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Penn State Football: Three Good, Three Bad From The Blue White Game

by on April 22, 2018 8:45 AM

You want some salt, here are several grains. If you didn't go to a spring scrimmage for the singular purpose of coming up with some slightly unfair, potentially incorrect and usually unimportant opinions about Penn State's upcoming season then you're doing it wrong.

That being said there were a few good things and a few bad things to take from Penn State's quick afternoon scrimmage on Saturday as the Nittany Lions head into the summer. How much stock you out in them is up to you.

Good

Corners: One afternoon does not a all-american secondary make, but Penn State's coverage by its corners, pretty much for both teams looked solid. Sophomore Zech McPhearson broke up three passes for the White team, including one in the first quarter that saved a touchdown. He added two tackles as well.

Certainly a lot of this has to do with who was throwing the passes, with McSorley having his way a bit more than the rest, but making good plays is making good plays. McPhearson in particular made them all day.

Parsons: He's wearing LaVar Arrington's number which is kind of asking for comparisons. Parsons didn't do anything that made you gasp, but it's a scrimmage and he still managed eight tackles. That ties him for a game-high with Jason Vranic. Parsons was also credited with a sack on the afternoon. It was probably unfair to expect anything special from him today, but he seems fast, athletic and rose to the occasion, however minor the occasion may have been.

Hippenhammer: With DeAndre Thompkins and Juwan Johnson sitting out and Justin Shorter not yet on campus it was kind of a free-for-all at receiver on Saturday. Making the most of the moment Mac Hippenhammer grabbed five catches and two touchdowns and looked the part.

Where he ends up fitting into the rotation remains to be seen once it's all hands on deck, but on an afternoon where anyone could make a good or bad impression, Hippenhammer certainly didn't hurt his stock any. 

Bad

Kicking in flux: To his credit Carson Landis was out there more than anyone on Saturday and went perfect with his field goals and was "good enough" with his kickoffs. Blake Gillikin didn't play which meant Landis got plenty of reps doing everything. Even so, his leg wasn't impressively strong and he wasn't asked to do anything from a field goal standpoint that gives anyone any idea of his range.

Gillikin won't be doing everything this year which leaves some of these duties up to Landis and incoming kicker Jake Pinegar, who is probably the favorite right now. This wasn't a low as much as it wasn't reassuring. Penn State ought to have this figured out by the time the season gets here.

Ball security: Three points off turnovers probably won't end your season, but both Jonathan Thomas and KJ Hamler had good plays ended with fumbles. If Saquon Barkley and really Penn State as a team didn't get enough credit for something the past two years, it was how infrequently they fumbled. It'll probably be impossible to replicate Barkley's fumble numbers, but two in a single scrimmage will hurt a lot more when the games matter.

Who is RB No. 1?: Miles Sanders has always been the assumed No. 1 back, but his three carries and six yards didn't do much to make everyone nod their heads in agreement. To be fair he wasn't ever going to get a lot of carries during an otherwise meaningless scrimmage, in order to stay healthy, so it's not as though three carries is disproving his abilities.

Behind him Mark Allen had the best afternoon with five carries for 30 yards, Jonathan Thomas with six for 27 and Journey Brown with six for 14. None of those numbers really pop out at you. Without freshman Ricky Slade on campus, it's hard to know how this position is going to shake out during the summer, but in the very least Saturday didn't provide much clarity beyond the fact Penn State has options. Sometimes that's a bad thing. If you were looking for something obvious on Saturday in a post-Barkley era you didn't be find it.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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