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Penn State football: Final takeaways from spring practice and the Blue/White game

Our parting thoughts on this year’s Penn State football Blue/White spring game.



Penn State football Blue/White game
Penn State Blue/White game; April 15th, 2023. Credit: Gracie Carella//Basic Blues Nation

Now two weeks removed from the Nittany Lions’ spring game, the focus for both coaches and fans has shifted to national recruiting efforts and summer football activities. The spring practices and the Blue/White game held on April 15th provided valuable insight into the strengths and weaknesses of Penn State football. As such, we have gathered some final thoughts on the team’s performance during the spring practices and the Blue/White game.

What did we learn about Penn State football Blue/White game and spring ball?

The biggest takeaway from Penn State’s spring practices and the Blue/White game is that the team is relatively young, with first-year starters like Drew Allar still settling into their roles. While this may temper expectations for immediate success, the Nittany Lions have proven to be one of the most talented and explosive programs in the nation on both sides of the ball. The Blue/White game showcased flashes of greatness that, if sustained and developed over the summer, could make Penn State a formidable opponent in the Big Ten during the 2023 season.

For the Nittany Lions to succeed, repetition will be key, particularly for Allar as he continues to adjust to the starting quarterback position. The offensive line will also need time to develop and build cohesion, and the defense must sort out its issues along the defensive line.

Overall, the potential is there for this to be one of the most talented Penn State teams in history, but it remains to be seen how they will develop over the course of the season. James Franklin and his coaching staff have a big task ahead of them in putting all the pieces together and maximizing the team’s potential.

Is the QB battle real or fake?

Penn State football head coach James Franklin, as well as quarterbacks Beau Pribula and Drew Allar, have all acknowledged the ongoing quarterback competition in State College. However, in my opinion, the QB1 position is already secured by Drew Allar, leaving Pribula as QB2.

Despite this, I believe Pribula will still see significant playing time this season due to the unique skillset that he brings to the table for the Penn State Nittany Lions as a runner. Additionally, if he continues to develop, Pribula could potentially take over as the starter in 2025 if he chooses to stick around after this year.

It’s worth noting that Pribula is a highly talented quarterback who has been impressing coaches and scouts for some time now, but his biggest obstacle at Penn State is competing with Drew Allar, who has also been turning heads with his skills on the field.

Running backs looking to take the next step in 2023, and few teams are going to be able to stop them

Penn State football fans are already familiar with the dynamic duo of Kaytron Allen and Nick Singleton. As true freshmen last season, the two elite running backs burst onto the scene, helping to carry the Nittany Lions to an 11-2 season with a victory in the Rose Bowl. Now, as rising sophomores, Allen and Singleton are aiming for even bigger things. If the Michigan Wolverines’ Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards stay healthy, the Penn State duo could have some stiff competition for the title of best running back duo in the nation.

One major factor that could contribute to a significant improvement for the elite ball-carriers in their second year is the Nittany Lions’ revamped offensive line. While Penn State football saw improved offensive line play in 2022, it appears that the O-line could take yet another step forward in 2023.

With improved size, speed, and strength, both Allen and Singleton have elevated their game this fall. Despite their added bulk, the duo moves with remarkable agility and quickness. Supported by a revamped offensive line and a former five-star quarterback at the helm, Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen have the potential to elevate Penn State football to the top of the rushing ranks this season, establishing themselves as one of the most formidable running back tandems in the country.

Two rising stars emerge on the defensive side of the football for the Nittany Lions during spring ball

Penn State football has a longstanding reputation for developing elite linebackers, and that tradition continues in State College with the emergence of true freshman Tony Rojas. According to James Franklin and veteran players, Rojas has been turning heads in spring practice, adding 29 pounds of muscle while simultaneously increasing his speed.

Rojas has also demonstrated a strong grasp of the playbook, along with excellent spatial awareness and a natural feel for the game. His impressive performance during the Penn State football spring game, where he led the team in tackles, only reinforces the high expectations surrounding him.

Sophomore defensive tackle Zane Durant is another player generating buzz this spring, particularly due to the need for depth along the defensive line. James Franklin and other players have praised Durant’s progress, which bodes well for the Nittany Lions’ defense in year two under Manny Diaz.

The fact that both Durant and Rojas have garnered repeated praise from various coaches and players indicates that they are on track for success this season.

Recruiting is going over well in State College this spring following the Penn State football Blue/White game

Although James Franklin is known for doing most of his recruiting during the summer, Penn State football’s recruiting efforts have been exceptional this spring. Just yesterday, the team secured a commitment from elite four-star running back Corey Smith, making him the 13th commitment for the 2024 recruiting cycle. With a current national ranking of No. 5, the Nittany Lions’ 2024 recruiting class is one of the best in the country, and the team is poised to secure a few more significant recruits this summer.

Moreover, Penn State football’s 2025 recruiting class is also in excellent shape, currently ranked in the top three nationally. While the rankings at this stage may not be a significant predictor of success until signing day, Penn State is undoubtedly making progress on the recruiting trail. The team is on a roll, and this is not good news for the Big Ten.

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Chris Mangum is currently a Penn State student and serves as a writer and editor covering Big Ten athletics. He has served as a beat writer, online reporter, print reporter, and more over the past few years of his career. He currently serves as the managing editor for Basic Blues Nation and others.