Penn State Football: 6 Nittany Lions to Watch in the Blue-White Game

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2012

Penn State Football: 6 Nittany Lions to Watch in the Blue-White Game

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    Penn State's Blue-White game is an exciting tradition for Nittany Lion fans and players.

    Next Saturday, Penn State's new batch of talent and new coaching staff will take the field to show what they have worked on throughout spring drills. 

    Several players are expected contributors with huge roles for next season. Other players have yet to emerge, but will play bigger than expected roles in 2012. 

    Penn State fans should keep an eye on these six players in Saturday's Blue-White game.

Miles Dieffenbach

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    Miles Dieffenbach entered Penn State as a heralded center prospect. Now, Dieffenbach is slated to start the year as Penn State's starting left guard. 

    Dieffenbach will be expected to hold off interior pressure, and give Silas Redd running room.

    The Nittany Lions need leadership and experience on their offensive line. Experience does not happen overnight, but Dieffenbach's prior experience at center could help the line gel.

    Penn State's offensive line as a whole will be watched throughout the Blue-White game. Dieffenbach's prior hype and his new position will make him a target of many fans.

Deion Barnes

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    Redshirt freshman Deion Barnes could earn himself playing time with a solid Blue-White showing. 

    The Nittany Lions are replacing Devon Still, Jack Crawford and Eric Latimore on their defensive front. Several of their snaps are locked down by other players, but an athlete like Barnes could earn himself situational snaps. 

    Barnes is not experienced. He has a lot to learn, but there is always value in raw athleticism. He could provide a third-down pass rush, or a quality breather for a Nittany Lion starter.

    Penn State is known as "Linebacker U," but their history on their defensive line is not far behind. Barnes could be another good one.

Zach Zwinak

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    Zach Zwinak is a bruiser in Penn State's backfield. He will challenge Mike Zordich for Penn State's starting fullback spot. 

    Zwinak is a serious threat in short-yardage situations because of his considerable agility for a big man. He can carve out space with his large frame and force his way into the end zone from a few yards out. 

    Penn State needs to work on capitalizing in the red zone. Zwinak could become a big part of that and will definitely get his share of looks in the Blue-White game.

    The Nittany Lions have a great history at fullback. Zwinak is not there yet, but he will catch attention next Saturday.

Adam Gress

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    Penn State's starting right tackle will be Adam Gress in the Blue-White game. Gress is one of four new starters on the Nittany Lion offensive line. 

    Gress will be challenged by Nate Cadogan, but Gress is expected to win the job. 

    The right tackle will be expected to clear the way for Penn State's dangerous rushing attack and hold the pocket for whoever is behind center. 

    The main focus of rebuilding an offensive line is building chemistry among its new players.

    Gress has been with the Penn State program and understands the schemes and mentality. He will play a vital role in protection, and will have many observers in the Blue-White game to see how he responds.

Jordan Hill

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    Jordan Hill must replace Penn State's best defensive player from a year ago. Devon Still has graduated, and Hill must fill the massive hole left on Penn State's interior line. 

    Hill had a solid season last year despite playing in Still's shadow. He has great burst off the line and uses his strength to shed blockers.

    Hill will wreak havoc in opposing backfields by dragging down quarterbacks and opposing ball-carriers. 

    The Nittany Lions need Hill to replace Still's menacing presence. Hill certainly has the potential, and everyone will be watching to see how he handles the pressure in the Blue-White game.

Alex Kenney

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    Alex Kenney will start the Blue-White game as Penn State's slot receiver. Kenney's playmaking ability will turn heads next Saturday afternoon.

    The Nittany Lions have a ton of speed at wide receiver. Kenney is one of the fastest players on the entire Penn State roster. 

    Kenney has the ability to turn a five-yard pass into an 85-yard home run. He has exceptional quickness, elusiveness and open-field vision.

    Penn State's No. 2 receiver Devon Smith is going to miss the rest of spring practice with a sprained foot. That leaves plenty of room for players like Kenney to show their value to Penn State's receiving corps.