August 2012 Archives

Ohio Gameday Preview - Nittany Lions Set to Open New Era

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Gameday Central - Ohio Game

Ohio Week Q&A with Defensive Coordinator Ted Roof

VIDEO: Wednesday Practice Interviews

 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A new era of Penn State Football will kickoff when the Nittany Lions open their 126th season on the gridiron against Ohio on Saturday at noon (ESPN).

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Head coach Bill O'Brien and the Nittany Lions have met every challenge face-to-face with hard work and a determined attitude since he was hired on Jan. 6.  Since that day, the team has circled Sept. 1 for months, eagerly anticipating a return to the finely manicured sod and a boisterous crowd inside Beaver Stadium. 

After countless hours in the weight room, meeting rooms and on the practice field, the wait is over.  The 2012 team is filled with dedicated players who have stuck with the program during its toughest times.  Saturday, each player will have the opportunity to run out of the tunnel for the university and football program they love.  Welcome to the first gameday of a new era.


Pregame Reading:
What to Watch For - Penn State
1.  Senior quarterback Matt McGloin said he has been thinking about what the feeling will be like running out of the tunnel on Saturday morning for a long time.  He is not alone. Every player on the roster is going to be excited beyond words to take the field following a very difficult offseason.  The scene inside Beaver Stadium will be a memorable one for every coach, student-athlete and supporter of the program, but the team still has a job to do.  Managing emotions will be a big challenge for the Nittany Lions as they take the field.  Without question, the team has every right to be amped up for Saturday's opener after the offseason it has endured.  Once the ball kicks, though, it will just be a game.  Be in your seats early for what should be an energy-filled pregame.

2.  Coach O'Brien will call all of the plays on Saturday, as he has done on the practice field, but McGloin is the field general.  The senior quarterback is responsible for getting the offense into its correct formation, making checks at the line of scrimmage and executing the plays.  The Scranton native has a lot on his shoulders, but he is well prepared to lead the Nittany Lion offense.  He has done a superb job with command at the line of scrimmage throughout preseason practice.  McGloin has a long list of weapons to work with on offense, as well, including Bill Belton in the backfield, rising sophomore receiver Allen Robinson and a corps of talented receivers and a stout group of tight ends.  Avoiding turnovers is the top priority for the Nittany Lions on Saturday.

3.  Defensive coordinator Ted Roof has stressed the importance of keeping elusive Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton in the pocket on Saturday afternoon.  That task starts with the play of the Jordan Hill and the Nittany Lion defensive line.  Additionally, the linebacker trio of Michael Mauti, Glenn Carson and Gerald Hodges will need to tackle well in the open field.  Coach Roof also said the secondary will need to make plays on deep balls.  Ohio's up-tempo pistol-style offense likes to keep the chains moving.  Penn State's defensive unit needs a solid tackling day and a disciplined effort from its front four to slow down the Bobcat offense.

What to Watch For - Ohio
1.  Tettleton is a challenging player to defend.  Son of former Detroit Tigers great Mickey Tettleton, the Ohio signal-caller was a 3,000-yard passer in 2011.  He is a dangerous player with his feet and arm.  Look for Tettleton to use his legs to create opportunities (both running and passing) when he is outside the pocket.  There is no question that for Ohio's offense to have a big day, the Bobcats need an efficient performance from Tettleton.

2.  Ohio's offense is a veteran group that has played a lot of football together.  In all, nine of the 11 probable starters are fourth or fifth year players.  The final two starters are third year players.  The Bobcats played in the MAC title game in 2011, and they have bigger aspirations for 2012.  Head coach Frank Solich will have his veteran team ready to play on Saturday.

3.  On defense, Ohio's defensive end duo of Tremayne Scott and Corey Hasting are key players to watch.  Both Scott and Hasting are fifth-year players with talented skill sets along the front four.  Ohio's defense will be looking for a big day from its two ends to disrupt the timing of the Penn State offense. 


Gameday Rundown
Kickoff: 12:06 p.m.
TV: ESPN - Dave Pasch (PBP), Brian Griese (Analyst), Tom Rinaldi (Sidelines), Mark Schwarz (Sidelines)
Radio: Penn State Sports Network - Steve Jones (PBP), Jack Ham (Analyst), Loren Crispell (Sidelines)
Stadium: Beaver Stadium (106,572) - Natural Grass
Coaches: Bill O'Brien - 0-0, 1st season
Frank Solich - 50-40 at Ohio (108-59 overall), 14th season
The Series: Sixth Meeting


The Final Word:
The countdown clock is at zero and the Nittany Lions are set to take the field for the first time under Coach O'Brien.  The players and coaching staff have been energized and motivated for this game for weeks.  Penn State will be spirited when it takes the field shortly after noon on Saturday, but the Nittany Lions need to remain grounded and stay focused on the task at hand.  Execution of the gameplan on both sides of the ball and special teams, an area the Lions have spent a lot of time on, is essential against a very good Ohio team that is picked to win the MAC in 2012.  Look for a big day from Penn State's senior class, which is a group that played an instrumental role in keeping the team together as one during the offseason.


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Lions Welcome Big Swings in Home Opener

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By Kelsey Detweiler, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While his team assembled inside for the start of another practice, Russ Rose sat on a small black bench outside of Rec Hall on Wednesday afternoon. Soaking up the sun just two days before his teams' home-opening weekend, the Penn State women's volleyball head coach admitted feeling a bit of anticipation for the upcoming competition.

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"If the girls are excited to play and play good volleyball than yeah, I'm excited," Rose said.

The No. 4 Nittany Lions are back in action for their first matches in Rec Hall this season. The campus facility will play host to the Nike Big Four Classic, welcoming Florida, Stanford and Texas for an exciting weekend of volleyball.

Penn State is slated to face the No. 9 Cardinal from Stanford at 8 p.m. on Friday night before it squares off with the No. 2 Texas Longhorns at 7 p.m. the next evening.

The Lions already have three victories already under their belt after sweeping Morehead State, Western Kentucky and Louisville last weekend. Heading into their home-opening lineup, Penn State is ready to face even tougher competition and get the ball rolling.

Right-side hitter and junior Ariel Scott said that she and her teammates have spent more time than usual watching film of their upcoming opponents because they know what they're up against.

"Both teams are really good," said Scott. "We're all in the top 10 just about so it's going to be a competitive weekend but we're all excited to play at home and get the season started off on a good note."

Scott is one of 13 returning players on the team as the Lions said goodbye to just two athletes from last year's squad and added only four new faces to the group. The junior attack weapon said that the strong familiarity that she and her teammates share has been a positive point in preparing for the season ahead.

"It's a lot of returning players so it's not as difficult to fit in new people so it's easier for all of us to get together on the court and help out the one or two players that need our help and just go from there," said Scott. "I think everyone has improved a lot in the offseason."

The Nittany Lion faithful can expect to see the familiar faces of senior Kristin Carpenter, juniors Deja McClendon and Katie Slay and sophomores Dominique Gonzalez, Lacey Fuller, Micha Hancock and Nia Grant back in action.

Gonzalez, who Scott said has developed as a strong defensive specialist and leader out of the back row, said that she is most anxious for the high energy atmosphere and buzz that she hopes will fill the rafters in Rec Hall.

"I'm happy to be back in this gym and getting the season going and I'll be happy when the seats are filled and we can start playing our game again," said Gonzalez. "It's always nice to be back on your home floor for the start of another year."


With Offense Surging, Team Looks to Defense in Tough Weekend Tests

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By Mike Esse, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nittany Lion men's soccer head coach Bob Warming and his team feel confident going into a weekend featuring two tough tests.

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The Nittany Lions host Duquesne Friday night at 8 p.m. at Jeffery Field and then travel to Washington D.C., on Sunday to face off against a tough Georgetown team in their first road match of the season.

The Lion offense has come out of the gate red hot, scoring six goals in its' first two games, four of which have been off the foot of senior midfielder Julian Cardona. Warming said that the confidence of his offensive unit will be key for them this weekend.

"Attacking and scoring goals develops confidence and confidence develops an opportunity to score more goals," said Warming. "Last year we weren't scoring goals so we lost confidence and now the guys are really confident and it is going to give us a great opportunity to keep this thing going."

Cardona, along with senior forward Danny Burnham have been offensive leaders for Penn State, but the ability for them to get other players involved has been another key in their improved goal scoring.

"Mikey Minutillo has been absolutely outstanding and I think the whole team has been absolutely outstanding in helping us create chances," said Warming. "Julian will be the first one to tell you it's not him that's creating all the chances it's the team ball rotation, ball movement and player movement that is creating chances."

Minutillo also noted the team's ability to be unselfish and credits his senior leader for their early successes.

"He (Cardona) is a great teammate and I wouldn't have it any other way up there," said Minutillo. "I love playing with him and he is definitely one of the best forwards in the country."

Defensively, however, Warming stressed the need for his back four defensive players to step up this weekend as they face two very athletic opponents. The Penn State offense has carried the defense, but improvement must be made in the eyes of their coach if they want to continue to have success.

Senior goalkeeper Emmanuel Martin will be a key player in the success of the defense if he can find a way to manage the back four, Warming said.

"It is game management. Managing those back four guys in front of him is his primary responsibility," said Warming. "The best goal keepers in the country don't have to make a lot of saves because they manage the game, so the less saves he has to make the better he is managing the players in front of him."

With a versatile Duquesne team coming to town Friday, Martin and the defense will have to find a way to counter the air attack of the Dukes on set pieces and long throws. If they foul Duquesne in dangerous situations, Warming said his team would put themselves in a bad position.

A similar situation looms with Georgetown on Sunday especially after they pulled out a surprise victory against pre-season favorite Virginia earlier this week.

"I love a lot of their players," said Warming. "They are loaded, they are deep and it is going to be a great challenge."

Minutillo agreed that both Georgetown and Duquesne had great talent, but he stressed the importance of staying focused on the task at hand.

"We have to win," said Minutillo. "We definitely need to come out of the Duquesne game with a win and then if we win against Georgetown I think we will ranked in the top 25."

Ohio Week Q&A with Defensive Coordinator Ted Roof

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions are putting the final touches on their preparations for Saturday's season-opener against Ohio.

GoPSUsports.com caught up with defensive coordinator in his office to talk about the defense's preparations for the Ohio offense, which is led by talented quarterback Tyler Tettleton.

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GoPSUsports.com: How has the defense progressed since the start of preseason practice?
Roof:
"I know that we have made strides.  I like where we are right now.  I like our mindset, and I like our mentality.  We are just ready to play a game together.  We have four returning starters, so it is going to be a totally new group.  It is going to be a totally new group in the secondary.  Building the chemistry only comes from playing a game.  We need to play a game and that will certainly give us a better indication of where we are.  By late Saturday afternoon, we are going to know exactly where we are."

GoPSUsports.com: What do you like about your front four and the way that they play?
Roof:
"Well, I think that group is very consistent.  Jordan Hill is a fantastic player.  He is very productive.  He has a great motor.  When one of the leaders of your team is a big guy who plays as hard as he does, that is a great example and a great bar for the rest of your defense."

GoPSUsports.com: How would you describe Ohio's style of play?
Roof:
"They are very, very efficient.  Nine of their 11 starters on offense are either fourth or fifth year players.  The other two starters are third year players.  It is a very, very experience group that is battle tested, and they have been successful.  They are very multiple.  They do a lot of different things.  Their quarterback gets them out of a lot of different jams.  He makes guys miss; he gets to the perimeter and then gets rid of the ball.  Anytime you have a quarterback who is mobile and a running threat that certainly changes your perspective from a defensive standpoint."

GoPSUsports.com: You touched on Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton...specifically, what does he do well that challenges a defense?
Roof:
"He is very elusive.  A guy will come free on a blitz, and he will make the guy miss.  And then everyone else is locked up playing man coverage with their backs to the ball, and then he will scramble.  Some guys scramble to run and some guys scramble to throw.  He does both.  Because he is such a mobile guy he is able to keep a lot of drives alive with his feet.  Not only is he good at keeping drives alive, he is very good at making big plays.  He can make people miss in the open field.  They got sacked under twice a game last season.  He doesn't make a lot of mistakes.  It is a multi-faceted offense that we have a ton of respect for."

GoPSUsports.com: In your eyes, what are the keys to the game for your defense?
Roof:
"Going into any game, you have to talk about stopping the run.  With the different tempo against Ohio, we have to get lined up.  We can't be wandering around when the ball is snapped.  When they want to go fast, we have to get lined up and ready to play.  We are going to have to run fit well.  Our linebackers are going to need to run fit well and tackle.  Our secondary is going to have to make plays on the deep ball.  And our defensive line is going to have to keep the QB in the pocket.  We have to limit Tettleton's area of operation because we know that when he gets outside the pocket he has made big plays against everybody.  The other thing we are going to have to do is manage our emotions.  This is going to be a very emotional situation for our players.  We are going to have to manage that and deal with the ebbs and flows of the football game."


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Talented Freshman Class Sparks Nittany Lions

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By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The key to prolonged success for any collegiate athletic program is to consistently recruit at a high level.  With the arrival of the 2012 soccer season, the 14-time defending Big Ten Champion Penn State women's soccer team welcomed a freshman class that has proven they can play with the nation's elite.

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As a freshman, playing for a perennial powerhouse in any sport can be a daunting task.  Starters are typically older, fitter and have more experience at the college level.  When head coach Erica Walsh watches her rookies perform, she looks for those who will be able to compete with some of the top players in the country.

"Ultimately, that typically determines your confidence when you walk into a program at this level is can you run with the Big Dogs on day one," said Walsh.  "Are you strong enough, are you fit enough to compete with a 22-year-old and a couple of these freshman are."

Coach Walsh and her staff have been able to recruit capable freshmen year after year and once again, they were not disappointed. Through the first four games of the season, eight of Penn State's nine freshmen have seen action on game day and freshman forward Mallory Weber and freshman midfielder Raquel Rodriguez have both solidified starting positions.

Weber, a Michigan native, emerged as a rookie sensation on day one when she scored her first two collegiate goals in a 3-1 win over eighth-ranked Virginia, displaying a combination of blazing speed and quick decision-making skills.  She has since added two more goals to her resume, one coming against defending national champion and top-ranked Stanford.  Her secret: an unparalleled work ethic.

"I have not seen a work ethic the likes of Mal Weber in my time here," said coach Walsh.  "The kid's got ice under her veins.  Her ability to finish against UVa under tough conditions, nothing phases her."

For Weber, stepping onto Jeffrey Field against St. John's for the first time was a memory she will never forget.  She attributes some of her success to the crowd and the support of her teammates, who fueled her desire to play college soccer at Penn State.

"It was crazy," said Weber.  "Just looking around and seeing all those people was kind of reminding me why I came here: all this support.  I just look around and all my teammates were supportive, even though I'm a freshman... It gave me so much confidence."

Alongside Weber in the starting lineup is redshirt freshman Raquel Rodriguez, who joined the Nittany Lions with a unique story of her own.  Born in San Jose, Costa Rica, Rodriguez played for Costa Rica's National Team, where she lead the U-17 team to the FIFA World Cup in 2008 and the U-20 team to the World Cup in 2010.

Rodriguez's time abroad taught her a different style of soccer.  The experience has allowed her to both learn from the coaches at Penn State as well as provide her own distinct perspective.

"This is a win-win for us and Raquel," said coach Walsh.  "She's teaching us a lot, we're teaching her a lot.  Different style of play, different focus."

Having a mentor as experienced and knowledgeable as coach Walsh has been a privilege bestowed upon each freshman class since her arrival in Happy Valley.  They are learning from someone who has helped coach the US women's national team in the World Cup and in the Olympics.  Walsh carries the perfect balance of a coach who cares about her players, but isn't afraid to push them to succeed.

"It's really an honor to have Erica Walsh as a coach," said Rodriguez.  "She works in a very integral way because she teaches us very good soccer and also she's worried about you, not only about soccer, but also as a person and that's very hard to find in some coaches."

"It's unreal," adds Weber.  "She has so much knowledge for the game and every single day is just teaching me something different."

To go along with an impressive coaching staff, the freshmen are backed by their teammates, who are there to guide them through their first year of college.  With a 3-1 record and a top ten ranking to start the season, it's safe to say they have enjoyed it thus far.

"It's been great," said Weber.  "Just entering the whole college experience knowing you have that whole team behind you before school even starts, knowing they could help you with anything, answer any questions... It's just fun to be apart of."

The Nittany Lions (3-1-0) travel to West Virginia on Friday for the WVU 90 Minute Classic, where they will face the Mountaineers (2-2-0) Friday night at 7:00 p.m. followed by a home game against in-state rival Pittsburgh (4-1-0) at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.

VIDEO: Women's Volleyball Preview - Stanford and Texas

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The fourth-ranked Nittany Lion women's volleyball team opens its home schedule with two blockbuster matches inside Rec Hall.  On Friday, Penn State meets No. 9 Stanford (8 p.m.).  On Saturday, the Lions will take on No. 2 Texas.

Following a 3-0 start to the season in Louisville, Ky., last weekend, the Lions are prepping for two early-season challenges.  GoPSUsports.com caught up with assistant coach Steve Aird for some insight leading up to this weekend's matches against Stanford and Texas.


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Maguire's Donation Brings Passion and Energy to Team

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A playing career is often reflected upon and summarized by a list of statistics and figures. While a stat sheet can convey the success and accolades of an athlete, it cannot describe the passion and impact that the player brought to a program.

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For field hockey head coach Charlene Morett, the impact that former Nittany Lion standout Tara Maguire has had on the program cannot be defined by just a list of goals, assists, and awards.

"It is honestly hard to even talk about because I'm just so grateful to Tara and the Maguire family," said Morett in regards to the 20' x 10' state-of-the-art video scoreboard that Maguire donated to the program. "You can see how it has totally enhanced our facility."

The Nittany Lions honored Maguire and officially unveiled the scoreboard during halftime of the team's upset victory over eighth-ranked Virginia last Sunday.

The new video board was installed at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex during the offseason, and was named "The Tara Maguire Scoreboard" to honor the former Nittany Lion for her generous donation.

Maguire was a four-year starter for the Nittany Lions from 1992 to 1996. Throughout her career, she earned honors such as a 1996 first-team All-American, a six-year member of the Olympic field hockey team, and the 1996 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.

Maguire, referred to as "Dewey" by the team, also served as an assistant coach for the Nittany Lions beginning in 2005, but has since gone on to research Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania.

"As far as the gift...you never leave Penn State," said Maguire. "Char played such an important role in my life other than field hockey. Penn State is a huge part of my life and I just wanted to give back."

While the crystal-clear video board is what players and fans will see as her gift to the team, Morett insists that Maguire brings another very important gift to this year's squad...passion.

"Just to have a player, that played so hard with such great passion and energy, be so generous to give us something so beautiful for our facility...for our fans and our players to meet her, and match her face with that energy and this scoreboard and what it represents is very special," said Morett.

Maguire's presence at Sunday's game against UVA certainly sparked a unique level of intensity and passion in the team.

Following the victory, the team gathered under the new scoreboard and sang the Penn State fight song--a very emotional moment for Morett and Maguire.

"They are a really strong team and a really together team," said Maguire. "They looked outstanding against UVA."

The opening weekend of the season was one to be remembered for the Nittany Lions. Not only did the team start off a fresh season with an updated facility, they took down two top-10 opponents in an impressive fashion.

The Tara Maguire Scoreboard is not the only update that the team has planned for the facility. Coach Morett and the team hope to hang banners and pictures around the facility to provide a more home-like environment for players and fans.

"Hopefully we will make it warm and comforting for our fans and challenging for the other team," said Morett.

The 2-0 field hockey team will take the field again on Friday evening as they take on the Connecticut Huskies in Storrs. The Nittany Lions will return home on Sunday, Sept. 2, when they face Lafayette at 2 p.m.

VIDEO: Ohio Week Practice Interviews

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions practiced in shoulder pads and shorts on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for Saturday's season-opener against Ohio (Noon on ESPN).

GoPSUsports.com caught up with senior linebacker Michael Mauti and senior offensive tackle Mike Farrell following practice for a mid-week update as the team inches closer to Saturday.


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

Ohio Week Twitterview: Garry Gilliam

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com kicks off a new feature for the 2012 football season with the first ever "Twitterview".  Each week throughout the season, we will collect questions from fans on Twitter who use the #PSUTwitterview.  We will select some questions and ask a player on camera.

We kick the feature off with tight end Garry Gilliam.  The junior tight end took some time to answer a few questions from Twitter leading up into the season opener.  Take a look here.



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VIDEO: One-on-One with Jordan Hill and Malcolm Wilis

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com catches up with defensive tackle Jordan Hill and safety Malcolm Willis leading up to the season-opener against Ohio.


Jordan Hill


Malcolm Willis



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Week 1 Presser Roundup - Coach O'Brien Previews Ohio

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VIDEO: One-on-One with Jordan Hill and Malcolm Willis

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien is four days away from his official debut on the sidelines at Beaver Stadium.

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Anticipation is undoubtedly high for the first-year head coach and the Nittany Lion players.  O'Brien addressed the media in the Beaver Stadium media room on Tuesday afternoon for his first game week press conference.  Take a look through some of the key remarks from the Ohio week press conference.

Staying Grounded on Saturday
With the excitement level and anticipation so high, Coach O'Brien said that he would continually talk to the team about staying focused on the task at hand for Saturday's game.

"Well, I think our team is very, very excited," O'Brien said.  "We've had a productive training camp.  We've gone against each other quite a bit, and I think they're ready to play a different opponent.  I definitely will address throughout the week the emotions at the beginning of the game because for everybody involved, it'll be just like most college football teams in the country, a very emotional time, especially when you run out there for the first time and it's your first game."

It will be an energized pregame on Saturday, but when the ball is kicked off the Nittany Lions have a job to do, and Coach O'Brien said the team will be ready to play.

Pregame Routine
O'Brien was asked about the team's game week routine on Tuesday afternoon.  The Nittany Lions will practice each day between now and Saturday's game, with Friday's session being treated as a situational walk through.  The team will attend Football Eve on Friday evening before going to the hotel at Toftrees.  Coach O'Brien said that the team would conduct meetings and have a snack before going to bed.  After waking early on Saturday, the team will eat breakfast, conduct more meetings and drive the familiar Blue Bus route to the stadium for arrival around 9:30 a.m.  The team will dress in the Beaver Stadium locker room and prepare for the game.

"Right up until game time, there will be no shortage of going over the game plan, because football is about repetition, so the more you go over it with these guys, over and over and over again, then when they get out on the field, hopefully it makes the game a little bit easier because they've got it down in their head what their assignment is," O'Brien said.  "So we'll continue to meet right up until we get on the bus, really, and come over here for the game."

Talented Ohio Squad on Both Sides of the Ball
The preseason MAC championship selection Ohio Bobcats enter the 2012 season with aspirations of taking one step further than they did one season ago.  Ohio fell just short of winning the MAC title game in 2011, but return a great deal of talent this season.  Led by junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton, Ohio has a dynamic offense that set school records in points (427) and yards per game (449.3) last season.

"Offensively it starts with their quarterback," O'Brien said.  "This guy is an excellent athlete, Tyler Tettleton.  He can run, he can throw, he's definitely a dual‑threat guy, and he just poses a lot of problems.  He's definitely somebody that we have to do the best we can to contain."

Defensively, Ohio returns a pair of stout defensive ends - Tremayne Scott and Corey Hastings.


"They've got a lot of returning players back there on the defense," O'Brien said.  "They do a lot of different things.  They don't just line up and give you the same look two plays in a row.  So we're going to have to be on top of our game and try to string some plays together and do the best we can on Saturday."

Multiple Personnel Offense
The biggest question the Penn State fans and media want to know is what the offense will look like in 2012.  Coach O'Brien describes his offensive philosophy as a multiple personnel offense.  What does that mean, and how has the team adapted to the offense?

"I think these guys have really grasped what we're trying to do, and again, I don't think it's a real intricate game plan," O"Brien said.  "It's just a game plan where we want these guys to go out and be able to play fast, play at a good tempo and try to find some balance.  But again, we've got to do game plan wise as the game progresses, we've got to do what's necessary to win the football game.  So if we have to throw it 60 times, we're going to throw it 60 times.  If we have to run it 60 times, we're going to run it 60 times.  Whatever it takes to win the football game, and I think these guys understand that."


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European Tour Recap: Favorite Memories

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The Lady Lions had a fantastic 10-day excursion through France and Italy before heading back to the States to start classes. The journey featured stops in Paris, Nice, Monaco, Como, Bellagio, Florence, Rome and Vatican City. It was an experience of a lifetime for everyone on the trip, including the staff members.

At our first team meeting of the year, Coquese Washington asked everyone to give their highlights of the trip or what they learned about themselves or their teammates during our 10-day journey. It was interesting to hear what the Lady Lions had to say. 

Nikki Greene talked about what an impact the trip had on her as an integrated arts major and how blown away she was by all of the artistic and architectural wonders that we saw on the trip. Maggie Lucas told us how she knows that she can play overseas now after visiting those countries and how she would be able to adapt. Maren told the group that she learned a lot about how the team adapted on the fly with many elements of the trip. I think everyone came away from our European Tour with a greater appreciation of life in the United States, our culture, ourselves and each other. 


Before we hopped a plane back to the States, a few of the Lady Lions shared their favorite memories of the 10-day Euro Tour. Take a look:

Cardona, Burnham Guide Men's Soccer to Second Straight Home Win

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By Mike Esse, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After beating Stetson in its home opener on Saturday, Penn State (2-0) defeated Hartford (0-2), 3-2, Monday night at Jeffrey Field. Senior midfielder Julian Cardona, who scored two goals against Stetson, had another two-goal night to give the Nittany Lions their second win of the season.

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Goal scoring was an issue throughout the 2011 campaign for Bob Warming's team, but has been their strong point through the first two games.

"We have played two teams in the first two games that we didn't beat last year and to get six goals at home and average three goals a game you are going to beat a lot of people," said coach Warming. "It is just the fact that the team is scoring a lot of goals and are enjoying themselves and its just terrific."

Cardona started the scoring in the first half with a goal from a one-on-one opportunity with Hartford goalkeeper Ville-Valtteri Tuumi, but the Hawks responded eight minutes later with a goal of their own sending the game tied into halftime.

"We made a lot of adjustments at the half," said Warming. "First halves are highly overrated, you will never win a game in the first half."

Penn State owned the time of possession in the second half with a number of opportunities to take the lead and then finally found a golden scoring chance when Cardona drew a penalty kick in the 80th minute.

"I was confident," said Cardona.  "I practice PKs all the time and I'm confident to go any where in the goal. I was lucky the guy guessed the wrong way and it was real easy. "

Cardona's four goal start equals his season total from an injury-plagued junior season and now that he is healthy and rolling his coach is expecting big things throughout the 2012 season.

"I've seen Julian play for a really long time and last year unfortunately he was never healthy and when you are not healthy and not scoring goals mentally it gets even worse for you," said Warming. "Now that he is on fire right now and he's got a little swagger to him I think it's really going to help our team."

Only three minutes after the penalty kick goal, Owen Griffith added a decisive third goal off of a great assist from senior forward Daniel Burnham. Burnham, a former walk-on, scored the game-winning goal against Stetson and his coach believes he is getting ready for a breakout season.

"I've had a lot of players that have gone from walk-ons to stars and I'm thinking right now Danny Burnham might be the most improved player I've ever coached," said Warming. "His composure on the ball now is remarkable and his ball striking ability is terrific and he has become so much smarter of a soccer player and he knows it."

Burnham knows what he has to do on the field in order to supplement Cardona throughout this year and it surprisingly doesn't start on the offensive side of the ball.

"I have to stay focused and concentrate on what I need to do defensively and I think once I do those things the offense comes," said Burnham.

Although Hartford would respond with a goal late, the Nittany Lions offense propelled the team to start with two home wins on the season with a schedule that features nine remaining home matches.

Next on the schedule is Duquesne Friday night at 8 p.m. right after Football Eve and Warming and his team are looking for a big Penn State crowd to help them secure a very important third home victory.

"Friday night we are hoping that we will set the all time record of attendance in Jeffery field," said Warming. "I know Bill O'Brien is going to tell the people that are over at the football stadium to support the 'One Team' that is Penn State. Its not just football all of us are 'One Team'. I think we are going to have great fan attendance and put on a great show for everybody."

EXCLUSIVE: Depth Chart Released for Ohio Week

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Penn State Depth Chart - Aug. 27 Get Acrobat Reader

Week 1 Game Notes


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Bill O'Brien released a depth chart heading into the season-opener against Ohio on Monday.

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The first depth chart of the fall season features 13 senior starters (five on offense and eight on defense).  With five days remaining until Saturday's opener, there are still several positional battles up for grabs at practice this week.

On offense, there will continue to be starting spot battles at right tackle between senior Mike Farrell and redshirt junior Adam Gress and at two wide receiver spots - redshirt junior Shawney Kersey and true freshman Trevor Williams and redshirt sophomore Alex Kenney and senior Evan Lewis.

Senior Matt McGloin was named the starting quarterback on June 1.  McGloin has made superb progress commanding the Nittany Lion offense throughout training camp.  Sophomore Paul Jones and true freshman Steven Bench currently share the second line behind McGloin for the No. 2 quarterback spot.

On defense, redshirt freshman Deion Barnes and senior Pete Massaro, who is working back into the rotation after slight injury kept him out of practice during a portion of camp, share the top line at one defensive end position.  Junior DaQuan Jones and senior James Terry are in competition for a starting spot alongside Jordan Hill in the interior of the defensive line.  Additionally, junior Stephen Obeng-Agyapong and senior Jake Fagnano are battling for a starting assignment at one safety position.

The depth chart features four quarterbacks, five running backs, 11 wide receivers and six tight ends.  Senior Jordan Hill leads all returning players with 17 career starts.

One change to the depth chart on the offensive side of the ball is the addition of a Tight End Y/F position, which features junior Matt Lehman, who will play both tight end positions in Coach O'Brien's offense.  Penn State will have great depth at the tight end spot with junior Garry Gilliam (Y) and Kyle Carter (F) filling starting spots.  Freshman Jesse James (Y) and senior Brian Irvin (F) and freshman Brent Wilkerson (F) are all poised to be contributors.

Sophomore Sam Ficken is the starting placekicker and sophomore Alex Butterworth is the starting punter heading into the season.

There are 12 true freshmen listed on the three-deep depth chart.  In addition to Bench, Williams, James and Wilkerson, the list includes center Wendy Laurent, running back Akeel Lynch, receivers Eugene Lewis, Malik Golden and Jonathan Warner on offense.  Defensively, the true freshman list includes defensive tackle Austin Johnson, middle linebacker Nyeem Wartmen and cornerbacks Jordan Lucas and Da'Quan Davis.

Penn State kicks off at noon on Saturday (ESPN) against the Ohio Bobcats, marking the first of 10 bowl teams on the slate.

Penn State Football Eve will launch the season on Friday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. in Beaver Stadium, with gates opening at 6:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free for the festive event that kicks off a big Penn State sports weekend.  Also on Aug. 31, the men's soccer team hosts Duquesne at 8:00 p.m. at Jeffrey Field and the women's volleyball team faces perennial power Stanford at 8 p.m. in the Nike Big Four Tournament at Rec Hall.


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Sixth-Ranked Nittany Lions Rebound With 5-0 Blowout

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By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's soccer took the field Sunday afternoon with Friday's tight 3-2 loss to No. 1 Stanford wiped from their minds as they shutout and virtually dominated Central Michigan, 5-0.

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The Nittany Lions overwhelmed the Chippewas with four goals in the first half, three of them coming nearly five minutes apart.  The offensive fireworks featured freshman forward Mallory Weber and senior midfielder Christine Nairn, along with first-time scores from junior Erin Kehoe and freshman Jenna Kalwa.  The defense earned its second shutout in four games and head coach Erica Walsh felt good about what she saw from her players.

"Today was a big game," said coach Walsh.  "I'm really proud of the performance the group put in today."

Nairn led the attack with an assist and two remarkable goals three minutes apart from each other.  Her and Weber kept the Central Michigan defense on their heels the entire game with a combination of the freshman's speed and the senior's pinpoint passing.

"When [Nairn's] good, we're good," said coach Walsh.  "She's buzzing on both sides of the ball and Mal Weber's doing a nice job of taking advantage of it and getting on the other end of things, but Christine Nairn's the real deal right now and she's the show."

Penn State broke the Central Michigan defense in the 23rd minute when Weber took a cross from Nairn and headed it into the back of the net.  Minutes later, Nairn received the ball in space and took an incredible shot from over 30 yards out that drifted over the goalkeeper's head and ricocheted in off the right goalpost.  Arms thrown in the air, Nairn celebrated with as much astonishment as elation.

"Coach gave us the go-ahead to just shoot from wherever and test the goalie and fortunately I was good enough to put it away today, so I can't complain," said Nairn.  "As you can tell by my celebration, I was just as shocked as you guys."

The senior capped off her stellar performance not long after when she battled between two defenders and rifled a shot that bent around the goalkeeper and into the upper right corner of the net.  The Nittany Lions would add a fourth goal in the 35th minute and a fifth in the 57th.  Nairn astutely noted that a win comes from the team and not as a result of any one individual's performance.

"It's a team effort, it's never all about me," said Nairn.  "Our team is more important, so that's what we are going for."

The untold tale of the afternoon was the defense, which added its second shutout of the season and held the Chippewas in check despite allowing 21 total shots.  After losing senior captain Lexi Martin and sophomore upstart Jackie Molinda, a new pair of leaders emerged among the backline.  Sophomore Whitney Church and junior Bri Hovington took the reins and reinvigorated an all but decimated defense.

"We're really coming along," said sophomore Kori Chapic.  "I think that in our new formation, working alongside Whitney Church and Bri Hovington, we're really building each and every day."

Goalies Erin McNulty and Britt Eckerstrom combined for seven saves and their teammates were behind them the entire game.  Chapic made a clutch save when Central Michigan's Jennifer Grossman rebounded a ball deflected by McNulty and took a shot only to be rejected by Chapic, who had moved in front of the net.

The Nittany Lions travel to West Virginia for the WVU 90 Minute Classic next weekend. They will face West Virginia on Friday at 7 p.m. and Pittsburgh on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Fast-Paced Play Propels Lions to an Impressive Win

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- In a season-opening showdown between top-10 teams, the ninth-ranked Penn State field hockey team utilized their speed and up-tempo style of play to earn an emphatic 5-2 win over the third-ranked Lady Monarchs of Old Dominion.

On the warm and sunny evening in Happy Valley, the Nittany Lions didn't waste any time as they came roaring out of the locker room to score a goal just five minutes into the contest.

Senior forward Kelsey Amy (Sweet Valley, Pa.) recorded the first goal of the season for the Nittany Lions, and was pleased with how the team got off to a quick start.

"It just sets the tone for the rest of the season," Amy said. "If we can come out and play well as a team and take it to the other team in the very first game, it sets the season off in the right fashion."

Despite the Lions' fast start and early 2-0 lead, the Lady Monarchs pieced together a comeback after scoring with only 15 seconds remaining in the first half, and then finding the back of the cage again just seconds into the second half.

"That was a bummer," said head coach Charlene Morett, in regards to giving up a goal so late in the half. "I'm also just a little disappointed that we didn't have a stronger start to the second half."

The Nittany Lions began the second half playing a player down because of a two-minute green card penalty being served by Amy.

"Kelsey can get those great goals for us, but she also has to be composed," said Morett. "Kelsey going off with the green card doesn't help us...she adds a lot of speed to the game."

With the score tied at two goals apiece and the momentum in favor of the Lady Monarchs, the Nittany Lions regrouped after an early second-half timeout and regained the speed and tempo that propelled them in the first half.

Following the timeout, Amy found the back of the cage for the second time, and the Nittany Lions went on to score the final three goals of the game.

"We just had to settle down and play like we know how to play," said Amy. "I think we got back on our heels in that half because they were coming forward with so much pressure. We kept pushing forward and we were able to score some goals in the end."

Not only did speed and a fast tempo contribute to the Lions' success, but outstanding goaltending and a swarming second-half defense helped shut down the Old Dominion offensive attack.

"I thought we had great balance between our lines with our strikers, our middies and our backs," said Morett. "I felt that there were time that we did a great job at keeping possession."

Despite being pleased with the upset victory, the Nittany Lions will have to shift focus quickly as they prepare to host yet another top-ten team this weekend as eighth-ranked Virginia is coming into town.

"We are going to walk through again tomorrow to get ready for Virginia," said Morett. "I know UVA is coming in here with two Olympic athletes on the field so we need to make sure that we are on our mark and play our game."

For Coach Morett, starting the season off against tough, formidable opponents can help lead the team to success when conference play begins.

"We knew that this was going to be a very challenging weekend," said Morett. "We just always like to open up the season with that challenge."

The Nittany Lions will face their next test on Sunday afternoon when they square off against Virginia. Game time is set for noon.

Women's Soccer Showdown Draws Record Attendance

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By Scott Traweek, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sixth-ranked Penn State (2-1-0) fell to defending national champion and No. 1 ranked Stanford (2-0-0), 3-2, Friday night in front an electrifying crowd composed of a record 5,117 fans at Jeffrey Field.  The Cardinal scored the game-winner on a set piece goal with under three minutes left in the game.

The Nittany Lions were without their top two goal scorers in junior forwards Maya Hayes and Taylor Schram, who are representing the U.S. overseas in the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. Despite the loss, head coach Erica Walsh was thoroughly satisfied with the way her players performed and valued the learning experience provided by the nation's top team.

"I'm very proud of our team's performance tonight," said coach Walsh.  "The effort was there, the tactics were there, the leadership was there and Stanford showed why they're defending national champs."

Freshman forward Mallory Weber had another standout performance, causing problems for the Cardinal throughout the night.  The rookie phenom flashed a combination of speed and skillful ball control, wracking up four shots to go with her third goal of the season.  To her, the feeling of playing in a big game under the lights at Jeffrey Field is virtually indescribable.

"I can't even describe it," said Weber.  "It was just the atmosphere and having your whole team behind your back and being a freshman and all of the support behind it.  It's just incredible."

The game was nothing short of a nail-biter as Stanford took a 2-1 lead late into the second half when junior forward Tani Costa drew a foul inside the box during the 83rd minute.  Senior midfielder Christine Nairn stepped in to take the penalty kick and, with the crowd momentarily silenced, blasted the equalizer into the back of the net.  Coach Walsh praised the senior's honed mindset.

"I think [Nairn's] going to continue getting better and better," said Walsh.  "She's fit, she's leading, she's walking around to each of her teammates and keeping their heads held high.  This girl has come into her own and she's putting this team on her back."

Stanford would respond in winning fashion with less than three minutes left in the game off of a corner kick, headed in by senior midfielder Mariah Nogueira.  Nevertheless, Penn State proved they could play with the nation's elite and displayed a grind-it-out mentality that will serve them well in the future.

The Nittany Lions fought hard for their fans and were thankful for the huge turnout.  Friday's attendance shattered the previous record of 3,912 during a 2010 bout against Virginia and the atmosphere was a surreal and thrilling experience for the entire team.

"Blue and White, Penn State Pride, whatever you want to call it, is so electric," said coach Walsh.  "I just want to thank the crowd and Stanford for flying out here and giving us this opportunity to play the best and I thought we put our best foot forward tonight."

"Thank you for all the fans that came here," said Nairn.  "You guys, all of them, are the reason why we played so hard and are so proud to put on this jersey."

The Nittany Lions look to bounce back on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. as they take on Central Michigan (3-0-0), who defeated West Virginia (1-2-0) 2-0 earlier on Friday.

VIDEO: Nittany Lions One Week From Season Opener

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the conclusion of back-to-back 6:30 a.m. practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, training camp is over for the Nittany Lions.

When the team reconvenes on Monday, attention will solely be on game week preparations for the Ohio Bobcats.  Head coach Bill O'Brien spent portions of three practices working on Ohio preparations this week.  The Lions have practiced 24 times since camp opened on Aug. 6.  It was a training camp marked by good progress on both sides of the ball.

Anticipation is high inside the locker room as the squad gets set to run out of the South Tunnel in Beaver Stadium for the first time in a new era of Penn State Football.  We caught up with senior quarterback Matt McGloin to talk about his progress directing the Nittany Lion offense, as well as sophomore cornerback Adrian Amos for his thoughts on the defense as the team closes in on game week.


Matt McGloin



Adrian Amos



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2012 Opponent Previews - Indiana and Wisconsin

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Week 11: Indiana - Nov. 17, at Beaver Stadium, TBA
Penn State will kick off the first of two-straight home games to end the season with Indiana.  The Hoosiers enter their second season under head coach Kevin Wilson.  In Wilson's Big Ten debut year, Indiana went 1-11, 0-8 in the Big Ten.  They return 50 letterman and 16 starters.  The starters include seven on offense and eight on defense.

Indiana's offense will be led by running back Stephen Houston, who rushed for 802 yards and eight touchdowns, while gaining 5.3 yards per carry.  He also caught 17 passes for 164 yards.  He is joined in the backfield by D'Angelo Roberts (263 yards, four TD) and Matt Perez (195 yards, four TD).

Sophomore Tre Roberson started five games last year for the Hoosiers, completing 57 percent of his passes for 937 yards, three touchdowns, and six interceptions.  He also ran for 436 yards and two touchdowns.  He will throw to Preseason Third Team All-Big Ten receiver Kofi Hughes, who caught 35 passes for 536 yards and three touchdowns in 2011. 

The Hoosier defense will be anchored by end Larry Black and tackle Adam Replogle.  Black made 47 stops last year, including 5.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks.  Replogle made 49 tackles, including seven TFL, and four sacks.  Both were Preseason Fourth Team All-Big Ten honorees.

Cornerback Greg Heban and safety Mark Murphy anchor the secondary.  Heban recorded 62 tackles, 1.5 for loss, a sack, two interceptions, and broke up six passes.  Murphy was second on the team with 76 tackles (44 solo).  He also had one tackle for loss and an interception that he returned for a touchdown. 

Indiana has a strong special teams unit, led by kicker Mitch Ewald, who hit 13 of 16 field goals last year.  He was perfect from inside 40 yards (10-10) and on PATs (30-30).  Kick returner Shane Wynn averaged 21.1 yards per return to total 1,015 return yards.  He returned a kick 99 yards for a touchdown against Illinois.

Penn State and Indiana will collide for the 16th time in 2012.


Week 12: Wisconsin - Nov. 24, at Beaver Stadium, TBA
The Nittany Lions will wrap up the 2012 season against defending Big Ten champion Wisconsin.  Bret Bielema enters his seventh year as head coach at Wisconsin (60-19).  The Badgers won the Big Ten Championship Game and went 11-3, 6-2 in the Big Ten last year.  Their season ended in a 45-38 loss to Oregon in the Rose Bowl.  They return 14 starters from a year ago, including six on offense and six on defense. 

The Badgers must replace multiple key players on their offense, including First Team All-Big Ten quarterback Russell Wilson.  They must also replace their top receiver, Nick Toon, as well as offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler, Josh Oglesby, and Konz. 

Leading the Badgers offense will be running back Montee Ball, winner of multiple awards after a stellar 2011 season in which he rushed for 1,923 yards, 137.4 per game, and 33 touchdowns.  He also caught 24 passes for 306 yards and six touchdowns.  His 39 touchdowns tied him with Barry Sanders for the most in a single season.  Joining Ball in the backfield will be James White, a Preseason Fourth Team All-Big Ten selection, who rushed for 713 yards and six touchdowns last year.

Replacing Wilson will be Maryland transfer Danny O'Brien.  The senior completed 56 percent of his passes for 1648 yards, seven touchdowns, and 10 interceptions last year.  He also ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns.  He will target Preseason First Team All-Big Ten receiver Jared Abbrederis, who caught 55 passes for 933 yards and eight touchdowns.  He is also a dangerous return man, averaging 15.8 yards per punt return (1 TD) and 24.6 yards per kick return. All-Big Ten tight end Jacob Pedersen caught 30 passes for 356 yards and eight touchdowns.

Preseason First Team All-American tackle Ricky Wagner will anchor the offensive line that also includes All-Big Ten center Travis Frederick.

All-Big Ten linebackers Mike Taylor and Chris Borland will lead the Badgers defense.  Taylor made a conference-leading 150 tackles (60 solo).  He also had nine tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, and three forced fumbles.  Borland recorded 143 tackles (64 solo), 19 for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, and five forced fumbles.

The secondary includes safety Shelton Johnson, a Preseason Third Team All-Big Ten selection, had 54 tackles, six for loss, and four interceptions.  Brendan Kelly leads the defensive line after recording five tackles for loss and three sacks last season.

Penn State and Wisconsin have met 15 times heading into 2012.

2012 Opponent Previews - Purdue and Nebraska

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Week 9: Purdue - Nov. 3, at Ross-Ade Stadium, TBA
The Nittany Lions travel to Leaders Division foe Purdue in week nine.  Expectations are high for the Boilermakers, who are under the direction head coach Danny Hope enters his third year at Purdue (16-21) and ninth year overall (51-43).  The Boilermakers went 7-6, 4-4 in the Big Ten, last year and defeated Western Michigan, 37-32, in the Little Caesars Bowl.  Purdue returns 16 starters, including seven on offense, seven on defense, and two on special teams.

Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush will battle for the starting quarterback nod.  Marve was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA following a campaign in which he threw for 633 yards, four touchdowns, and five interceptions.  TerBush completed nearly 62 percent of his passes for 1,905 yards, 13 touchdowns, and six interceptions.  He also ran for 219 yards and a touchdown.  Rob Henry is poised to be the team's wildcat quarterback, as well, making it a three-way QB race.

The quarterbacks will target receivers Antavian Edison, a Preseason Second Team All-Big Ten selection, and O.J. Ross.  Edison caught 44 passes for 584 yards and three touchdowns in 2011, while Ross caught 33 passes for 356 yards and also had three touchdowns.  Sophomore Raheem Mostert could get more opportunities after proving to be effective on reverses and kick returns.  Mostert ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.  A pick for Preseason First Team All-Big Ten as a kick returner, Mostert gained 837 return yards, good for 33.5 yards per return, including a 99-yard touchdown in the Little Caesars Bowl.

Ralph Bolden returns at running back after rushing for 674 yards and six touchdowns as a redshirt junior.  He will run behind an offensive line that includes Preseason All-Big Ten selections, guard Peters Drey and tackle Trevor Foy.

Lott IMPACT Trophy candidate and 2011 All-Big Ten tackle Kawann Short leads the Boilermakers defense after making 54 stops, 17 for loss, and 6.5 sacks in 2011.  He is joined on the defensive line by Preseason Third Team All-Big Ten honoree Bruce Gaston, who recorded seven tackles for loss and three sacks at defensive end.

Will Lucas and Dwayne Beckford, both Preseason All-Big Ten selections, anchor the linebacking core.  Lucas made 82 tackles (46 solo), 10 for loss, a sack, and forced two fumbles last year.  Beckford made 91 stops (46 solo), including seven for loss and three sacks. 

2011 Second Team All-Big Ten cornerback Ricardo Allen leads the secondary.  He made 81 tackles, three for loss, and intercepted three passes in 2011. 

Penn State and Purdue are set to collide for the 16th time this fall.


Week 10: Nebraska - Nov. 10, at Memorial Stadium, TBA

Penn State will make its first trip to Lincoln for a Big Ten contest against Nebraska in week 10.  Bo Pelini begins his fifth year at the helm of the Cornhuskers with a career record of 39-16.  Nebraska had a successful opening campaign in the Big Ten, going 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the conference.  The year ended in a 30-13 loss to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl.  They return 57 letterman and 17 starters.  The starters include eight on offense and seven on defense.

Among the key returnees is 2011 First Team All-Big Ten running back Rex Burkhead, who leads the Cornhusker rushing attack.  He rushed for 1,357 yards, 104.4 per game, and 15 touchdowns in 2011.  He also caught 21 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns. 

Junior quarterback Taylor Martinez enters his third year as a starter.  Last year, he completed 56 percent of his passes for 2,089 yards, 13 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.  The dual-threat ran for 874 yards and nine touchdowns.  He will throw to receivers Kenny Bell (43 catches, 461 yards, three touchdowns) and Tim Marlowe (12 catches, 113 yards, one touchdown).  Bell was named a Preseason Second Team All-Big Ten selection.  Bell is also effective on reverses, rushing for 100 yards and three touchdowns in 2011. 

The Husker defense must replace All-Big Ten linebacker Lavonte David, a second round pick of the Buccaneers, and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.  They must also replace defensive tackle Jared Crick, an All-American in 2010.

The "Blackshirts" will be led by a strong defensive line, anchored by tackles Baker Steinkuhler and Cameron Meredith.  Both were Preseason Third Team All-Big Ten selections.  Steinkuhler made 40 stops, five tackles for loss, and two sacks last year.  Meredith recorded 58 tackles, six for loss, and five sacks.  

Will Compton will lead the linebackers after a 2011 campaign, in which he made 82 tackles, seven for loss, and 0.5 sacks.  Safety Daimion Stafford anchors the secondary after making 80 stops (46 solo), three tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, and one forced fumble.  He also broke up 10 passes.

Nebraska also welcomes back one of the top special teams players in the nation.  Preseason Third Team All-American kicker Brett Maher made 19-23 attempts last year, including 7-10 beyond 40 yards.  He was also named Preseason First Team All-Big Ten as a kicker and punter.

The 2012 clash will be the 15th meeting between Penn State and Nebraska.

2012 Opponent Previews - Iowa and Ohio State

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Week 7: Iowa - Oct. 20, 8 p.m. at Kinnick Stadium, Big Ten Network
Following a bye week, the Nittany Lions will travel to Kinnick Stadium for a primetime showdown with Iowa in week seven.  Kirk Ferentz enters his 14th season at the helm of the Hawkeyes, with a record of 96-66 while at Iowa and 108-87 overall (17 years).  The Hawkeyes finished 7-6, 4-4 in the Big Ten, last year, ending in a 31-14 loss to Oklahoma in the Insight Bowl.  They return 40 letterman and 12 starters.  The starters include six on offense, five on defense, and one on special teams.

The Hawkeyes will have to replace some key members of the offense from last year.  The group includes tackle Riley Reiff, a first round pick of the Detroit Lions.  They will also have to replace their top rusher, Marcus Coker, and receiver, Marvin McNutt Jr.

Quarterback James Vandenberg returns for his second year as the starter after leading a very productive 2011 campaign.  Vandenberg completed 58.7 percent of his passes for 3,022 yards, 25 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions.  He will have a trio of targets to throw to in Keenan Davis (50 catches, 713 yards, four TD), Kevonte Martin-Manley (323 yards, three TD), and tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz (16 catches, 167 yards, three TD).  Davis (First Team) and Fiedorowicz (Third Team) were Preseason All-Big Ten selections.

Sophomore Jordan Canzeri appeared to be the leading returning rusher with 114 yards and a receiving touchdown last year.  However, Canzeri suffered a torn ACL in spring practice.  Sophomore Damon Bullock will be the starting running back in week one.  He will run behind an offensive line that includes Rimington Trophy candidate James Ferentz at center and All-Big Ten honoree Brandon Scherff at tackle.

Iowa also lost some important members of their defense, including linemen Broderick Binns and Mike Daniels.  The duo combined for 25.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks in 2011.  Cornerback Shaun Prater will also need to be replaced.

2011 Second Team All-Big Ten cornerback Micah Hyde will lead the Iowa secondary after grabbing three interceptions and making 72 tackles (49 solo), while breaking up eight passes.  He will be joined by safety Tanner Miller, who recorded 76 tackles (52 solo), three tackles for loss, and also grabbed three interceptions.  

James Morris and Christian Kirksey will make a strong duo in the Iowa linebacking core.  Morris, a Preseason Second Team-All Big Ten honoree, tied for the team lead with 110 tackles (52 solo) last season.  He also had 3.5 tackles for loss and an interception.  Kirksey, a Preseason Fourth Team selection, also had 110 tackles (62 solo).  He recorded five tackles for loss, a sack, an interception, and two forced fumbles.

Penn State and Iowa will meet for the 25th time in 2012.


Week 8: Ohio State - Oct. 27, 6 p.m. at Beaver Stadium, ESPN/ESPN2
Beaver Stadium is set to play host to a primetime matchup between border rivals during week eight.  Urban Meyer makes his return to the sidelines as head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes after a year off.  Meyer has a 104-23 career record in 11 years, including National Championships at Florida in 2006 and 2008.  The Buckeyes went 6-7, 3-5 in the Big Ten, last year and ended with a 24-16 loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl.  Ohio State returns 48 letterman and 18 starters.  The starters include seven on offense and nine on defense.

The Buckeyes lost some key players on the offensive line, including tackle Mike Adams, a second-round pick of the Steelers.  They also lost running back Dan Herron.  However, Ohio State returns a great deal of talent in 2012.

Sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller will lead the offense after an outstanding freshman campaign.  He completed 54 percent of his passes for 1,159 yards and 13 touchdowns, while throwing only four interceptions.  The dual-threat also rushed for 715 yards and seven touchdowns.  He will target receivers Devin Smith (14 catches, 294 yards, four TD) and Corey Brown (14 catches, 205 yards, one TD).  Both were Preseason Fourth Team All-Big Ten selections.

Carlos Hyde and Jordan Hall are the leading returning rushers.  Hyde ran for 566 yards and six touchdowns in 2011.  Hall ran for 408 yards and two touchdowns, while also gaining 114 yards receiving and three touchdowns.  Hall is also a dangerous return man, gaining 683 kick return yards for an average of 26.3 yards per return.

Preseason All-American tackles, Johnathan Hankins and John Simon will anchor a stout defensive line for the Ohio State defense.  Hankins recorded 67 tackles, 11 for loss, and three sacks last season.  Simon made 53 stops (31 solo), 16 tackles for loss, and seven sacks. 

Look for Etienne Sabino and Ryan Shazier, a Preseason Third Team All-Big Ten, to lead the linebacker corps.  Sabino made 62 tackles, 6.5 for loss, and two sacks.  Shazier had 57 tackles (37 solo), 5 for loss, and 3 sacks last year.

Safety C.J. Barnett, a Preseason First Team All-Big Ten selection, made a team-leading 75 stops, and he picked off two passes, while breaking up six.  He will be joined in the secondary by corners Christian Bryant and Bradley Roby.  Bryant made 68 tackles and broke up eight passes, while Roby made 47 tackles and three interceptions.

Penn State and Ohio State are set to collide for the 28th time in 2012.

VIDEO: Football Player Media Interviews - Aug. 23

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Several Nittany Lions addressed the media on Thursday afternoon before practice.  Watch to hear remarks on how the team is progressing during training camp practice from center Matt Stankiewitch, linebacker Glenn Carson, tight end Kyle Carter, cornerback Stephon Morris and defensive end Pete Massaro.



Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Women's Volleyball Season Preview Interviews

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nittany Lion women's volleyball head coach Russ Rose kicks off his 34th season at the helm of the program on Friday at 5 p.m. against Morehead State (Louisville, Ky.).

Penn State will play three matches in Louisville this weekend before taking on powers Stanford and Texas in Rec Hall to open the home slate on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.  We caught up with Coach Rose in his office and middle hitter Katie Slay, outside hitter Deja McClendon and setter/defensive specialist Kristin Carpenter in the practice gym to preview the 2012 campaign.  Take a look.



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2012 Opponent Previews - Illinois and Northwestern

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Week 5: at Illinois - Sept. 29, at Memorial Stadium, TBA
The Nittany Lions will open the Big Ten season at Illinois on Sept. 29.  Under first-year head coach Tim Beckman (former Toledo head coach, 21-16 at Toledo), the Fighting Illini are looking to improve on a 7-6 (4-4 in Big Ten) campaign last year.  Illinois defeated UCLA 20-14 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.  They return 41 letterman and 17 starters from a year ago, including seven starters on offense, eight on defense, and two on special teams.

The Illini offense is led by junior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, a dual-threat, who threw for 2,110 yards and ran for 624 more.  He completed 63.2 percent of his passes and threw 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.  He ran for six touchdowns.  Scheelhaase will have receivers Spencer Harris (226 yards, one TD) and Darius Millines (218 yards, one TD) and tight end Jon Davis (22 catches, 187 yards, one TD) to throw to.

Illinois lost its top two running backs, Jason Ford and Troy Pollard.  Taking over the starting job could be sophomore Donovonn Young, who ran for 451 yards and six touchdowns.

Defensively, linebacker and Butkus Award candidate Jonathan Brown, who made a team-leading 108 stops last year, is poised for a strong season.  He also recorded 19.5 tackles for loss, six sacks, and an interception on his way to being named a Second Team All-Big Ten honoree.

In front of Brown will be defensive end Michael Buchanan and defensive tackle Akeem Spence.  Buchanan was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team as he had 64 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.  Spence made 69 stops, including 5.5 TFL and 1.5 sacks.

Veteran corner Terry Hawthorne will lead the secondary in 2012.  Hawthorne had 60 tackles, five tackles for loss, three interceptions, and eight pass breakups a year ago.

Penn State and Illinois have met 19 times prior to the week five meeting in 2012.    



Week 6: Northwestern - Oct. 6, Noon at Beaver Stadium
The Lions are slated to host Northwestern in the home opener at the mid-way point of the season.  Pat Fitzgerald enters his seventh year as the head coach at Northwestern (40-36) in 2012.  The Wildcats went 6-7 (3-5 in the Big Ten) last year, earning a trip to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, where they lost 33-22 to Texas A&M.  They return 55 letterman and 13 starters.  The starters include five offensive and six defensive players.

Northwestern will be looking to replace several key members of the offense, including three-year starter at quarterback, Dan Persa.  They will also have to replace their top receiver, Jeremy Ebert, and top tight end, Drake Dunsmore.

Kain Colter is in line to take over the starting job after playing in 13 games last year.  The dual-threat threw for 673 yards and rushed for 654.  He threw six touchdown passes and only one interception, while completing 67.1 percent of his passes.  He rushed for nine touchdowns.  To utilize his athleticism, Northwestern also used him at receiver last year, where he caught 43 passes for 466 yards and three touchdowns.  Trevor Siemian also has playing experience, earning action in eight games last season.

The quarterbacks will have multiple weapons, including Preseason Second Team All-Big Ten selection Demetrius Fields, who caught 32 passes for 382 yards and three touchdowns last year.  Rashad Lawrence (203 yards, one TD) also returns at wideout. Treyvon Green is the top returning rusher with 362 yards and four touchdowns a year ago.  Venric Mark might receive more opportunities at running back after proving to be a dangerous return man (915 KR yards, 22.9 yards per KR).  Northwestern has been tabbed by many as having one of the top receiving corps in the Big Ten.

The Wildcats return an experienced offensive line that placed three on the Preseason All-Big Ten list.  Guard Brian Mulroe earned second team honors, as tackle Patrick Ward was placed on the third team, and center Brandon Vitabile on the fourth team.

Safety Ibraheim Campbell, Second Team All-Big Ten honoree, will lead the Northwestern defense after making 100 tackles (54 solo) and 3.5 tackles for loss.  He also picked off two passes.

Northwestern returns linebackers David Nwabulsi and Damien Proby.  Nwabulsi recorded 84 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss and a sack.  He also forced two fumbles.  Proby made 60 stops (34 solo), including three tackles for loss and a sack.  Defensive end Quentin Williams had 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks last year.

Penn State and Northwestern have met 15 times heading into the season.

European Tour Day 10: The Vatican & Rome

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European Tour Day 10 Photo Gallery

Today is our final full day in Europe and we spent it at the Granddaddy of the All (no, not the Rose Bowl), the Vatican!

We met our wonderful tour guide, Mia, for the second straight day and she brought us through the Vatican, starting the one of the papal galleries. We then met in a beautiful garden where Mia told the story of Michelangelo and the painting of the Sistine Chapel. It is really quite an amazing story to find out that Michelangelo had no knowledge of how to use the fresco technique. Once we entered the chapel, you were really taken back at how Michelangelo used color and light to make the paintings leap off the ceiling, almost like the sculptures that he was so famous for before the painting of the chapel. We were not allowed to take any photos or video in the Sistine Chapel to help preserve the paintings, so our only memories will have to be in our minds, but it was quite a sight to see. :)

Once we finished at the Sistine Chapel, we headed to St. Peter's Basilica...home of the Pope. The architecture in the basilica was also amazing and breathtaking. There were several former Popes that were enshrined as saints and Pope John Paul II has recently been moved into the basilica as he is nearing sainthood. After leaving the basilica and the Vatican, several members of the team stopped to purchase rosaries, etc. and have them blessed.

We split up for the afternoon and several of the staff members took in the sights of Rome, including the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. It is truly amazing the feats of architecture and engineering in Rome.

VIDEO: Training Camp Cookout and Pool Party

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Coach O'Brien called the Nittany Lion football team to the squad room inside the Lasch Football Building on Tuesday night for a full team meeting.

He stood at the podium at the front of the room and informed the team of a surprise cookout and pool party at the Penn State Pool.  The team enjoyed a pig roast cookout and some swimming at the pool in honor of their hard work during training camp thus far.  Senior linebacker Michael Mauti was the first one off the high dive.  Take a look.




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VIDEO: Training Camp Update from Coach O'Brien

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Bill O'Brien addressed the local media prior to practice on Tuesday afternoon to provide a training camp update.

The Nittany Lions practiced once on Tuesday.  They will return to action for their final double session of training camp on Wednesday.  See what Coach O'Brien had to say about the team on Tuesday.


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European Tour Game 3: Lady Lions Defeat Latina Basket in Final European Tour Game

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European Tour Day 9 Photo Gallery


LATINA, ITALY - The Penn State Lady Lions closed out their European Tour with a win over Latina Basket Tuesday evening. Sophomore forward/center Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) registered a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Waldner was 9-for-16 from the field on the evening.

 

Senior center Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) added 20 points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks and junior guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) recorded 20 points and five steals. Junior forward/center Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) chipped in 13 points, while junior guard/forward Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) accounted for 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Junior guard Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) contributed six points, seven assists and three steals.

2012 Opponent Previews - Navy and Temple

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Week 3: Navy - Sept. 15, 3:30 at Beaver Stadium, ABC/ESPN2
The Nittany Lions will welcome Navy to Beaver Stadium in week three.  Fifth-year head coach Ken Niumatalolo (32-21 record) directs the Midshipmen.  Navy finished last season with a 5-7 mark, missing a bowl game for the first time in eight years.  They Midshipmen return 38 letterman and 14 starters in 2012, including four starters on offense and eight on defense.

Annually among the top rushing teams in the nation, Navy will bring its trademark Triple Option attack to Happy Valley.  They lost some key members of the running game from the 2011 team, including quarterback Kriss Proctor and fullback Alexander Teich. 

Leading the attack this year will be slot back Gee Gee Greene, who ran for 501 yards and three touchdowns, while averaging 7.8 yards per carry.  He also recorded 165 receiving yards and four touchdowns.  Also returning are Navy's top two receivers, Brandon Turner (300 yards and three touchdowns) and Matt Aiken (201 yards and two touchdowns).

Junior Trey Miller is the most experienced returning quarterback.  He threw for 205 yards and three touchdowns last year, while also rushing for 150 yards.

Defensively, the Midshipmen will be guided by senior linebacker Matt Warrick.  The 2012 Preseason First Team All-Independent selection recorded a team-leading 103 tackles, 54 solo in 2011.  He also had four tackles for loss and an interception last year. 

Navy returns three key secondary members from a year ago, led by safety Tra'ves Bush, who recorded 93 tackles, four tackles for loss, and two interceptions in 2011.  He is joined at safety by sophomore Chris Ferguson who also picked off two passes and returned one for a touchdown.  At corner is David Sperry, who made 70 stops, four tackles for loss, and two interceptions.

Penn State leads the all-time series 18-17-2.  This will be the first meeting between the teams since 1974, when Navy won 7-6.
 



Week 4: Temple - Sept. 22, TBA at Beaver Stadium
Temple has been a program on the rise during the past five seasons.  The Owls enter their second year under head coach Steve Addazio.  Last year, Temple went 9-4 and defeated Wyoming 37-15 in the New Mexico Bowl.  Temple returns to the BIG EAST this year after leaving the conference in 2004.  The Owls return 35 lettermen and nine starters.  The starters include four on offense and five on defense.

Offensively, Temple lost 1,000-yard rusher and First Team All-MAC Bernard Pierce to the NFL Draft, where he was a third round selection of the Baltimore Ravens.  They also lost First Team All-MAC tight end, Evan Rodriguez, a fourth round selection of the Chicago Bears.

Leading the rushing attack will be Matt Brown, who rushed for 916 yards and six touchdowns a year ago (5.9 yards per carry average).  He is also a dangerous punt and kick returner, gaining 182 punt return yards and 703 kick return yards.  He returned a kick 100 yards for a touchdown against Kent State. 

The most experienced quarterback returning is junior Chris Coyer, who passed for 463 yards and six touchdowns and rushed for 562 yards and three touchdowns.  He will target wideout Deon Miller who caught 18 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns.

Temple also lost key members of their defense including end Adrian Robinson (13.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks) and linebacker Tahir Whitehead (13.5 TFL, five sacks). 

Defensively, the Owls will be led by 2012 Preseason Second Team All-Big East selection Levi Brown at defensive tackle.  Brown recorded 3.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, and a forced fumble.  Leading the secondary will be Hollidaysburg, Pa., native Justin Gildea, who recorded 51 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, and three interceptions in 2011.  He had eight tackles against Penn State last year.

Penn State and Temple have played 40 times heading into 2012.

VIDEO: Men's Soccer Preseason Interviews

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nittany Lion men's soccer head coach Bob Warming kicks off his third season at the helm of the program on Saturday at 7 p.m. when Penn State meets Stetson.

Saturday's matchup opens a terrific home schedule featuring 11 contests at Jeffrey Field.  The Nittany Lions are also home on Monday at 7 p.m. against Hartford as part of its opening weekend.  Penn State tallied a 1-0-2 record in its exhibition matchups, including a 2-2 tie against No. 9 Maryland on Monday.

GoPSUsports.com stopped by preseason practice to talk with Coach Warming and seniors Brian Forgue and John Gallagher to preview the 2012 season.  Take a look.


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

European Tour Day 9: Ancient Rome

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European Tour Day 9 Photo Gallery

Our first full day in Rome brought a walking tour of a few of the sights in Ancient Rome, including the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. We had a fantastic tour guide named Mia (no, not Mia Nickson). She was so enthusiastic about telling us about the history of her hometown and gave us so many great nuggets to bring back with us. To think that all of these landmarks have been around for 2,000 years is pretty amazing when you consider that they are all older than the United States of America.


The first stop was the Colosseum. What an amazing feat of workmanship that has stood the test of time and a few natural disasters. It's hard to envision what this beautiful Colosseum looked like thousands of years ago when it was covered in marble and travertine. The funniest moment of the Colosseum tour was when Mia, our guide, had Maggie Lucas and Colleen Kelly, one of our managers, reenact what the "Final Battles" were like in the Colosseum. Colleen won the battle, but decided to spare Maggie's life (though I am not sure how much damage she could have done with the umbrella she was using).

After a quick bus tour of some other ancient sights, it was off to the Roman Forum. You had to use your imagination to fill in some of the blanks, but you could really see the Forum being the center of the government in Ancient Rome. All of the Forum was once under 20 feet of silt and has been excavated over the years to produce what we saw today. Among the other items that we saw in the Forum was the place where Julius Caesar was cremated and to this day, there are still flowers on top of the are where he was cremated.

We returned to the hotel to get showered up and ready for the final game of our European Tour tonight when we play the Italian All Stars from Rome.
 

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2012 Opponent Previews - Ohio and Virginia

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Week 1: Ohio - Sept. 1, Noon at Beaver Stadium, ESPN
The Nittany Lions kick off the 2012 season against the preseason favorite to win the MAC.  Frank Solich enters his eighth year as the head coach at Ohio, where he has won 50 games (50-40) during his time in Athens.  The Bobcats are coming off their first bowl win in program history after defeating Utah State 24-23 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.  Ohio finished 10-4 last year and made their fifth bowl trip in the last seven years.

Ohio returns 49 letterwinners and 15 starters from last year's squad, including six on offense and nine on defense.


Second-year starting quarterback Tyler Tettleton leads the Ohio offense. The redshirt junior set school single-season records with 3,302 passing yards and 28 touchdowns in 2011. The dual-threat quarterback also ran for 658 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Tettleton was named 2012 Preseason Third Team All-MAC honoree.

Though Ohio lost its top running back and wide receiver from 2011, the Bobcats return multiple weapons.  Tettleton will be targeting receiver Donte Foster (352 yards and five touchdowns) and tight end Jordan Thompson (258 yards and two touchdowns) in the passing game.  Redshirt junior Beau Blankenship will look to lead the running back stable. 


Ohio returns three on the offensive line, including guard Eric Herman, a 2012 Preseason First Team All-MAC honoree.  Center Skyler Allen and guard Jon Lechner also return and were named Preseason Second Team All-MAC.

Defensively, the Bobcats are led by end Tremayne Scott, a 2011 Second Team All-MAC selection.  The senior registered eight tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, while also forcing two fumbles a year ago.  The linebacking corps is led by Altoona, Pa. native, Alphonso Lewis, who recorded 64 tackles and five tackles for loss in 2011.

The Bobcats return all four starters in the secondary, led by safety Gerald Moore and cornerback Travis Carrie.  Moore leads the returning defensive players with 84 tackles.  He also recorded five tackles for loss and two interceptions in 2011.  Carrie led the team last year with four interceptions.  He was named to the 2012 Preseason First Team All-MAC as a cornerback and Second Team as a punt returner.  Carrie returned a punt for 65 yards and a touchdown against New Mexico State.

Expectations are high for the Bobcats following their first bowl victory in program history.  Tettleton is the player to watch in the season-opener.


Penn State has a 5-0 advantage in the all-time series.  The teams last played each other in 1974, with the Nittany Lions scoring a 35-16 victory.



Week 2: Virginia - Sept. 8, Noon at Scott Stadium, ABC
Penn State travels to Charlottesville for an early-season test against the Virginia Cavaliers in week two of 2012.  Rising head coach Mike London (36-18 overall) enters his third year at Virginia, where he is 12-13.  The Cavaliers had their best year under London in 2011, going 8-5 and 6-2 in the ACC, including wins at North Carolina, Miami, and Florida State.  Virginia lost to Auburn in the 2011 Chick-Fil-A Bowl in its first postseason appearance since 2007.

A total of 42 lettermen and 13 starters return from a year ago.  The starters include seven on offense, five on defense, and one on special teams.  

On the offensive side of the ball, Virginia welcomes back its top two rushers from 2011.  Senior Perry Jones led the team in rushing with 915 yards in 2011.  He also had five touchdowns.  Jones recorded 506 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns, as well.  Kevin Parks complemented Jones by rushing for 709 yards and nine touchdowns last season. 

Under center is junior Michael Rocco, who completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 2,671 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2011.  He also threw 12 interceptions and ran for two touchdowns.  He will be targeting redshirt-junior wide out Tim Smith, who caught 33 passes for 565 yards and three touchdowns.  Smith averaged 17.1 yards per catch.

Protecting Rocco is an offensive line that includes 6-6, 335-pound tackle Morgan Moses, a 2012 Preseason Fourth Team All-American.  On the other side of the line is tackle Oday Aboushi, a Second Team All-ACC selection in 2011. 

Lott IMPACT Trophy candidate Steve Greer leads the defensive unit.  The senior linebacker led the team with 103 tackles in 2011.  He also tallied six tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery.  LaRoy Reynolds joins Greer in the linebacking corps by.  Reynolds recorded 88 tackles and eight tackles for loss last season. 

The secondary will be led by cornberback Demetrius Nicholson, a Preseason All-ACC honoree, who recorded 60 tackles, including two TFL, and two interceptions last season.

The defense will miss cornerback Chase Minnifield (three interceptions in 2011) and NFL Draftee defensive end Cam Johnson(11 TFL, four sacks).

Nonetheless, Virginia returns a great deal of talent from its 2011 squad.  The Cavaliers were picked to finish third in their division this season by Athlon Sports.

Penn State and Virginia have played seven times before, with the teams last meeting in 2002.


Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

European Tour Day 8: Florence & Travel to Rome

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European Tour Day 8 Photo Gallery

It was a pretty low key day for the Lady Lions with the morning to shop in Florence before getting on the bus for the three and a half hour drive to the final stop on our European Tour, Rome. Once in Rome, we took a quick walk to a couple of the local squares for some shopping and dinner, then it was off to bed because tomorrow is a game day.


Our tour has run very smoothly, thanks to our tour director, Richard. Richard has amazing knowledge of the countries that we visited during out trip and has been a riot to listen to on our bus trips. Check out the video below to meet Richard and hear from the Lady Lions about him (there's even an impression or two in the video too).

During our tour, we have spent a lot of time on the bus going from city to city and because of the Italian driving laws, we are required to stop every two hours for a 30-minute break. All of our stops have come at a place called the AutoGrill. Watch the video below to hear what the Lady Lions' favorite things to buy at the AutoGrill are.

European Tour Day 7: Florence

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European Tour Day 7 Photo Gallery

We loaded up the bus again this morning and headed just about four hours south to Florence. As we stepped off the bus, we were greeted by a 102 degree day and the sun beating down on a cloudless day. 


After a short time to settle into the hotel, we headed out on a guided walking tour of Florence, or as they call it in Italy, Firenze. We met up with our guide, Nicco, at the Duomo and set out for our hour and a half jaunt around the city. 

The Duomo is an amazing sight and took more than 150 years to complete. It was so huge and tucked into the buildings that it was impossible to take a photo of the entire building. From there, we stopped by the museum where the statue of David resides and took some time to enjoy the many marble and bronze sculptures that fill the area around the Palazzo Vecchio. 

We then headed another couple of blocks down the street to the Piazza di S. Croce, where the Basilla of Santa Croce is. The church is where many famous artists, philosophers and writers from Florence are buried, including Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and Marconi.

Following the walking tour, we broke for dinner and a nice evening stroll in Florence. 

Tomorrow we will have a little time in the morning for shopping and to see more of the sights before hopping back on the bus to go to Rome, our final stop on the tour, for three nights.

Lady Lions Down Italian All Stars in Second European Tour Game

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European Tour Day #6 Photo Gallery


BERGANO, ITALY; August 18, 2012 - The Lady Lions cruised in their second European Tour game en route to a 123-34 win over the Italian All Star team in Bergano, Italy Saturday evening. Dara Taylor (Wilmington, Del.) registered a triple-double with 16 points, 10 assists and 12 steals, while Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) posted a 30-point performance, going 11-for-14 from the field, including a 4-for-4 effort from three-point range in the second half.

 

Senior center Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) chipped in 18 points. Junior post player Talia East (Philadelphia, Pa.) was solid as she contributed 16 points, seven rebounds and two assists, while Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) also added 16 tallies.

 

The Lady Lions sprinted out to an 8-0 lead in the first 1:38 of the game thanks to a pair of buckets by Edwards and scores by Lucas and Greene. Penn State continued to keep the pressure up defensively and extended the lead to 22 points (20-8) with 4:14 remaining in the first quarter. The half came to a close with the Lady Lions leading 34-14. Penn State had solid defensive intensity, forcing 13 steals in the opening frame, including four thefts by Taylor.

 

Penn State started the second half on fire with an 18-2 run that featured six points by Lucas and four points each by Edwards and Mia Nickson (Ashburn, Va.). The Lady Lions continued to extend the lead and headed into the half with a 74-22 lead. Lucas paced the Lady Lion scoring effort with 16 points, while Taylor added 12 tallies, nine steals and six assists. Edwards and Greene also reached double figures in the first half with 14 and 12 markers, respectively. The Lady Lions cruised through the second half for the 123-34 win.

 

The Lady Lions closes out its European action against the Italian All-Star Team on August 21 in Rome.

 

VIDEO: Media Day Interviews - Jordan Hill and Kyle Carter

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Today, we wrap up a series of video interviews featuring several Nittany Lions from media day with senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill and sophomore tight end Kyle Carter.


Jordan Hill


Kyle Carter



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VIDEO: European Tour Day 6: Lake Como

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Photo Gallery

After a great nigh't sleep, the Lady Lions headed off on a boat tour of Lake Como and spent the morning shopping in Bellagio. The Lake Como area is gorgeous and Bellagio is the point where all three parts of the lake come together and there are some amazing views.


The shopping area in Bellagio was very neat, with cobblestone steps (instead of roads) that lead between the major shopping areas. There were a ton of arts and craft places with a myriad of silk ties, purses, kitchen utensils and jewelry. Many Lady Lions found themselves some new necklaces and other trinkets to bring back to the US.

We had pregame meal at the hotel and will catch the bus at 3:30 to take the hour and a half bus ride to our game this evening.



VIDEO: Football Team Hits The Bowling Alley

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As a reward for its hard work during the first 12 days of training camp, head coach Bill O'Brien gave the Nittany Lion football team a couple chances to field a punt with a trip to the bowling alley on the line.

Offensive guard Miles Dieffenbach hauled in an Alex Butterworth punt cleanly at the end of Friday's second practice and the team erupted with cheers before boarding Blue Buses en route to the Northland Bowling Alley in State College for an evening of training camp fun.

Take a look.


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VIDEO: European Tour Day 5: Monaco & Como

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European Tour Days 4 & 5 Photo Gallery

We had a wonderful day in Nice, complete with tubing on the Med and a walk down memory lane with Maren, but it was back on the bus with our driver, Salvatore, and tour guide, Richard, as we headed to Monaco for a part of the day and then continued on into Italy and the start of a two-night stay in Como.


On the way out of Nice, we stopped at an overlook and saw the most AMAZING view of Nice and the Mediterranean Sea. The team stopped for a quick pic and then it was off to Monaco. After a winding and twisting ride, we finally arrived to a beautiful seaside city-state with some huge yachts and breathtaking views. 

We spent a few hours in Monaco, shopping, eating, snapping photos and watching the guards in front of the palace. It was a really great place to stop, even if it was just for a few hours.

Back on the bus we went for the four hour jaunt to Como, Italy, where we will spend the next two nights. Como is named after the lake that it sits on. We didn't have a whole lot of daylight to sightsee Como (that is on tomorrow's agenda), but we did get some great dinner and gelato for dessert. 

Tomorrow will bring a bus and boat tour of Como and our second game of the tour against the Italian All Stars.

VIDEO: Meet Hockey Strength Coach Robert McLean

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion women's hockey team will kick off NCAA competition in less than two months.  We continue a series of summer videos with an introduction to new strength and conditioning coach Robert McLean.

McLean brings more than nine years of NHL experience to the program.  He served as the strength and conditioning coach for the Colorado Avalanche for the past two seasons.  Prior to Colorado, McLean was the head strength and conditioning specialist for BRS Sports.

Meet Robert McLean.


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VIDEO: Meet Men's Hockey Strength Coach Robert McLean

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion men's hockey team will kick off NCAA competition in less than two months.  We continue a series of summer videos with an introduction to new strength and conditioning coach Robert McLean.

McLean brings more than nine years of NHL experience to head coach Guy Gadowsky's program.  He served as the strength and conditioning coach for the Colorado Avalanche for the past two seasons.  Prior to Colorado, McLean was the head strength and conditioning specialist for BRS Sports.

Meet Robert McLean.


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VIDEO: Training Camp Interview with Coach O'Brien - Aug. 17

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Following the first of two practices on day 12 of training camp, head coach Bill O'Brien took some time on the practice field to talk on camera about the team's progress and upcoming schedule during training camp.

Take a look.


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VIDEO: Media Day Interviews - Michael Zordich and Stephon Morris

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - During the next few days GoPSUsports.com will roll out a series of video interviews featuring several Nittany Lions from media day.  We continue today with senior running back Michael Zordich and senior cornerback Stephon Morris.


Michael Zordich



Stephon Morris



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VIDEO: European Tour Day 4: Off to Nice

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After two wonderful days in Paris, it was off to Nice with an early morning wake up call. We headed off to the train station, where we caught a high speed train to Nice in the French Riviera. The French countryside was spectacular, even at speeds of 160 km/h, and by the time we "took the turn" along the French coast, the water was breathtaking.

We checked into our hotel and the team had some free time, where they went to the stone beach along the Mediterranean and even did some parasailing. The beach and shopping time must have wiped the squad out as they hit the sack fairly early. Maren, who played for one year professionally in Nice, took a quick trip to her old gym (we hope to have a video for you tomorrow). In the evening, most of the staff caught a delicious meal in the Old District of Nice and then did some people watching while eating a Nutella crepe. 

The Lady Lions are back on the road tomorrow, heading to Monaco for an afternoon of sightseeing before heading on to Lake Como for a two-day stint. Everybody is hoping to run into George Clooney in Como. :)

Nittany Lions Continue Working Through Training Camp

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion football team has reached day 11 of its first training camp under head coach Bill O'Brien.

O'Brien provided an update on how things have gone so far on Thursday afternoon during a conference call from his office inside the Lasch Football Building.

Penn State scrimmaged on Wednesday afternoon in Beaver Stadium under game-like conditions.  The squad ran more than 100 plays with first down markers, game officials and the coaches wearing headsets on the sidelines and in the press box.  Below are some comments and observations from O'Brien as the team inches closer to the Sept. 1 season opener against Ohio.

Offense:
- Matt McGloin has made superb progress at the quarterback position during training camp.  The senior quarterback is in command at the line scrimmage, and he has a very good grasp of O'Brien's offensive scheme.

"Matt McGloin has definitely solidified (the starting spot) there," O'Brien said.  "He's had a good camp. He's really got a good feel for how we operate. He's getting better every day."

- In the backfield, O'Brien said that Bill Belton has cemented his place in the starting lineup at the tailback position.  Belton looks more comfortable each practice.  The sophomore has quick feet, a strong cut-back ability and a low pad level.  Belton has put together two very good scrimmages, including an 80-yard touchdown run on Sunday.

"He's definitely cemented himself as a starter at this point," O'Brien said.  "Other guys will play, but Billy will start the game," said O'Brien.  "He's had a good camp, he had an 80-yard touchdown run two scrimmages ago, his pass protection has gotten a lot better, he's catching the ball out of the backfield. Billy's a good football player. And we've got some good players at that position -- we've got Derek Day who's had a good camp. We've got (Zach) Zwinak, he's had a good camp. We've got this freshman, Akeel Lynch that's come in here and really done a good job picking things up. So other guys will play, but Billy will start."

- Led by Allen Robinson, the Penn State receiving corps has six or seven players in its rotation, according to O'Brien.  The list includes a pair of newcomers to the roster - Trevor Williams and Eugene Lewis - who have made good strides in their first college training camp.

- Like the receiver position, Coach O'Brien noted good depth in the tight end stable.  Redshirt freshman Kyle Carter, junior Garry Gilliam, junior Matt Lehman and freshmen Jesse James and Brent Wilkerson are poised to be significant contributors at the tight end position.  Wilkerson has impressed the coaching staff during camp.

"At tight end, there are four or five guys there that will all play," O'Brien said.  "With the fifth guy, the addition, being Brent Wilkerson, who's really impressed us, as an incoming freshman here as a player."

- The offensive line has been a little banged up during camp, but the overall depth of the unit is good, and Coach O'Brien said the group has made the type of progress it needs to heading into the season.

"For the offensive line, you've got the usual suspects up there (in starting spots)," O'Brien said.  "We've got decent depth although we've been banged up a little bit lately. But looks like depth going into the next few weeks will be okay, so we feel pretty good about that."


Defense:
- As he has said throughout his time at Penn State, O'Brien said on Thursday that the front seven would be a strong unit of the 2012 Nittany Lions.  Jordan Hill, Da'Quan Jones, Pete Massaro and Sean Stanley are on track to start up front, but the defensive line rotation will be deep.  The same is true for the linebacker corps with Gerald Hodges, Michael Mauti and Glenn Carson in starting spots, but there are several players capable of providing significant playing time at linebacker.

"The linebackers, definitely (Michael) Mauti, (Gerald) Hodges, Glenn Carson (will start) and then Mike Hull," O'Brien said.  "Mike Yancich has had a good camp, Ben Kline, has shown flashes. We've got six guys there that we think can really help with the three starters being Mauti, Hodges & Carson. Glenn Carson's had an excellent camp, so has Hodges, really good camp."

- Coach O'Brien had this to say about the secondary unit:

"I have been very pleased with the secondary; I've been pleased with the defense as a whole. The secondary has a number of good returning players.  Also some younger players in there that we think could really help us like a Da'Quan Davis or Jordan Lucas. In addition to the obviously 'steady Eddies' back there - Stephon Morris, Malcolm Willis, Adrian Amos-he's had an excellent camp... Stephen Obeng's had a really good camp.  So I'm pretty happy with where those guys are at."


Special Teams:
- Sophomore placekicker Sam Ficken has separated himself in the battle for kicking duties for the Nittany Lions.  Ficken has been consistent on field goal attempts and routinely put the ball in the end zone on kickoffs.

"(Sam) Ficken has done a really nice job of placekicking," O'Brien said.  "His kickoffs look decent, his field goal range looks pretty decent.  I've been happy with Sam."

- Coach O'Brien noted on the conference call that the punting job is still open.

"I think the punting situation is still a little up in the air," O'Brien said.  "Alex (Butterworth) shows flashes, (Matt) Marcincin shows flashes and then the next punt isn't very good.  They really have to be a lot more consistent and I think that's still an on-going battle there."


The Nittany Lions practiced once on Thursday afternoon before a double session on Friday.




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VIDEO: Field Hockey Season Preview Interviews

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Charlene Morett is one week away from kicking off her 26th season at the helm of the Nittany Lion field hockey program.

With a blend of young talent and superb leadership from a strong senior class, Morett and the Lions are eager to open the 2012 campaign.  Coming off a Big Ten Tournament title in 2011, aspirations are high for the Nittany Lions, who open the season on Fri., Aug. 24 against Old Dominion at 5 p.m.  The Lions also host ACC power Virginia on Sun., Aug. 26 at noon during the opening weekend.  Penn State hosts an 11-game home schedule in the fall.

We stopped by preseason practice to get some insight on the 2012 season.  Take a look.



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VIDEO: Media Day Interviews - Gerald Hodges and Donovan Smith

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - During the next few days GoPSUsports.com will roll out a series of video interviews featuring several Nittany Lions from media day.  We continue today with senior linebacker Gerald Hodges and sophomore offensive tackle Donovan Smith.


Gerald Hodges



Donovan Smith




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European Tour Day 3: Lucas' 36 Points Lead Lady Lions to Win Over Le Havre on European Tour

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European Tour - Day 3 Photo Gallery

PARIS, FRANCE; August 15, 2012 - Junior guard Maggie Lucas (Narberth, Pa.) drained seven three-pointers en route to 36 points as the Penn State Lady Lions started their European Tour in style with a 96-55 win over French Third Division professional team Le Havre Tuesday evening.

 

Lucas, who was 7-for-15 from long range, also hauled in seven rebounds in the win. Senior guard Alex Bentley (Indianapolis, Ind.) posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists to go along with six steals, while Nikki Greene (Diboll, Texas) also chipped in a double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks.

 

Junior guard/forward Ariel Edwards (Elmont, N.Y.) notched double figures with 16 points, including 11 first-half tallies. Edwards added seven rebounds and four assists. Sophomore post player Tori Waldner (Milton, Ga.) had a strong second half, scoring seven of her nine points after the break.

 

The Lady Lions and Le Havre exchanged scores early on, but a 16-4 run by Penn State gave the Lions an 18-9 lead with just under three minutes left in the first quarter. Penn State extended their lead to 28-16 by the end of the first quarter. Lucas knocked down four first quarter three-pointers en route to 14 points. Edwards added six tallies in the opening frame to help pace the offense.

 

Penn State continued to keep the pressure on by opening the second frame with a 14-6 run to make it a 42-22 lead. The Lady Lions saw contributions from several players, including Greene, who had 10 points in the second quarter, as they extended their lead to 57-30 at the break. Penn State was 23-for-41 from the field and held Le Havre to just an 8-for-27 mark from the floor.

 

In the third quarter, the Lady Lions pushed the lead to 30 points (72-42) thanks in part to three points from Waldner and six more tallies from Lucas. Penn State held strong in the final frame and closed out the game for the 96-55 win.

 

The Lady Lions are back in action in Europe against the Italian All-Star Team on August 18 in Lake Como and on August 21 in Rome.

VIDEO: Media Day Interviews - Bill Belton and Adrian Amos

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - During the next few days GoPSUsports.com will roll out a series of video interviews featuring several Nittany Lions from media day.  We continue today with a pair of sophomores - running back Bill Belton and defensive back Adrian Amos.


Bill Belton


Adrian Amos



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VIDEO: Media Day Interviews - Michael Mauti and Allen Robinson

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - During the next few days GoPSUsports.com will roll out a series of video interviews featuring several Nittany Lions from media day.  We continue today with senior linebacker Michael Mauti and sophomore receiver Allen Robinson.

Michael Mauti



Allen Robinson




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VIDEO: European Tour - Day 1

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The Lady Lions' 2012 European Tour began with a breakfast at Cracker Barrel in State College. After a three-hour bus ride to Washington/Dulles airport and a seven-hour flight Paris (and don't forget the six-hour time change), the Lady Lions were on foreign soil with a full day's activities planned.

The team first stopped for some breakfast at a local bakery before heading on a bus tour of Paris. The bus tour included stops at the Eiffel Tower and the Musee de l'Armee. The team then headed to a beautiful local park, not far from the Notre Dame Cathedral to take in some of the sites and eat lunch.

After a short rest time, the team will be heading to a welcome dinner before going to a boat tour on the Seine, where they will see Paris in its full evening lights.

The Lady Lions will see their first game action tomorrow at 6 p.m. local time (noon ET) against LaHavre.




VIDEO: Sights and Sounds of Practice in Beaver Stadium

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head inside Beaver Stadium for sights and sounds of training camp practice.



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VIDEO: Meet the Men's Hockey Freshmen - Part II

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Wrapping up a two-part series to introduce the Penn State men's hockey freshmen on the Penn State campus this summer, meet defenseman Luke Juha and forward Curtis Loik.

Juha and Loik are almost two months away from helping Guy Gadowsky and the Nittany Lion men's hockey program kick off NCAA competition.  Hailing from Mississauga, Ont., Juha
played for the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League in 2011-12, registering two assists in 10 games.  He also helped lead Team Canada West to the 2011 World Junior "A" Challenge title.

Loik, a North Vancouver, B.C., native, was a
member of the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League for two seasons (2010-12).  In 2011-12, Loik appeared in 52 regular-season games and totaled 37 points (17g, 20a).

Juha and Loik recently took some time to interview one another.  Take a look.


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VIDEO: Media Day Interviews - Matt McGloin and Pete Massaro

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - During the next few days GoPSUsports.com will roll out a series of video interviews featuring several Nittany Lions from media day.  We kick things off with senior quarterback Matt McGloin and senior defensive end Pete Massaro.


Matt McGloin



Pete Massaro



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VIDEO: Nittany Lions Practice In Full Pads on Saturday

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The sounds of pads popping echoed through the air outside of the Lasch Football Building on Saturday morning as the Nittany Lions practiced in full pads for the first time during training camp.

Following five acclimation days, NCAA rules permit teams to practice in full pads during the sixth session of the fall.  Penn State conducted periods of individual drills and teaching, along with several periods of live scrimmaging while the squad worked on blitzing, two-minute offense, red zone work, seven-on-seven and a full team session on Saturday morning.

Saturday also marked the first day of double sessions for head coach Bill O'Brien and the Nittany Lions during 2012 training camp.  Penn State will practice once on Sunday afternoon before another two-a-day on Monday.  GoPSUsports.com caught up with senior linebacker Gerald Hodges and senior running back Michael Zordich, who was one of three current Nittany Lions who also graduated on Saturday, following the morning session.  Hear what Hodges and Zordich had to say about a physical practice in full pads.



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VIDEO: Football Media Day Player Interviews

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Hear from several Nittany Lions on Media Day in Beaver Stadium on Thursday.

Part I: Players Discuss Strength Program and Camp



Part II: Players Discuss Jersey Changes and Fan Support



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VIDEO: Media Day Interview with Charles London

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Throughout training camp, GoPSUsports.com will roll out a series of one-on-one interviews with several members of the football squad.  Today, we kick things off with a conversation featuring running backs coach Charles London.

See what London has to say about the running backs after the first few days of training camp.


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VIDEO: Women's Soccer Season Preview Interviews

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 14-time defending Big Ten champion Nittany Lion women's soccer team kicks off its exhibition season on Saturday at 7 p.m. against Villanova.

Head coach Erica Walsh enters her sixth season at the helm of the Nittany Lions.  Penn State officially opens its season in one week with a matchup against Virginia.  GoPSUsports.com paid a visit to training camp this week to catch up with Coach Walsh and pair of seniors - Maddy Evans and Maya Hayes - to preview the 2012 women's soccer season.


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VIDEO: Sights and Sounds of 2012 Football Media Day

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A video recap of Penn State Football Media Day and the fourth practice of training camp.



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2012 Football Media Day Central: Sights, Sounds and Photos

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VIDEO: Sights and Sounds of Media Day & Practice


Coach O'Brien Media Day Transcript

Media Day Photo Gallery


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Sunny skies, warm temperatures and nearly 200 members of the local and national media greeted the Nittany Lions football team at Beaver Stadium on Thursday for the 2012 version of Penn State football media day.

mediadayI.jpg


Head coach Bill O'Brien opened the day with a press conference in the Beaver Stadium Media Room.  From there, the Nittany Lions posed for the 2012 team photo, position photos and spoke the assembled media for nearly 60 minutes on the finely manicured sod in Beaver Stadium.

The theme of the day from O'Brien and the 2012 squad was an overall excitement to be back on the field practicing.  The Lions opened their first training camp under the direction of O'Brien on Monday morning at 6:15 a.m.  The media attended the first portion of Thursday's session, the fourth practice of the season.  The Nittany Lions will begin practice in full pads on Saturday morning.

"The morale's been excellent," O'Brien said.  "The first day we got them up early.  We got them up at 5:15.  These kids were ready to go.  They showed up early for practice that day.  Has everything been pretty at practice?  No.  But there's been a lot of hard working, a lot of guys out there that really care about each other, care about playing for Penn State, care about going to school here, and the morale's been excellent."

Senior quarterback Matt McGloin received a great deal of attention at media day.  The Scranton native will direct the Nittany Lion offense throughout preseason camp to get the squad ready for the season-opener on Sept. 1.  McGloin has made significant progress in his command at the line of scrimmage and decision making since the end of spring practice, O'Brien said.

"This is a guy that the more you're around him, the more you enjoy coaching him," O'Brien said.  "I would say the same about all four of these guys, Paul Jones, Shane McGregor, and Steven Bench.  These are good guys to be around.  But Matt is competitive; he's smart; he's understanding defenses better; he's understanding what formation, what play we're in, and what the best plays are to run versus the defense that he sees.  So I've seen a lot of progress with Matt, and it's been a lot of fun watching it."

Sophomore Bill Belton has stepped into the starting spot behind McGloin in the backfield.  Clad in a new number (No. 1), Belton is another player O'Brien heralded for his progress from the Blue-White Game through the first few practices of fall camp.

"I said you went with the receivers (during winter workouts) and I said where you going?" O'Brien said.  "He said 'I'm a receiver.'  No, you're a running back.  So we put him at running back, and he showed us he has really good feet.  He's got a unique ability to be able to balance, put his hand on the ground ask balance himself and spin.  He's done a much better job, knock on wood, in the first three days of ball security.  He has really good hands out of the backfield.  So I feel good about Billy.  I think he's grown up in the last six or seven months.  I think Charles London has done a heck of a job coaching him. "

On the defensive side of the ball, the Penn State front seven is poised to play a central role in the success of the team.  Led by seniors Jordan Hill and Pete Massaro on the line and veteran linebackers Glenn Carson, Gerald Hodges and Micheal Mauti, Coach O'Brien thinks the front seven is the top group on the roster.

"With depth on the defensive line and the linebackers, the front seven is the strength of our football team," O'Brien said.

At this point in training camp, Coach O'Brien noted that the defense is slightly ahead of the offense, but that is expected as the offensive unit continues to learn the new playbook and new assignments each day of camp.  One thing is certain, O'Brien and the Nittany Lions love spending time on the practice field working towards the start of the season.

"Training camp is awesome," O'Brien said.  "Training camp is a lot of fun.  I mean, that's where when you were growing up and you went to camp, everybody loved going to camp.  Well, this is you're going to camp with a team.  You're starting to come together as a team and you're bonding."

The Nittany Lions are 23 days away from the opener against Frank Solich and the Ohio Bobcats on Sept. 1 in Beaver Stadium.


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VIDEO: Meet the Men's Hockey Freshmen - Part I

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Kicking off a two-part series to introduce the Penn State men's hockey freshmen on the Penn State campus this summer, meet defenseman Connor Varley and goalie Matthew Skoff.

Varley and Skoff are less than three months away from helping Guy Gadowsky and the Nittany Lion men's hockey program kick off NCAA competition.  A Lansdale, Pa., native, Varley comes to Penn State after appearing in 60 games with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League in 2011-12.  Varley was a member of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL in 2010-11.

Skoff, who hails from Mckees Rocks, Pa., spent the past three seasons with the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League.  In 2011-12, Skoff compiled a 25-22 record in goal.  He recorded six shutouts and was sixth in the league in save percentage (.912) and goals-against average (2.72).

Varley and Skoff took some time to interview one another.  Take a look.


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VIDEO: European Tour - Thoughts on European Cuisine?

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UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The Lady Lions are only five days away from heading to France and Italy for their 10-day European Tour. Check out some of the Lady Lions' thoughts on food as they prepare to head across the pond.

VIDEO: Post-Practice Player Interviews - August 7

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Under sunny skies, the Nittany Lions completed their second practice of 2012 training camp on Tuesday afternoon.

The squad practiced in helmets and shorts again on day two of training camp.  Under NCAA rules, the Lions cannot practice in full pads until Saturday's session.  Following a competitive practice, we caught up with senior center Matt Stankiewitch and junior safety Malcolm Willis for their thoughts on the first two days of training camp.


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VIDEO: Coach O'Brien Remarks on the Uniform Changes

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUsports.com talks with Coach O'Brien about the changes to the uniforms heading into the 2012 season.


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VIDEO: European Tour - What Are You Looking Forward To?

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UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The Lady Lions continue their preparations for their 10-day European Tour. Hear what some of the Lady Lions are most looking forward to on the trip to France and Italy.


VIDEO: Coach O'Brien Meets the Media After Practice One

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien addressed the media following Monday's first official practice of the 2012 season.  The Nittany Lions will practice 29 times during training camp.

Take a look at Coach O'Brien's remarks.



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Nittany Lions Kick Off Training Camp for 2012 Season

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VIDEO: Coach O'Brien Addresses the Media Following Practice One


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the sun began to rise over a hazy Mount Nittany on Monday morning, head coach Bill O'Brien and the Nittany Lion football team opened a new chapter with the first official practice of 2012 training camp.

Exactly seven months from the day O'Brien was hired to lead the program, the squad hit the finely manicured fields adjacent to the Lasch Football Complex at 6:15 a.m. on Monday to kick off preparations for the season.  Coach O'Brien couldn't sleep on Sunday night with the excitement of the first day of practice.  He arrived to work at 4:45 a.m. ready to lead the team into its first of 29 allotted practices before the season-opener against Ohio.

"Just like every team in the country, you only have 29 practice opportunities, so every single day we come onto the practice field, we can only do two things - we can get better, or we can get worse," O'Brien said.  "We will be more consistent tomorrow when we come out here, and we are going to try and improve on the mistakes we made today, and we are going to try to improve on the things we did well today.  We just need to keep improving and getting better."

Like it did during the spring season, practice moved at a swift pace with players hustling from station to station following each period.  Monday's first session included a walk through, special teams work, positional drills, 7-on-7 and scrimmaging.

"It wasn't great at all times, but we made some good plays out here and we just need to keep getting better each day throughout camp," O'Brien said after practice.

The Nittany Lions moved into the Nittany Hall dorm on Sunday, the team's home for the duration of preseason practice.  The student-athletes have been counting down the days to the start of training camp, and the squad was thrilled to be back on the field focusing on football.

"We had a good team meeting on Sunday, and we have a close team with a strong senior class," O'Brien said.

With summer classes still in session, the Nittany Lions have scheduled practices around the academic schedule this week..  Final exams for the summer academic session will be held on Friday.

Under NCAA rules, teams are not permitted to practice in full pads until the sixth practice of the fall.  The Lions practiced in helmets, shorts and jerseys on Monday.  The Nittany Lions will practice once per day each day this week leading up Saturday's full-padded practice.  Saturday is also the first two-a-day session of the training camp season.

The true freshmen on the roster did not participate in the opening practice of the season.  To get acclimated to the practice structure, the true freshmen will practice on Monday night before participating in the full-team practice on Tuesday.

Football is back in the air in Happy Valley.



Practice Notes:

- Following each practice during training camp, each member of the roster will get weighed and then soak in a two-person cold tub to assist with total body recovery, similar to the structure numerous NFL teams use.

practice1_3a.jpg


- After wearing No. 5 as a true freshman, sophomore tailback Bill Belton practiced in the No. 1 jersey for the first time on Monday.  Coach O'Brien said after practice that this is Belton's opportunity to shine for the Nittany Lions.

- The Nittany Lions will practice in the afternoon on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Media day is Thursday in Happy Valley.


Stay tuned for video and photos from day one of training camp...


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VIDEO: Meet the Women's Volleyball Freshmen - Kendall Pierce

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion women's volleyball team will intensify its preparations for the 2012 season with the first day of official practice in less than one week away.

Four newcomers joined the roster since the Lions last played a match.  We wrap up a series of interviews with the freshmen getting set to kick off their first season in Penn State blue and white.

Today, we talk with 5-6 defensive specialist Kendall Pierce.  An Eden, N.Y., native, Pierce was a three-year letterwinner and two-year captain at Eden High School.  She helped lead her team to ECIC and Sectional titles four times and a state title three times.  Pierce was named MVP of the state title during her senior season.  Meet Kendall Pierce.



VIDEO: Meet Megan Courtney

VIDEO: Meet Lara Caraway

VIDEO: Meet Paulina Prieto Cerame


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VIDEO: Football Lettermen Remarks on the Penn State Experience

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - More than 275 Penn State football lettermen were in Happy Valley on Tuesday evening to meet with Coach O'Brien and the current squad members to pledge their support of the program moving forward.

Hear what some of them had to say about the Penn State experience.


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VIDEO: Football Underclassmen Player Remarks, Part II

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions are four days away from the first day of official practice.  We talked with several underclassmen on the squad who are counting down the days until the start of the 2012 season.

Today, GoPSUsports.com caught up with sophomore wide receiver Alex Kenney and freshman guard Angelo Mangiro for their thoughts on upcoming season and their commitment to the program.



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VIDEO: Football Lettermen Pledge Their Support to Current Team

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - More than 275 Penn State football lettermen were in Happy Valley on Tuesday evening to meet with Coach O'Brien and the current squad members to pledge their support of the program moving forward.

We talked with several lettermen about why they visited town on Tuesday.  Take a look.



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VIDEO: Meet the Women's Volleyball Freshmen - Paulina Prieto Cerame

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion women's volleyball team will intensify its preparations for the 2012 season with the first day of official practice in less than one week away.

Four newcomers joined the roster since the Lions last played a match.  We continue a series of interviews with the freshmen getting set to kick off their first season in Penn State blue and white.

Today, we talk with 6-2 outside hitter Paulina Prieto Cerame.  Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Prieto Cerame was a three-year team captain at Palmer Trinity School in Miami, Fla.  The three-time All-Miami Dade County first team selection was named Miami Herald Player of the Year twice in her high school career.  Meet Paulina Prieto Cerame.



VIDEO: Meet Megan Courtney

VIDEO: Meet Lara Caraway


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VIDEO: One-on-One with LB Gerald Hodges

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State senior linebacker Gerald Hodges enters the 2012 season as a potential All-American candidate on the Nittany Lion defense.  The New Jersey product would not trade the opportunity to play in front of 107,000 people for anything.



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