Whether or not the most familiar faces on the Penn State roster end up wearing baseball hats or helmets for the majority of the Nittany Lions’ 15th and final practice of the spring, there will still be much to observe during the annual Blue-White game.
From the changes in the secondary, where John Reid is back to full health and there will be two new starting safeties, to the offense where life after Saquon Barkley should usher in the Miles Sanders era. Those who file into Beaver Stadium on April 21 will look for any changes on the depth chart while hopefully basking in the sun.
Penn State spring game 2018: Date, time
Time: 3 p.m. ET
Date: Saturday, April 21
Location: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pa.
Penn State spring game 2018: TV channel
Penn State’s 2018 spring game will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network. Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com will also have coverage.
Penn State spring game 2018: Preview
Replacing Barkley will be a task that falls on the shoulder of several players, but beyond that there are more holes on the other side of the ball where coordinator Brent Pry’s defense needs to replace several starters. Many eyes will be focused on the defense, where the depth at defensive tackle and the rotation at defensive end all will be under the microscope.
Gone is middle linebacker Jason Cabinda and so too are both of the 2017 starting safeties. Cornerback Grant Haley is among the large contingent for former Nittany Lions preparing for the NFL and so too are defensive tackles Parker Cothren and Curtis Cothran.
April 21 will be the first time fans get an up close look at those vying to fill the voids left by Cabinda, Haley, Marcus Allen and Troy Apke, among others. It’s also the first time 5-star signee Micah Parsons will run out of the tunnel wearing the old No. 11 that used to be worn by LaVar Arrington.
Arrington will have a special connection to the Blue-White game this year as his youth all-star game, the A11 Star Bowl, will be played in Beaver Stadium at 10 a.m. The event is free and open to the public and features the top eighth graders from across the country. Arrington, since his last return to campus, was named head coach at Maranatha High in California.
Parsons moved from Mike to Will already this spring in an effort to lessen the load since much will be asked of him as a freshman so expect there to be plenty of attention on the former Harrisburg High standout. Ellis Brooks, who redshirted last season, is vying for Cabinda’s old spot in the middle along with veterans Jan Johnson and Jake Cooper. What the rotation looks like at all three linebacker spots — plus how January enrollees Jesse Luketa and Nick Tarburton do while getting their feet wet — should be telling.
The Nittany Lions moved Lamont Wade from corner to safety this winter, but at the midway point of spring ball the projected starters were Garrett Taylor and Nick Scott. Scott brings experience while Ayron Monroe has long been an intriguing option, but saw limited reps thus far due to injury. John Petrishen and Jonathan Sutherland, that latter whose hard hits during developmental scrimmages last year impressed teammates, will be worth watching.
Up front, redshirt freshman Damion Barber is in the midst of his first spring with the team and part of his impressive weight gain since enrolling resulted in him moving inside. The former defensive end should have plenty of opportunities, especially in the Blue-White game. Rob Windsor and Kevin Givens are the team’s two top tackles but beyond them there are plenty of questions that Penn State needs the 15th practice and the rest of the offseason to sort through.
Penn State spring game 2018: Tickets
No tickets are required for the annual event, which is free and open to the public. However, there is a parking charge. Blue-White parking passes were sent to season ticket holders in the summer along with their season passes, while day of parking (cash only) will be available. Parking passes can be purchased in person at the Bryce Jordan Center until 4:30 p.m. on April 20. Beaver Stadium parking lots will open at 8 a.m on April 21.