The RV’s are all dusted off and ready to roll, bags are packed full of Blue and White gear, the playlist is set, even Mother Nature has decided to cooperate! I can smell the grills hard at work already! Make no mistake about it folks, the schedule may say September 1st and a date with Appalachian State, but for all intents and purposes, tomorrow’s Blue and White extravaganza represents the season opener for both the football squad and the best dang tailgating crew in all the land! Forget the lull between now and the fall, April 21st is our dress rehearsal and Nittany Nation promises to put on a show!
Spring football comes to an end with Saturday’s 3 pm kickoff that matches the offense against the D and my biggest takeaway after 14 practices is that this is a squad unsatisfied with last year’s accomplishments. Back-to-back 11-win campaigns just aren’t enough to quench the thirst of a team that has playoff aspirations. More than once over the past few weeks we’ve heard the term ‘unfinished business’ by both players and coaches alike and that should tell you all you need to know about their mindset as our Nittany Lions head into summer. I suppose falling four points shy of undefeated will do that to you, as the ‘what could have been’ continues to linger long after the book closed on the 2017 season.
Of course, much has changed since that Fiesta Bowl trophy was raised in Arizona back on December 30th. SuperQuon and a handful of Mighty Lions that brought us back into the Top 10 have moved on and await the next chapter. There is no turning back for a group that meant so much to us all, but as time has slowly drifted away, the picture has become clear that Big Mike G, Captain Cabinda, Marcus ‘The Hitman’ Allen and Co. left not only a legacy but also a mission accomplished.
New faces have dominated the turf inside Holuba Hall this spring, but there is also leadership aplenty led by none other than the gunslinger himself, Trace McSorley, as the fifth-year senior returns to give it one last shot. He may not have Saquon anymore, but Miles Sanders is ready to fill those shoes without skipping a beat. All-time receptions leader DaeSean Hamilton awaits his turn on Draft Day, but Juwan Johnson presents a matchup nightmare for any DB and I dare you to try to stick with DeAndre Thompkins as he blazes downfield. The one unit that returns intact from a year ago, minus guard Brendan Mahon, has all the sudden gone from liability to strength as the O-Line is finally back to a three deep after feeling the brunt of the sanctions. Those are just a few examples of proof that this squad is leaning towards a reload rather than a rebuild.
As Spring Ball began back in March, the picture was a little murky as to what exactly we would see. Life without King ‘Quon and crew was a scary proposition indeed, but with each passing week, that picture became a little bit clearer. For all the guys we lost, there are just as many waiting in the wings and this has been a spring geared towards getting all those young Lions up to speed. You won’t see much of Trace on Saturday, or Sanders, Johnson, and Thompkins, but you will begin to see the pieces of the puzzle fall into place as this journey we are on keeps winding its way up the mountain. So, put an extra shine on those RV’s my friends, and pack your crispest Blue and Whites. Come one, come all and pack ‘the House That Joe Built’ on Saturday, because FrankLion is building a mighty pack of hungry lions!