Penn State’s Spring Game Raises Questions


The best thing about this game was the crowd.

When one team wins a spring game 37-0, you know the coaches just are not paying attention so wherever James Franklin’s mind is (maybe the pros), it has to be good news for the third Temple football game of the season.

It certainly is not on the kind of detail you need to choose competitive sides in a spring game. That’s a bad job of picking teams by Franklin or whomever he gave that job to and probably a wasted day of preparation for the Nittany Lions. Kids playing pickup basketball across the street from Beaver Stadium probably picked better sides than Franklin did.

That’s Penn State’s problem, though.

(The biggest blowout we could ever find in a Temple spring game came in 2001, when the White beat the Cherry, 36-0. No surprise that Bobby Wallace was the head coach. Most of the games in the last eight years have been competitive.)

The big player for the Lions was Blue quarterback Trace McSorley, who will have to replace NFL-bound Christian Hackenberg. He hit 18-of-19 passes in the first half against a squad that obviously had bottom-end, for Penn State, talent. Penn State’s defensive line lost players like Anthony Zettel, Austin Johnson and Carl Nassib so it is not going to be at the level it was even a year ago when Jahad Thomas ran for 135 yards against them. If Ryquell Armstead or Jager Gardner are good enough to wrest the starting tailback job from Thomas and Thomas goes to the slot, there will not be enough PSU defenders to cover the weapons the Owls will have at their disposal.

Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead (from Fordham) will bring a faced-paced tempo this season, but the Owls are used to seeing that in the AAC. Other stars among possible Temple opponents this season.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Florida State v Houston

Isaiah Johnson

Houston’s Isaiah Johnson

Johnson, a sophomore, caught all three touchdowns from quarterback Greg Ward in the Cougars’ spring game and it appears the two have developed a special chemistry. Those were just three of the 15 balls Johnson caught in the spring game, totaling 292 yards. His touchdowns covered 48, 51 and 90 yards. Fortunately, Houston will not be an opponent of the Owls until the championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. At least that has to be the plan.


Navy’s Tago Smith

If Houston isn’t an Owl foe in the title game, Navy could be. Certainly the most unusual first name in the league, it will fall to Smith to replace the NCAA’s all-time rushing touchdown leader, Keenan Reynolds, who many thought should have own the 2015 Heisman. Fortunately for Midshipmen fans, Smith looked good all spring and runs a 4.4-40-yard dash—a full tenth of a second faster than Reynolds.

Connecticut at Temple

Javon Hadley

UConn’s Javon Hadley

Hadley is one of three starters returning from an already strong Huskies’ secondary. The Huskies were 12th in the nation in interceptions last year and Hadley, a corner, picked off one in the spring game.  He also led all Huskies’ defenders with nine tackles.

South Florida’s Quinton Flowers

Playing at the school’s soccer complex, quarterback Flowers led the White team to a 32-19 win over tailback Marlon Mack’s Green team. Flowers, an equal threat to run or pass, had his team out to a 17-0 lead on three flawless drives.

Monday: 5 Temple Players Who Will Be Drafted

2 thoughts on “Penn State’s Spring Game Raises Questions

  1. Nice crowd indeed at Happy Valley. What else can you do in State College, Tyrone, Phillipsburg, or Bellafonte on a sunny Spring Saturday once the cows have been milked and the hogs have been slopped.

  2. PSU will be tougher next season because of the new OC. The guy that was fired, like Satterfield, was a boob who wanted to run his system even though he had a team well-suited to pro set power football. Watch Gruden QB camp on ESPN with Hackenberg and Hackenberg and Gruden essentially say Franklin and his staff were idiots who were teaching the wrong things, if anything at all. Gruden gushes over O’Brien and how he coached Hackenberg his first season.

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