UNIVERSITY PARK - Bill O'Brien chuckled at the question.
Earlier this spring, when someone asked him where he'd be during the Blue-White Game, he couldn't resist clarifying the importance of the opportunity he and the Nittany Lions have this afternoon.
Quick history lesson: Joe Paterno always felt the annual spring game was a reward for the fans, one reason admission and parking have been free. He'd muse how it was amazing that 70,000 people would show up "for a scrimmage."
Paterno met the media before the game, in part because in his mind most of the spring work had been done and not much was going to change his perception.
JoePa was eager to see a few matchups, sure, but generally, walk-ons appeared early and often, and Paterno spent the day in the radio booth, schmoozing and providing insightful analysis - a fun listen, really - and in later years greeting former players by the third quarter.
No doubt Paterno had a different approach in April of 1966 when he was in his first year of establishing the program - which is where O'Brien finds himself today.
O'Brien intends to create as much of a real-game atmosphere as possible. That means he'll call the plays - as he plans to do in the fall - and he'll have coaches in the press box.
And he'll evaluate publicly how he felt it went afterward.
O'Brien knows the weekend is a carnival, but the football game itself will not be.
"I've heard about the Blue White game," he said, smiling. "It's a huge deal here. I understand that. And I know that there's going to be a lot of people here, and I think that's great, I really do. But for us as a football team, it's another opportunity to get better. So for us, it'll be treated like a game scrimmage."
Observers of recent practices have noticed a spike in spring intensity, surely the product of wanting to create an impression on the new coaching staff.
Unlike previous Blue-White games, today will include special-teams play as well, and O'Brien has instituted a cool scoring system to reward big plays (15-yard gains and higher) as well as turnovers and defensive stops.
That should further heighten competition.
"Yeah, every time we go out on the field," improvement is being gauged, O'Brien said, adding, "the more you can practice simulating a game, then when you get to the opportunity game itself."
Of course, all eyes will be on the quarterbacks - Matt McGloin, Rob Bolden, Paul Jones and, a plug for the local kid, Ebensburg's Shane McGregor.
Most are curious how they'll adapt to the system structure and pace of the offense O'Brien wants to run.
While O'Brien has already formulated some opinions, he'll get to see how his team and some of its inexperienced players react in front of 140,000-plus eyeballs.
The Blue-White game always is accompanied by a sense of curiosity - this year even more so - and with the new scoring system, the winner may need 50 points or more.
Which will look good tonight on the ESPN crawl.
Rudel can be reached at 946-7527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.