Penn State Football: Five Blue White Game Performances You Missed
The Blue White game is always a bit of a gamble when it comes to the product on the field. Not that players aren't trying or that they aren't putting forward an effort to impress the fans, but pitting mixed units against each other is always going to give you mixed results.
So with the band playing, the sun shining and friends and family sitting with you, there is a chance you missed a play or two. Add in a running clock and no video boards to watch replays on and Saturday afternoon may have felt like it ended before it ever really began.
What did you miss? The big plays were obvious, but here are five performances you might have overlooked this past weekend.
1. Chris Gulla
Being a punter is a thankless job. You don't play much, and when you do it's very rarely someone else's fault if it goes poorly. Gulla stood tall during his punting debut though with 12 kicks going 470 yards at an average of 39 yards per kick. His 50 yard bomb was a sign of even higher potential and the 39 yard average was only .2 yards short of Alex Butterworth's average last season.
Gulla might want to add some hang time and distance to his kicks but he avoided any shanks and wasn't a noticeable step down from Butterworth. Not being worse than you predecessor might be an odd measurement, but Gulla proved to have the tools needed to succeed and build on moving forward.
2. Ryan Keiser
Keiser has had his fair share of critics, but he once again silenced them with a performance that included three tackles, one forced fumble and one interception returned for 19 yards. Penn State returns a good amount of talent in the defensive backfield and Keiser proved that he won over Bill O'Brien's appreciation and respect for good reason last year. He might not be the flashiest defensive back in the conference, but Keiser continues to show that he's as hard working and capable as anyone out there.
3. Da'Quan Davis
Davis found himself out of the mix at times last season but has reportedly had a strong spring to put himself back into the rotation. This was apparent on Saturday. Davis racked up a game high four solo tackles and a pass deflection. Davis made several big tackles early in the game and his deflection came on a great play breaking up a bubble screen as he reacted nicely to the read. Penn State has a solid stable of corners already but Davis showed that his stock and talent is on its way up after a rocky 2013 season.
4. CJ Olaniyan
It shouldn't be a surprise that Olaniyan had an impressive game, but making a game high five total tackles, 2.5 sacks and three tackles for a loss is a good sign for Penn State. Olaniyan had a strong final third of a season in 2013 and if he is able to pick up from where he left off it could go a long way toward getting Deion Barnes back to where he was two years ago. If Barnes and Olaniyan are able to work well at opposite ends of the defensive line, Penn State could be building a special defensive front this season.
5. Kyle Carter
Kyle Carter has been a known asset on Penn State's offense for a while now but after getting injured in late 20012 and then almost getting seriously injured again in the first game of the 2013 season while still not yet 100% Carter never fully hit his stride. Four catches in a spring game won't make headlines, but Carter's ability to get into the groove early is a good sign for Penn State. This could become even more true if the offensive line struggles to keep defenders out of the backfield as the tight end is often an easy outlet for a hurried quarterback.
Carter's performance on Saturday wasn't as important as it was seeing him making plays again and being a part of the plan like he was so frequently his freshman year.