadcast the game. Last year approximately 76,500 people attended the scrimmage on a beautiful spring day. Today the weather was much cooler, with a few raindrops falling, so only 55,000 people were in attendance (based upon the past three years a solid indicator of the attendance is: A = T * 1000 (where A = attendance and T = temperature in degrees Fahrenheit).
I biked to the Tyson Building at noon. I had to look at some Fraser fir seedlings that had just arrived and make sure they were hydrated and put in the cooler for the weekend. Once my work was done I followed the crowd trekking toward Beaver Stadium. Upon arriving I did some scouting, eventually choosing a seat on the three yard line, one section removed from the field (I envisioned excellent photos of goal line rushing plays).
Before the game the usual on-field autograph session took place.
Before the game I saw Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard walking around on the field talking to people. Numerous ESPN camera men were visible in addition to the PSU camera crew.
There were also many Nittany Lion football alumni on the sidelines. One notable player was Jared Odrick, picked in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins.
In this scrimmage there were no kickoffs, so the game began very abruptly. Early on Stephfon Green had a few carries and caught a screen pass. He is so quick in traffic, it is fun to watch him run the ball.
The game was not particularly exciting. There were many dropped passes and missed opportunities.
In the second half the Blue team attempted to convert a fourth and 1. A swing pass was thrown to back Andre Dupree, he happened to be double teamed. The defense was ready.
On a later drive, Kevin Kowalishen executed a perfect stiff arm while turning the corner. The defender was propelled right into the turf.
This game was an opportunity for either of PSU’s two top sophmore quarterback candidates (Kevin Newsome or Matthew McGloin) to emerge as a favorite. Neither of them performed particularly well. Instead it was freshman quarterback Paul Jones that stole the show. He went 5 for 8 with 67 yards and two TDs, the only two touchdowns of the day.
The second one was a sweet precision throw over a defender that dropped in for freshman wide receiver Shawney Kersey (Kersey caught both of Jones’ touchdown throws, each one was 18 yards long). A flag was thrown, and the crowd waited to see if the penalty was on the cornerback or the receiver.
On ESPN2 Brent Musburger lobbied for Jones as the next PSU starting quarterback. I’m sure many fans will share this opinion. It must be noted that Jones faced second and third string defenders. But I don’t think there is any argument that he is the most talented of the quarterbacks on the roster, he’s just very young (he should still be in high school, he graduated early to join the PSU football team for spring practices). It was fun to see him do so well in his first appearance in Beaver Stadium. May there be many more.
The final score of the scrimmage was Blue 17, White 3. PSU lost many important players this year, so it will be interesting to see how the 2010 season unfolds. I’m not expecting them to contend for the Big Ten title, but who knows, maybe they will be better than I anticipate. I think the showdown with Temple in September should be interesting.