Day I Coverage in Ireland | Photo Gallery
DUBLIN, Ireland. - With the season-opener looming on Saturday inside Croke Park (8:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2), it was business as usual for the Nittany Lions on Thursday in their game preparations in Ireland.
The team held its normal team and position meetings in the morning before traveling to University College of Dublin (UCD) for practice. The Lions finished a busy Thursday in Ireland with a team meal at the Guinness Storehouse high above the Dublin skyline.
Head coach James Franklin was pleased with the team's focus level at practice on Thursday, and he said that he feels like the team is ready for the opener against UCF.
"We got really good work done. We basically repeated yesterday's practice, but went full speed," Franklin said. "Mother Nature cooperated. The weather is beautiful. We got a lot of really good work done...I think the guys have had a really good experience. The hotel has been unbelievable. The GAA has been unbelievable. And we are excited to get out there and play."
The team will hold its normal walkthrough on Friday at UCD before meetings and a team meal on Friday evening. Franklin said he feels good about where the team is heading into the final day of prep for Saturday's game.
"I think every day that it gets closer there is more anticipation," Franklin said. "There is no doubt about that. But I'm not a guy that gets excited until the morning of the game. Usually, I sleep very well the night before the game. I wake up that morning and kind of get those butterflies. In the locker room, I get the butterflies. And things like that. But before that, there are things like today that we have to get cleaned up that are on our mind. Until all of those things are done, that's where my focus is."
James Franklin Practice Update - Thursday
Following the practice session on Thursday, the Nittany Lions received an interactive informational session on Gaelic football and hurling, two games that are a fixture in Ireland. The Lions split into groups for hands-on instruction for both sports before professionals put on an exhibition of the two sports. Cormac o'Donnoha, Director of Experience Gaelic Games, led the instruction at UCD. Take a look.
The day concluded
with a terrific factory tour and meal at the Guinness Storehouse in downtown
Dublin. The team visited several levels of the factory before congregating on
the fifth floor of the building for a buffet dinner. The building where the
Storehouse is located was built in 1902 as a fermentation plant for the St.
James's Gate Brewery. It was the first multi-story steel-framed structure to be
built in Ireland.
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