Penn State completed its 2018 spring practice schedule Saturday, hosting the annual Blue-White Game at Beaver Stadium. The search for new Nittany Lions starters continued as coaches gained another look at players in a competitive environment.
Team Blue defeated Team White 21-10, spurred by a pair of touchdown receptions by redshirt freshman Mac Hippenhammer. The next matchup in Beaver Stadium occurs Sept. 1 when Penn State welcomes Appalachian State for its 2018 season opener.
Nittany Lions coach James Franklin discussed his team’s performance after the Blue-White Game. Here is what he said about a few key topics:
On who opened some eyes: “I thought [sophomore cornerback] Zechariah McPhearson stood out. He made a bunch of plays and played with a lot of confidence and that’s great to see.”
On what players need to take away from the experience: “It will be very important for our players to come in to review film and be critical of themselves.”
On freshman quarterback Sean Clifford: “I thought he did some really good things. He got a lot of reps to be able to grow and compete. He throws the ball extremely well. He laid a solid foundation this spring.”
On spring camp progress: “We got a lot out of this spring but we’ve got a lot to do to be the team we want to be this fall.”
On sophomore offensive lineman Michal Menet: “Menet has had a great offseason, one of the best on this team. We think he can play all three [interior] positions. I’ve been really impressed with him since the end of the season. He’s been durable, coachable and has made tremendous strides in a short amount of time.”
On how Penn State’s six early enrolled freshmen: “We all know it’s very challenging to play as a true freshman. The guys who graduate [high school] early, it’s significant to make an impact early in your career. Those other freshmen are going to show up, it’s all going to be new to them. There’s no doubt the [early enrollee’s] time on campus, academically and on the football team, will benefit them.”
On Mac Hippenhammer playing football and baseball: “That was part of the recruiting process for him. He wanted to play baseball. I said, ‘Look, I’m open to it but it’s going to come down to how you do academically.’ He crushed it in the classroom, did better than I even anticipated. Once spring ball started, we shut him down for baseball, because he’s on a football scholarship. Now I’m excited to support our baseball program and support Mac.”
On recruiting aspect of Blue-White Game: Franklin estimates his staff hosted 160 recruits on Saturday, in addition to prospects who are on campus for official visits.