5 takeaways from Penn State’s Blue-White spring game

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Penn State head coach James Franklin admitted the 2022 Blue-White Game may not have been the best way to entertain fans and answer questions for the media, but he seemed to be pleased with the development of his team as the spring practices came to a close. Saturday’s Blue-White Game allowed plenty of players on the roster to get some opportunities to shine and, more importantly, just get some playing time in a scrimmage format.

With a roster with some key freshmen just joining the program, the expectations are high. But for a team coming off a pair of mediocre seasons, Penn State’s Blue-White Game may have felt a tad underwhelming for some fans watching.

But there are some takeaways you can have from what was largely a glorified scrimmage with a modified scoring system. Here are five that stood out to me.

Christian Veilleux is the backup

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Heading into the spring, it was unquestionable who the starting quarterback for Penn State will be in the fall. Despite the narrative some will suggest that a quarterback competition was brewing between [autotag]Sean Clifford[/autotag] and Class of 2022 early enrolee [autotag]Drew Allar[/autotag], Clifford was always going to be the starting option for the Penn State offense in the fall. Instead, the bigger question should have been who will be backing him up.

And given the performance in the Blue-White Game, it would seem pretty obvious who it should and will be. [autotag]Christian Veilleux[/autotag] was the far more comfortable passer in the game, and it should be an easy decision for James Franklin to consider Veilleux the top backup option behind Clifford when the 2022 season officially begins.

Allar is still to be considered Penn State’s quarterback of the future, and odds are he will continue to improve over the summer. But Veilleux was more comfortable option in the spring game, something that should be expected for a player in his second year with the program compared to one who is in his first semester out of high school.

Mitchell Tinsley is going to be a fun addition to the offense

AP Photo/Bryan Woolston

One of the players joining the program this offseason by way of the transfer portal was wide receiver [autotag]Mitchell Tinsley[/autotag]. And no, he’s not going to be a perfect replacement for [autotag]Jahan Dotson[/autotag], who hopes to be a first-round draft pick in this year’s NFL draft, but Tinsley should be a key player in the offensive game plan this season.

Tinsley opened the scoring in the game with a touchdown pass from Sean Clifford early on in the afternoon, and he will be pairing nicely with [autotag]Parker Washignton[/autotag] (who did not play) and [autotag]KeAndre Lambert-Smith[/autotag], who also had a few catches in the game.

The defense will be fine

Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

[autotag]Manny Diaz[/autotag] had a nice debut in his Penn State tenure by coaching the defense to a hard-fought victory in the modified scoring system. Penn State’s defense had a solid spring showing, which was to be expected, and there are still some players that will be getting a chance to contribute later on in the fall.

The standout star was [autotag]Dominic DeLuca[/autotag], a redshirt freshman linebacker who came out of nowhere to pick off two passes and record a sack to earn some MVP consideration for the spring game. It may not be what is needed to drastically change the outlook for the linebacker position, but it is always fun watching a player few would have been paying close attention to spring up and put on a show.

But most importantly, the defense came up with a big stop in the closing seconds to seal a win in the end zone, and freshman [autotag]Zane Durant[/autotag] came up with some nice stops up front at points in the game. And a healthy [autotag]PJ Mustipher[/autotag] is on his way, as is five-star addition [autotag]Dani Dennis-Sutton[/autotag] and Maryland transfer Demeioun Robinson.

Running game still a concern?

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Penn State having a lack of available offensive linemen for the spring game makes it a little bit difficult to really gauge where the running game is as a whole at the end of the spring. But there were some moments that reminded you this is still a bit of an area of concern.

But [autotag]Keyvone Lee[/autotag] showed a few good moves and [autotag]Nick Singleton[/autotag] and [autotag]Kaytron Allen[/autotag] each got some opportunities throughout the spring game to get involved. And that trio may be the combination to get used to in the fall.

Does Penn State have a new kicker?

With [autotag]Jordan Stout[/autotag] heading off to the NFL, [autotag]Jake Pinegar[/autotag] seemed to be in a position to take on the lead placekicking role for the special teams unit in the fall. But the leg of [autotag]Sander Sahaydak[/autotag] may have something to say about that situation.

Sahaydek isn’t exactly flying under any radars. He did come to Penn State as one of the top kicking prospects out of high school, and fans got a chance to see him live up to some of that billing. At the very least, it may be interesting to see how franklin handles the kicking situation next fall after essentially having Stout as an all-around kicking specialist.

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