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de Bear Necessities: Spring Practice Thoughts

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Spring practice is in full swing, so lets get excited about it!

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

I am going to be honest here, I do not particularly enjoy spring football. Sure, it's football, but the only part we as fans get to see is limited to a scrimmage where most of the big names play a series or two at the most. There typically is very little gained from those couple of hours in Beaver Stadium that matter in the overall picture. The real work happens during the 14 other practices that are largely closed to the media, while the rest of us ponder and search out whatever tidbits we can find. By in large, anything you read or hear during these few weeks falls under the category of "our guys really put in a lot of effort in the weight room" or "our young players are really stepping up." In short, we learn absolutely nothing.

With all of that said, there are the odd years where enough storylines exist that there is at least something to discuss, debate, or look forward to longingly. This is one of those years for Penn State.

The obvious storylines are on the offensive side of the ball. Joe Moorhead arrives from Fordham to save us from John Donovan's, ahem, "offense," and he gets to do it with a brand new quarterback too! While it seems highly unlikely that Tommy Stevens, Trace McSorley, or Jake Zembiec separate themselves over the course of March and April, we do figure to see a fair amount of all three on April 16. But a word of caution: Blue-White performances hardly ever mean anything. In fact, you should not even think of using any stats from the scrimmage to make your point on why any of the three should get the nod against Kent State in the fall.

Perhaps just as intriguing as the battle to start at quarterback is the system that young man will be running. While we certainly will not see the extent of Coach Moorhead's system in a couple of weeks, we will get our first glimpse of what appears to be a higher tempo NIttany Lions offense. Fourteen practices are hardly enough time to get a huge amount of the system implemented, and with guys like Saquon Barkley, Chris Godwin, and DaeSean Hamilton unlikely to see much more than a series or two at the most, things will almost certainly be scaled back. However, after two years of whatever it was John Donovan was attempting to run, almost anything will feel like an improvement.

With all those stars not seeing any attention, the big players to watch for me are always the redshirt freshman seeing their first semblance of game action in Beaver Stadium. Guys like Andre Robinson, Ryan Bates, Steven Gonzalez, Ayron Monroe, and Kam Carter, among others, will get on the field for the first time as Nittany Lions. Their roles will vary not only on the 16th, but this fall. But after coming to Penn State as heralded recruits, they sat out their first year to get better, get healthy, or get stronger, and now they get to begin their careers.

By all means, enjoy the weekend, and your first chance to see a new offense, and all three guys with a shot to fill Christian Hackenberg's shoes, but lets just remember what the Blue-White game is: A scrimmage on a Saturday afternoon where we get to tailgate for friends for the first time in four months and the last time in nearly five more.