Penn State starting anew with Blue-White game

Year two in the Bill O'Brien era is officially under way for Penn State. And the coach has big expectations. (Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times/AP)
Year two in the Bill O'Brien era is officially under way for Penn State. And the coach has big expectations. (Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times/AP)
Posted: April 20, 2013

Having watched one season of Penn State football under the direction of head coach and offensive maestro Bill O'Brien, the fans coming to Beaver Stadium for Saturday's annual Blue-White game know what to expect even if it will be presented in its most basic form.

With the Big Ten Network televising the game, which marks the end of spring football practice, you can be sure O'Brien will reveal only fundamental formations on offense and vanilla packages on defense because every conference opponent will have the DVR humming.

There will be plenty to watch, however. One of the more interesting subplots is at quarterback, where sophomore-to-be Steven Bench and junior-college transfer Tyler Ferguson will be getting an equal number of snaps in their battle to see who succeeds Matt McGloin.

O'Brien's typical answer when asked who has the advantage has been along the order of: "I can't say one guy has stood out over the other guy."

"I think they've both had their good moments and their bad moments," O'Brien said last week. "I think they both do some things well, and there's some things that both of them need to improve upon."

Another candidate for the job, top-ranked recruit Christian Hackenberg, will arrive in the summer and start preseason camp in early August, so that adds further intrigue to the competition.

Two more to watch:

Running back: Zach Zwinak gained 1,000 yards last year but has been pushed by Bill Belton (Winslow Township High) and Akeel Lynch, a freshman who sat out last season. O'Brien said he has been "very pleased with that position" all spring.

Wide receiver: Eugene Lewis, who excelled as a scout-team quarterback while redshirting last season, is expected to produce if opponents load up on Allen Robinson.

Tightened security. Security will be stepped up for the game. Fans are not allowed to bring bags, backpacks, purses, or diaper bags into the stadium. Anyone with a medical need must place supplies in a clear, one-gallon, zip-style plastic bag.


Contact Joe Juliano

at jjuliano@phillynews.com. Follow @joejulesinq on Twitter.

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