As Biz Markie so eloquently pointed out 25 years ago on this very date...it's Spring Again! We PSU football fans have been starved of PSU football on-field footage for nearly five months. This Blue/White/Gray game will be all that we have to enjoy for another four and a half months. After this game ends, other than the random recruiting news, there will be little if anything to add to our anticipation of the coming season. The only news that typically hits a team after the spring game, other than recruiting news regarding future years, is bad news. Off-season altercations, injuries, transfers. Not good. Let's hope that after this game there is virtual silence from the team until early August.
The off-season so far was filled mostly by the turnover in coaching staff and the new-found success (hopefully with honor) on the recruiting trail. Our new staff has shown an ability to get great players signed up to play at PSU. The Spring Game is the first time for the coaches to demonstrate their efforts in coaching the players.
While the game is only a glorified practice, this is a test-run of sorts for the first game of the season. Many people do not know this, but the team has been observing local Ireland customs for the past three weeks; waking six hours earlier than normal,eating bland food and not brushing their teeth afterwards, drinking dark beer. The next time this team takes the field with refs, fans, and scoreboards it will be on the friendly football pitch of Croke Park Stadium in Dublin, Ireland.
This spring game is a chance to not only watch the players, but also the PSU coaches. This will be the first year since 1950 that no coaches from the Paterno coaching tree will be on the PSU staff. We are in uncharted territory in terms of the coaching staff. Everything is new, even the strength coach. While this game is not meaningful in terms of wins or losses, yards or score, this game is a chance to also evaluate the coaching staff. At this point we will only be able to obtain mostly superficial information such as demeanor, fire in the belly, etc. Still the spring game can be one of revelations.
Remember it was just a year ago to this day that former PSU strength coach Craig Fitzgerald bench pressed the whole world.
Craig Fitzgerald demonstrates a rare talent during the 2013 Blue/White game, pulling off what is called 'Inverted Atlas' in weightlifting circles. A bench press of the entire world. Coach Fitz completed seventeen reps and then went directly into the worm, displaying his break-dancing talents as well.
And last year everyone remembers JF's entrance to the 'So You Think You Can Coach And Dance' competition.
This Spring Game may very well give coach Franklin an opportunity to show more of his dance moves. In last years Black/Old Gold game at Vandy he gave us a glimpse of what he is capable of as a dancer and his coaching skills were pretty impressive, too.
There are times where tempers can run hot in these games as well. We all remember the episodes from the 1980's involving Ohio State football and Indiana basketball. The thrown yard-marker incident that gave way to the punching incident by Woody Hayes at THE Ohio State Universities' spring game in 1988 (seen below). The chair-throwing incident of Bobby Knight during their Midnight Madness inter-squad scrimmage in 1982(below also).
It will be interesting to see if any of the PSU football coaches just simply crack under the pressure and throw a chair onto the field, or start dancing like Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Either way, the coaches will be in the spotlight just as much as the players.