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OFF DEF GAME

The annual (except in pandemic years) scrimmage formerly known as the Blue White Game was played, in some form or other, before a sun-drenched crowd of about 62,000. There were probably that many or more still enjoying the beautiful weather in the parking lots outside the stadium.

Wait what? It still is the Blue White Game, isn’t it?

Au contraire mi amigo. Check out the scoreboard. Scoreboards don’t lie.

It was the Offense versus the Defense in what could only be called one of the most confusing Blue-White, er, Off-Def games I have ever attended. I am clearly blaming Bill O’Brien for starting this shit. And Putin too. Just for the hell of it. It made as much sense as Sleepy Joe’s speeches.

So I settle into a seat somewhere around the forty yard line on the East side. My normal season seats are in the lower bowl in the north end zone, but today I was movin’ on up to the East side, to a deluxe bleacher in the sky-y-y. It was a pretty good crowd for a Saturday (in April) and the manager gave me a smile.

But what to my wondering eyes did appear, but anything resembling a football game.

The first play was a two point conversion. How did I miss the touchdown? I’m not even drunk! I guess after losing to Illinois after NINE overtimes, our coaching brain trust figured it was something we needed to work on. And we scored!

No. Not so fast, Mr. Corso. It is still 0-0. It doesn’t count. It’s just practice. We’re not watching a football game. We’re watching a “practice.” It’s a preview to the actual game. An opening act if you will.

After practicing our two point conversions, we switched to practicing field goals. Not long ones, mind you. Ones that most high school all-American kickers could make. Pinegar was kicking. Is this his sixth year too? Hasn’t he been here a while? I’m really so confused with the whole thing at this point.

And then, surprisingly–amazingly– a football game broke out in the middle of this special teams practice session. No kickoff. We just decide to drop the ball somewhere and start calling real football plays.

Now, let’s pause for a moment–because I know the excitement is way too much for you at this point–but let’s talk about this whole Blue White thing. It has never been a REAL game. You can’t hit the quarterback. They usually don’t return kicks. For crying out loud, everybody knows what plays you are running–you all have the same play book! But it was the closest thing to reproducing a game atmosphere that allowed fans and coaches to see what some of these kids, who might not ever take a snap at Penn State in a real game, could do. It wasn’t a real game, but it was what it was. Who would have thought that Penn State could make it worse?

Hi! I’m Penn State. Challenge accepted. Hold my beer!

This was more of a circus atmosphere. If we kicked field goals at one end zone, practiced field goals at the other end, and then scrimmaged at mid field at the same time, it could have been a three ring circus. We could have put up some tents. The Nittany Lion could have put on a wig and red nose and been a clown.

Thank God the Lionettes performance was left alone by whoever decided to change everything else.

And the scoring–when they decided to keep score, seemed hauntingly familiar. I looked back to April 2012. Yup. Mr. O’Brien and his cockamamie scheme of throwing points out there like a bingo caller at the Catholic Church on Friday night.

Even the announcers were making fun of it on the radio. Steve Jones quipped that he could explain it, but the show only ran till 4:00.

And why doesn’t the defense have to kick an extra point after scoring a touchdown?!?!? So many questions. So little bandwidth. And interest.

We did practice kickoffs–again during a non-scoring period. Just random. Let’s kick off the ball. Not to establish any field position. We’ll just set it down somewhere to do that. But we know the fans are anxious to see a guy just . . . . kick . . . a . . . . ball. Yawwwwwwwwn.

And punts too! I’m tingling with excitement. No wait. It might be a stroke. Or sunburn. My butt is asleep.

Come on! That formation is just screaming FAKE PUNT. The defense doesn’t even have anyone on the line. Get past the ref and you’ve got a first down! Maybe go all the way. To the house! What are you thinking kicking that ball?!?!?

Did this little punting exercise actually contribute one iota toward preparing us for the next season? I. THINK. NOT. Was it entertaining? NO. It was not.

And then they started playing 7 on 7. WTF? Was there a delayed penalty? Hooking? Tripping? Did we ice the football? Where’s the penalty box?

At the end of the afternoon, the defense scored 17 points, while our offense only managed 13. And in case you are wondering, Bill O’Brien’s blue-white game ended with the defense winning 77-65. But that was a full game, uninterrupted by dog and pony shows.

Our star QB recruit Drew Allar threw two interceptions while completing 6 of 14. But if you have read this entry to this point, you fully understand it means absolutely nothing. Less than nothing. You have wasted precious time of your life. Sucks to be you.

Seriously? Who wants to watch a punter punt the ball with no pressure and no return? His mother?

I left early to go home and cut my lawn.

Freaking waste of time.

Come on, Todd. Say something nice. The weather was awesome. Especially for mowing lawn.

But at least I got to see this wonderful lady . . .

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