Four months before the first game, hopes were high as the team began preparations for the '08 season
TWO DAYS BEFORE THE ANNUAL BLUE-WHITE GAME, the campus is already buzzing with anticipation for the biggest football day of the year (before Aug. 30, that is). It doesn't hurt that after a week of subfreezing mornings the temperature is a delightful 70�, the sun is out—along with the flip-flops—and the line at the Berkey Creamery nearly stretches out the door. The alums have booked hotel rooms, their kids are excited about the carnival, the students are ready to tailgate, and everyone is eager for a preview of the 2008 Nittany Lions. Sure, Internet message boards and lazy summer afternoon discussions will be full of speculation about whether this year's team is Rose Bowl-ready, but for now the more than 73,000 people who will attend the final scrimmage of the spring are content to celebrate the Penn State football tradition and have some fun in State College. What the incoming throng of fans hasn't seen is the preparation that went on behind the scenes during practices at Beaver Stadium and at the Lasch Football Building. The coaches have drawn up plays; the players have pumped iron, and now they're getting ready to trade in their practice duds (light blue and dark blue for the first-team offense and defense, red and green for the second teams) for a blue or white game jersey. Perhaps most important, the Nittany Lions' beloved equipment manager, Brad (Spider) Caldwell, and his staff have carefully placed a blue stripe on each pristine helmet, measured the heads to go in them and doled out liberal amounts of eye black so the glorious April sun won't be too much of a distraction. Welcome to Happy Valley.