Some random thoughts on Blue-White weekend while maintaining our standing offer to help introduce Joe Paterno to Grasscutting 101:
n For the past several years, there has been a clear-cut favorite to win the Penn State quarterback job, and it’s often been an upperclassmen waiting in the wings — Wally Richardson, Mike McQueary, Kevin Thompson, Rashard Casey, Matt Senneca, Michael Robinson or Anthony Morelli. Other than Senneca, who was replaced by redshirt freshman Zack Mills in 2001, each of the aforementioned began and ended his respective season(s) as the starter. This spring, it’s a little different in that neither Daryll Clark nor Pat Devlin has much experience. Clark played and played well in mostly running situations against Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl. Devlin has hardly played at all. Both have multiple years of eligibility left — Clark two seasons, Devlin three. Though today will be a great public audition, the reality is the evaluation process likely will continue at least until the Big Ten opener (Sept. 27 vs. Illinois) with the backup possibly relegated to the bench for two seasons. To that end, some Blue-White Games are more meaningful for QBs than others. This is one of them.
n Beyond quarterback, one of the more interesting positions to watch is receiver, where the Lions lost Terrell Golden to graduation and Chris Bell to implosion. That leaves just three experienced targets in Deon Butler, Derrick Williams and Jordan Norwood. Depth will be needed pronto.
n The Lions’ three freshly-announced prime-time kickoffs, including night games at Wisconsin and Ohio State, compounds this year’s challenge. Penn State hasn’t been able to win in Columbus during the day, much less at night after the Horseshoe is juiced from all-day tailgating.
n With walk-ons appearing early and often and JoePa providing radio analysis — mixing in a few laughs and his trademark candid impatience — the game is usually more fun to listen to than it is to watch.
n The Big Ten Network, with Frank Giardina and Kenny Jackson, will show the game at 8 p.m. Monday. Those in the minority who get it will see some live cut-ins this afternoon. The rest of us will continue to mull a switch to DirecTV or rely on one of the most reliable play-by-play men in the country, Steve Jones.
n Continuing our tradition of an obligatory pre-game prediction of the Red Worrell and Jim O’Hora Award, presented to the spring’s most improved offensive and defensive players: wide receiver Kevin Cousins and defensive tackle Abe Koroma.
n Penn State marketing guru and former Altoona High School graduate Guido D’Elia has talked about the branding of the program beyond the Paterno era. That’s one reason today’s game has morphed into a carnival outside Beaver Stadium.
n Memo to the adults pressed against the ropes for today’s 12:30 p.m. autograph session: Try not to elbow out the kids. And don’t strain your neck looking for Paterno: He’d almost rather retire than plunge into that maze.
n The Nittany Lion baseball team hosts Indiana in a doubleheader at Medlar Field beginning at 4:30 p.m. (That’s another place you won’t catch JoePa).
n Given that it could probably make a fast $500,000 today, credit Penn State for keeping the event free.
n The pick: Blue 23, White 20.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.