Spring game preview: Penn State

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
9:30
AM ET
Three spring games are on tap Saturday around the Big Ten, and we're taking a look at each one.

Let's examine the Blue-White Game presented by AAA at Penn State, the team's first under new head coach Bill O'Brien.

When: 2 p.m. ET, Saturday

Where: Beaver Stadium

Admission: Free. Game day parking is free in lots around the stadium, and lots open at 8 a.m. ET. Stadium gates A and B open at 11:30 a.m. for pregame autograph session.

TV: The game will be streamed live on both BTN2Go and the Big Ten Digital Network. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the game on tape-delay at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.

Weather forecast: Cloudy with showers likely, temperatures between 53-59 degrees, 50 percent chance of rain, winds at 9-12 mph.

What to watch for: Penn State will send its offense against its defense and use a modified scoring system detailed here. The defense will wear blue jerseys, while the offense, aside from the quarterbacks, will wear white.

Saturday marks the first chance for Penn State fans to see their team since O'Brien and his staff arrived on campus. It's one of many historic firsts for O'Brien, who takes over for the late Joe Paterno. O'Brien has made it clear he won't show too much, telling ESPN.com last week, "I wouldn't say it's going to be a dazzling show." Still, it's a chance for Nittany Nation to get a glimpse of the new offense, which will operate at a much faster pace and mix formations and personnel in new ways. O'Brien's philosophy this spring has been to throw everything at his players and see what sticks. The game should provide some clues about what the players can handle.

All eyes will be on the three quarterbacks -- Rob Bolden, Matthew McGloin and Paul Jones -- competing for the starting job. O'Brien wants to reduce the candidate pool from three to two at the end of spring ball, but has repeatedly said there's no separation right now. After watching Bolden and McGloin struggle the past few seasons, most fans seem to be partial to Jones, a gifted sophomore who has yet to play a game because of academic problems. The offensive line is another interesting position to watch, as O'Brien has been pleasantly surprised by the group this spring. O'Brien also will feature the tight ends in bigger roles, so it will be worth tracking Garry Gilliam.

The changes on defense shouldn't be overlooked, as new coordinator Ted Roof installs a new system. The front seven could be very strong, particularly defensive tackle Jordan Hill and linebacker Gerald Hodges, but there are some question marks in the secondary as Penn State needs to build depth there.

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