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August 2016 Archives

VIDEO: Practice Updates - Kent State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  Head coach James Franklin and Nyeem Wartman-White met with the media following Wednesday's practice at the Lasch Football Complex.

Penn State is set to square off against Kent State in its 2016 season opener Saturday, Sept. 3 at 3:30 p.m. in Beaver Stadium. Check in with Franklin and Wartman-White for updates from practice during game week.

James Franklin

Nyeem Wartman-White


2016 Tuesday Press Conference Roundup - Kent State

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Transcript: James Franklin Transcript: Players 2016 Depth Chart VIDEO: Player Q&A with DaeSean Hamilton & Parker Cothren

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State head coach James Franklin kicked off game week media availability, meeting with the media Tuesday afternoon to preview the newly released depth chart as well as the 2016 season opener against Kent State.

The Nittany Lions open the 130th season of Penn State football Saturday with a 3:30 matchup (BTN) against the Golden Flashes in Beaver Stadium. Franklin took time to meet with several media members, answering an assortment of game one related questions.

"It's amazing to me that time has flown by and we're already in week one of the season," Franklin said. "I am excited to watch the team open the season in Beaver Stadium starting at home. We've been very, very pleased with what they did this summer as well as in camp. [The team] had an excellent camp in our opinion."

Several new changes will be on display in full force Saturday afternoon, but perhaps one of the largest changes comes in the debut of quarterback Trace McSorley, who will take the reins of the offense for the first time. Nerves and jitters are no issue for McSorley though, who has been described by Franklin as "Steady Eddie."

"He's a guy that doesn't get too high, doesn't get too low," Franklin said. "He's kind of the same guy."

Wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton shared the same thoughts on McSorley's calm nature ahead of the opener.

"I haven't seen any nervousness from him," Hamilton said. "Ever since he was announced as a starter, he took that role and ran with it. He's just ready to lead this team to the best of his capabilities."

Along with McSorely, Penn State fans will get a chance to see the new up-tempo style offense, engineered in large part by first year offensive coordinator Joe Moorehead.

"Joe's done a great job, not only from a schematic standpoint, but I really think just the leadership and the motivation on that side of the ball has been really helpful," Franklin said.

With a stacked group of receivers featuring starters in Hamilton, Chris Godwin and Saeed Blacknall along with a running back group led by Saquon Barkley all the pieces of the offensive puzzle are certainly present.

 

"My focus is on, let's get to the stadium and let's allow people to form opinions based on what they see," Franklin said.

 

The Nittany Lions enter 2016 with a new look on the defensive line following NFL departures. Among many changes, Parker Cothren not only moves into a starting role this year, but also a leadership role.

 

"I worked harder this year than I probably have in the past, having everyone look to me when they have questions, trying to be that guy that AJ (Austin Johnson ) and (Anthony)  Zettel were to me, to them; taking that leadership role," Cothren said.

 

Penn State will also see significant leadership from its senior class, which consisting of just 12 senior-eligible players is tied for the second-fewest in the FBS.  Among the group of seniors are captains Brian Gaia, Brandon Bell and Von Walker.

 

"Of the things that I think are interesting, you look at our three senior captains which we are very, very proud of what those guys brought to the table this summer, and the team voted for those guys," Franklin said. "It was overwhelming."

 

ON THE QUOTE BOARD
-Parker Cothren has worn his No. 41 jersey nearly his entire life across all sports he has ever played. Why No. 41?

"It actually started back in elementary school when my favorite channel on TV was 41. When asked what number I wanted to be, I said 41."

 

And that favorite channel? Cartoon Network.

 

-The first release of the depth chart featured five true freshmen who could all be called upon to make an impact in their very first season in the Blue and White. Franklin has confidence in the physical ability of his newest Nittany Lions.

 

"They are ready to play," Franklin said. "Mentally they are catching up day by day. Will Fries is a guy who has done some good things in a short period of time on campus and earned a lot of people's respect."

 

"Connor McGovern had a little bit of a head start being here for spring ball, and Michal Menet is another guy that's done some really nice things and has been able to get a lot of reps with our guys and our number one unit in practice."

 

-Making the move to the slot, DaeSean Hamilton took spent time in the offseason building strength and increasing muscle mass to adjust to bigger defenders.

 

The advantages of making the move?

 

"Just going against guys that aren't really used to covering, people that have played wide receiver or that have played outside and are finally moving inside, going against safeties, they are the more aggressive guys that are looking to come in and stop the run, especially in the Big Ten which is a run-heavy conference," Hamilton said.

 

"Then going against linebackers, as well, being able to just definitely take advantage of that mishmash because they definitely don't cover a lot, especially against wide receivers. It's really just putting my advantages to everyone else's weaknesses, so it really has played out in my favor and it's been a good move."

VIDEO: Kent State Week Player Q&As

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - GoPSUSports.com talks with wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton and defensive tackle Parker Cothren ahead of opening weekend against Kent State. 

DaeSean Hamilton


Parker Cothren

Depth Chart Released for Opener vs. Kent State

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  Head coach James Franklin released a depth chart heading into the 2016 season opener against Kent State Tuesday morning.

The first depth chart of the fall season features a little bit of everything, from veteran returnees to new faces poised to rise to an opportunity for the very first time.  

Penn State's offense includes a host of powerful returnees with significant experience as well as newcomers who possess the potential to make an impact in the new up-tempo style offense.

Newly appointed signal caller Trace McSorley steps into a starting role for the first time in the season opener. McSorley will have no shortage of options though, with a wealth of talent returning at both receiver and running back. 

Led by Preseason All-Big Ten selection sophomore Saquon Barkley, Penn State's running back group features nothing but talent. Barkley is joined by redshirt freshman Andre Robinson, redshirt sophomore Mark Allen and true freshman Miles Sanders on the depth chart.  

On the offensive line, at least six players with starting experience are listed. Having made the move from right guard to center, senior Brian Gaia will lead in the middle, with redshirt freshman Ryan Bates at left guard and redshirt senior Derek Dowrey at right guard. Redshirt junior Brendan Mahon is listed at the top spot at left tackle with returning starter Andrew Nelson at right tackle. With 91 retuning career starts, Penn State's offensive line is the 17th most experienced in the unit in the country and second-most experienced group in the Big Ten.

Returning starter Mike Gesicki returns at tight end, with redshirt junior Tom Pancoast and redshirt freshman Jonathan Holland also included on the depth chart.  

Redshirt sophomore DaeSean Hamilton (H) and juniors Chris Godwin (X) and Saeed Blacknall (Z) are the starting receivers listed, but the Nittany Lions are stacked with potential at the position. In addition to the trio, DeAndre Thompkins, Brandon Polk, Juwan Johnson and Irvin Charles are just a few returners who could also play a role in the rotation.

Following some sizeable departures to the NFL, the Nittany Lion defensive line has reloaded with a fairly new look this year, especially in the front seven.

Junior Garrett Sickels will anchor the line as the only returning starter at defensive end. He's joined by senior Evan Schwan at the end position.  Junior Parker Cothren and redshirt freshman Kevin Givens will both take over at the tackle position, with Cothren having the most experience following a 2015 season that included 13 tackles and three multi-tackle outings.

Coming off a 2015 season cut short due to an injury, Nyeem Wartman-White returns to lead at the weak side linebacker spot, with 2015 All-Big Ten honorable mention selection Jason Cabinda at middle linebacker. Between the two, Wartman-White and Cabinda have more than 40 combined career starts. Returning veteran Brandon Bell is also listed on the top line at the strong side linebacker spot.

2015 All-Big Ten honorable mention selections Marcus Allen (free safety) and Grant Haley (cornerback) return to highlight the Nittany Lion secondary. Sophomore John Reid and (cornerback) and senior Malik Golden (strong safety) also return having each appeared in 13 games in 2015.

Junior Tyler Davis is listed as the top kicker, while true freshman Blake Gillikin is listed as the top punter. Junior Chris Gulla returns for another season as the top holder, while Tyler Yazujian also returns as the Nittany Lions' top long snapper. Redshirt sophomore Nick Scott and Barkley are listed as the top two kick returners, while senior Gregg Garrity and Thompkins will handle the punt returns.

A total of seven true freshmen are listed on the depth chart including five on offense. The complete list includes: Will Fries (LT), Michal Menet (LG), Connor McGovern (RG), Jake Zembiec (QB), Miles Sanders (RB), Blake Gillikin (P) and Alex Barbir (K). 

Penn State is set to open the 2016 season at home for the first time since 2012 Saturday, Sept. 3, welcoming Kent State for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff in Beaver Stadium.

Composure Key in 2-0 Opening Weekend

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
  It was less than a week ago that Penn State field hockey head coach Char Morett-Curtiss met with the media during fall sports media day, answering one reporter's question regarding what changes would be coming in 2016.

Her response was composure.

"We lost five games in the last five minutes just giving up goals," Morett-Curtiss said. "I think that's something that we have definitely been talking about and working on, is just that composure out of the back field a little more."

Opening the 2016 season at home with traditional opponent Old Dominion, No. 18 Penn State saw an early deficit as the No. 20 Monarchs scored in the second minute of play. A goal from junior Moira Putsch tied the score, but ODU's Danielle Grega scored again to make it 2-1. The Nittany Lions scored once more to even it up 2-2, heading to halftime with the score locked.

"I think we were really nervous," Morrett-Curtiss said. "It's the home opener, there are a lot of fresh faces out there and I think we just needed to settle down and just play our game."

Finding composure, the Nittany Lions came out of the break with four unanswered goals, including another from Putsch and one apiece from seniors Brooke Birosik and Kirsten Gochnauer.

With a 6-2 win in the season-opener under their belt, the Nittany Lions entered Sunday's mid-afternoon matchup looking to sustain the same composure against fifth-ranked Virginia.

The Nittany Lions struck first in the opening half as sophomore Aurelia Meijer fired high from the top of the circle to give Penn State a 1-0 lead.

Penn State continued to control possession throughout the remainder of the first half, with junior Skyler Fretz leading the back field and helping to limit the Cavaliers to just one first half corner opportunity.

"I was just thriving off of everyone's energy and I felt like we were all here and everyone be on and ready pumped everyone up," Fretz said.

The Nittany Lion attack started clicking in the second half as junior Shay Cannon made it a 2-0 advantage off a feed from Putsch. Sophomore Gini Bramley found the back of the cage less than five minutes later - on her birthday, widening the margin to three.  

Without surrendering a single goal and allowing just one more corner opportunity, Penn State held on for its first home victory against a top-five team since topping No. 3 Old Dominion 5-3 in 2012.

"I think just getting that first game under your belt is real important," Morrett-Curtiss sad. "We just talked about how we felt when that game started and those jitters are gone now and we grew as that game went on, but we need to make sure that we start at the beginning of the game and plan on playing hard for 70 minutes."

Sophomore goalie Jenny Rizzo also earned her second career shutout, while also closing out the day with four saves.

"Obliviously the shut out is on me, but I think my defense did a great job with Skyler [Fretz] and the rest of us back there just to keep them [Virginia] outside the circle, keep the shots low and if it wasn't for them - they had one defensive save so they really helped me out there," Rizzo said.

Morett-Curtiss was also quick to give recognition to the Nittany Lion defense.

"I thought Skyler Fretz played the best she's played in a Penn State field hockey game. She just played with such composure. So I think Skyler really set the tone for our back field and I think Jenny [Rizzo] was there and she had an answer for every shot."

At 2-0, Penn State will hit the road for its first road trip of the 2016 campaign next week, traveling first to Temple before traveling to Albany to square off against its second 2015 NCAA Tournament team of the season.

But for this weekend, Morett-Curtiss sees the progress her team has made in taking a big step toward full composure.

"With such a high quality opponent like Virginia, we didn't get frazzled and we really stuck to the game plan as we brought the ball out of our backfield," Morett-Curtiss said.

Nittany Lions at 2-1 after Penn State Classic

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Nittany Lions Win Two, Lose One in Penn State Classic
By Anita Nham, GoPSUsports.com Student Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa - The No. 9 Penn State women's volleyball team has started the 2016 season 2-1 after sweeping West Virginia (25-13, 25-13, 25-17) and Georgia Southern (25-13, 25-12, 25-7), but falling to No. 19 North Carolina in five sets (25-16, 22-25, 25-21, 23-25, 11-15). The Tarheels were crowned winners of the Penn State Classic this weekend.

Though the Nittany Lions fell short in their final match of the tournament, their constant determination and two victories would not have been possible if it weren't for the guidance and leadership from the returning veterans.

Junior Simone Lee powered the offense throughout the weekend recording double figure in kills in two of three matches. Lee notched 10 kills against the Mountaineers on Friday evening, eight kills against the Eagles and 23 kills against the Tarheels on Saturday.

"I thought Simone was a hammer the whole [Saturday] night," head coach Russ Rose said. "I thought Simone was taking big swings all night long, and I thought that that was really cool for her."

Lee's 23 kills against North Carolina was also a career-high for her. In addition, she added 10 digs for her first career double-double.

"[The career-best] is a positive coming out of the game...but it shouldn't be just one person getting all the kills," Lee said. "I'm happy to see that I got a career-high of 23 kills, but it's about all of us. It's about all of us working hard together, all of us spreading the offense. It can't just be one person getting every single swing. I think in practice, that's what we need to work on."

Junior Haleigh Washington also made an impact this weekend registering10 kills, three blocks and a .714 hitting efficiency against West Virginia on Friday evening. In the match against Georgia Southern, Washington finished with a team-high five blocks and tied for second with seven kills. Saturday evening, Washington continued to help the team, tying for second on the squad with 11 kills and five total blocks.

Nonetheless, numerous underclassmen and newcomers marked their collegiate debut in a big way this weekend. Freshman Kendall White led the team with 16 digs in her collegiate debut against the Mountaineers and a career-high of 17 digs against the Tarheels. Junior Abby Detering handed out a team-high 29 assists on Friday evening and 23 assists in the opening set against the Tarheels.

Following the season opening win against the Mountaineers, Rose had positive things to say about White and Detering's performances.

"I thought we received a really good effort from two newcomers," Rose said. "I thought Kendall [White] did a good job passing and playing defense, and Abby [Detering] did a nice job moving the ball around and getting a few kills at the net."

A loss at Rec Hall was not what the Nittany Lions were looking for, but they're using it as a stepping stone to see what they need to work on for their upcoming matches.

"Obviously, it's not a good feeling to lose, especially on home court in front of all the people that support us for many years," Lee said. "I think what we need to do is, it's not about talking about it anymore...it's go time. Coach always talks about it. It's our decision when we step into the court for practice about whether or not we're going to go to the ball, going to take big swings, going to be there for our teammates or going to play together. It's time, and that's what we need to do. It's a terrible feeling to lose. It's a terrible feeling to lose at home, and I don't think anyone wants to experience that again."

Penn State is back in action next week, traveling to Boulder, Colorado for a pair of tough Pac-12 matchups. The Nittany Lions meet Colorado first before taking on No. 11 Stanford in the final match of the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge.

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By Anna Pitingolo, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State saw a record number of athletes competing at this summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and, with the start of classes, now has one of those athletes back on campus. 

Swimmer Shane Ryan competed for Ireland at the games in the 100-meter backstroke and 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle, and while he didn't bring home any hardware, he brought back a wealth of experience. 

"Not only did I just make the Olympics, I made the semifinal at the Olympics, so top 16 in the world," said the Haverford, Pa. native. "So all I can do is take what I can from that, even though I didn't swim as well as I wanted to in the semifinal, you always can learn from a swim. No matter if it's a bad swim or a good swim, you always can take what you can and move onto the next one."

As a senior on the Penn State swim team, Ryan now has a role as leader to the younger members. With his combined time as a collegiate and Olympic swimmer, Ryan is ready to pass along his expertise.

"I can take everything I learned to many other meets here at Penn State and try to mentor the younger guys here and try to pass my knowledge on to them," Ryan said. "So I'm just here to teach people and try to make myself better, and I'm trying to make them better as well."

Head coach Tim Murphy is looking forward to Ryan's new role as a leader on the team as well. And Murphy is excited that his team was able to bond over their support of Ryan while he was in Rio.

"Anytime you have an athlete of that caliber, it just helps the common bond of the team," Murphy said. "I think Shane having become more mature and experienced, the success that he has had more aligns with the goals that he has now and the goals he has for the team. It just helps bring the team that much more together and it's going to be a great year for us."

Ryan made the decision to try and compete for Ireland towards the end of his junior year at Penn State. He comes from an Irish background and has had his Irish passport for the past six years. Ryan's dad, Tom, came over from Ireland 30 years ago and "has yet to lose his accent," while his mom, Mary Beth, is on the board for Philadelphia's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

While he was training in Ireland, there was no shortage of family for Ryan to hang out with. Tom Ryan is one of ten children and is the only one that moved to the United States, so Shane Ryan was able to visit the rest of his family every weekend.

Once in Rio, Ryan bumped into Olympic legend Michael Phelps and got to talk to him for a few minutes when Phelps mistook the logo on Ryan's hat for something else. 

"Phelps came up to me and I was talking to him because I had an Irish hat on and it had kind of the same crest that the Pine Valley Club has in New Jersey," Ryan said. "I had played there once or twice so we got into talking about playing at Pine Valley. He's just a normal dude and it was really cool." 

As the new semester begins in Happy Valley, Ryan is back to bumping into classmates instead of bumping into Olympians, but he is ready to get back in the classroom and earn his degree.

"I've been excited to get back to class just so I can get my degree because there is a life after swimming," Ryan said. "I'm going to take swimming as far as I can after college but there is a life after swimming and just having a Penn State degree, you can't beat that."

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By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Frannie Crouse led a heroic second half comeback, but Penn State (1-1-1) conceded a late goal and fell to BYU 3-2 on Friday night at Jeffrey Field.

 

BYU's Ashley Hatch netted a hat trick to lead the Cougars to a rare victory at Jeffrey Field. The Nittany Lions have only lost five games at home since 2011.

 

After going down 2-0 in the 57th minute, all seemed finalized for Penn State. But Frannie Crouse had other ideas.

 

In the 62nd minute Crouse headed home a beautiful cross from Haleigh Echard to give PSU a glimmer of hope.

 

"The ball from Haleigh was absolutely perfect," said Crouse. "We've been working on getting on the end of those during practice. Once she beat the girl I kind of felt like I should finish it."

 

The goal was Crouse's first of 2016.

 

Four minutes later Crouse decided to share the love and let someone else get in on the fun. After beating her defender for a free ball, Crouse calmly sent a ball into the box in front of Charlotte Williams, who gathered and finished with a curling left-footed shot to tie the game at two.

 

"I had Charlotte who was wide open, and she was calling for it so I figured if I just slip her in she would have a wide open shot so luckily she finished it," said Crouse. "It was a great shot by her."

 

Williams' goal was her third on the young season. She leads the team in goals so far.

 

Crouse, being a junior, is stepping into a leadership role this season and illustrated it in this game. The team was down after surrendering two goals, but Crouse provided the spark to bring Penn State level.

 

"Frannie's always done that for us," said head coach Erica Dambach. "I think her pace is obviously terrifying for back lines, and when she starts to feel it then we can follow her."

 

With only seconds left on the clock, PSU almost tied the game again, but Laura Freigang's shot hit the crossbar and was cleared before anyone could recover the rebound.

 

The Nittany Lions are still trying to figure out the perfect substitutions and lineups with so many new players, but they showed a string of chemistry to come back and tie the game. The first half brought not enough pushing forward, but PSU looked much sharper in the second frame.

 

"We changed how we were playing," said Dambach. "In the first half we were trying to save some energy to attack, and that comes out in our defense right now. Certainly we can run, run, run if we have the depth to do it, but in some cases we don't, so we got to make sure we're smart on both sides of the ball."

 

Learning from early losses is a key part of developing as a team.

 

"You grow from these moments," said Dambach. "We're still trying to figure out the grit within this team, and if this team can come back from this loss and dig in, we've got a big road trip coming up ahead of us. We'll learn a lot from the way that we respond to this loss."

 

"This is a game we're going to have to learn from and take from," said Crouse. "Hopefully our games after this we'll take a little bit from this game and show it in the next couple and throughout the whole season."

 

Penn State gets a week off to work out the rust and get ready for UCLA and Long Beach State next weekend. The Nittany Lions will return to Jeffrey Field on September 9th to take on San Diego State.

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By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Home field advantage is a very real sports phenomenon.

 

There are stadiums and arenas around the country that strike fear into the hearts of visiting opponents, even before they board the plane or bus to make the journey.

 

Oracle Arena, CenturyLink Field and Lambeau Field, among others, possess unmatched atmospheres created by die-hard fans that fuel their teams to perform at its highest possible level. A great fan base can quite literally add wins to a team's season.

 

In the realm of women's college soccer there is no place that illustrates this more than Jeffrey Field. It's an intimidating ground that chews up even the strongest enemies and spits them out when it's finished with them.

 

Since 2011, Penn State is 56-4-5 on Jeffrey Field. For head coach Erica Dambach and her troops, it seems like more of a home field certainty than a home field advantage at this point.

 

"Every time we go out on the field we always say protect Jeffrey," said forward Megan Shafer. "That's one of the biggest things coach always says. It's a sacred ground to play on. It's just an honor to wear that jersey on that field."

 

The biggest fuel to the fire that is the Jeffrey Field atmosphere is the student section called the Park Avenue Army. The Park Avenue Army is a wild group of loud, dedicated Penn State students with large drums and seemingly unending singing voices that show up early to every home contest and keep the crowd engaged all game.

 

"They drive the environment at Jeffrey Field," Dambach said. "They drive the atmosphere. They are one of the main reasons why opponents hate coming in to play us. I think that college players want to play in front of their peers. When we walk out and we can hear The Park Avenue Army on Jeffrey Field it just raises the energy."

 

This season, the group is even more prevalent than in previous years. For the home opener against No. 6 West Virginia, the rowdy crew led the team onto the field and will do so for every home game.

 

This was new for everyone on the team, but for freshman Laura Suero, it was her first ever experience at Jeffrey Field wearing blue and white.

 

"My nerves are going crazy before walking out," said Suero. "You can hear them in the locker room and you can hear the crowd. It was probably one of the most amazing experiences walking out onto Jeffrey Field."

 

Penn State played West Virginia to a 1-1 draw in front of a record setting 5,791 fans, the most ever for a women's soccer game at Jeffrey Field.

 

"It was just an incredible feeling," said Shafer. "This atmosphere to play on Jeffrey Field, we couldn't ask for anything better, especially on opening night."

 

The environment was electric, and it all starts with The Park Avenue Army. It had the crowd chanting "We are... Penn State" and various songs to keep the energy from ever dying down.

 

Coach Dambach, although she has a job to do, sometimes gets caught up in the fun. Her favorite songs The Army performs are "Sweet Frannie Crouse" because of her deep Neil Diamond fandom and, of course, "Walsh's World."

 

Defending home field is a goal of every team in the country, but for Penn State it's a necessity. Coach Dambach believes her team is better than any team in the country on Jeffrey Field, and she has made a point to schedule tougher teams at home to test her squad.

 

West Virginia is a top-ten team capable of winning a championship, and Penn State will play No. 15 BYU next in Happy Valley. It's a challenging start to a new year, but that's just the way Penn State likes it.

 

"Because of the environment that's created, it doesn't scare us to bring anybody in to this place," said Dambach. "We feel like the atmosphere can lift us over any opponent. For us, if you come into our home it's protect Jeffrey. I dare you."'

 

If the United States Women's National Team came to Jeffrey Field and suited up against Penn State, the Nittany Lions would expect to put up a fight with The Park Avenune Army and almost 6,000 fans behind them.

 

The friendly confines of Jeffrey Field drastically improves the team's energy and all-around play. It's an unrivaled atmosphere in college soccer.

 

"Every time we step out on the field, defending Jeffrey is one of our biggest aspects," said Suero. "Playing your heart out, playing for your teammates, for your community, for your coaches and each other it's just one big family and it is awesome playing out on Jeffrey."

 

Dambach puts it best.

 

"There is literally no better place on a Friday night than Jeffrey Field."

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Christian Campbell

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What is your favorite part about training camp?
My favorite part is practice because I love playing football.

What is your least favorite part about training camp?
My least favorite part is waking up early, I'm not a morning person.

Who is your toughest match-up on the team?
My toughest matchup is Chris Godwin. He is very consistent and he plays at the next level.

What is your refueling drink of choice at training camp?
My refueling drink is a Gatorade. I sweat a lot, so you have to drink a lot of water and Gatorade.

What is the best meal at training table?
The best meal is the lamb. It's really good. We only get that on Thursdays.

What is your walk out song of choice?
"Future" by March Madness. It's my favorite song.

What do you do during your free time during training camp?
Sleep. We don't have much time to rest, so I get my sleep in when I can.

What classes are you taking during summer session?
I took English 202, it's a business writing class.

If you could move training camp to any city, what city would it be?
I would say Phenix City, Alabama, where I am from. It would bring back memories.

What is your shake of choice from the nutrition bar?
I do peaches and cream. I do that every single day.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Brandon Bell

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What is your favorite drill?
We do this reaction drill. We break left, break right, then coach throws the ball and you have to get there in a split second.

What do you do during your free time during training camp?
Lay down, sleep as much as possible.

What is your shake of choice for the nutrition bar?
Chocolate. I'm not a big protein shake guy but when they put it out I'll drink one.

If you could move training camp to any city, what city would it be?
Maybe Honolulu.

Who is your breakout player this year?
So many guys. Honestly with this offense, I think the ball will be spread around a lot. Saquon [Barkley] would be an easy pick. DaeSean [Hamilton] has been a breakout player before, but I'll go Saeed Blacknall, I think well see a little bit more of him.

Who is your toughest match-up on the team?
I think Mike Gesicki. When he's running routes, it tough to defend him at the tight end position.

What do you think about the new locker room?
It's beautiful, it's great. The guys are pumped up, we love it. We're just grateful. I'd like to thank President Barron, Sandy Barbour and everyone that supported it. We're pumped up about it.

What is your refueling drink of choice at training camp?
Definitely some cool blue Gatorade. You have to take in water too, but after a workout out probably Gatorade.

Describe the cold tub experience at training camp?
I love it. As a young guy, you kind of hate it, but the older, you get you learn to love it. Now is easy to hop in it for 20-30 minutes.

What is the best meal at training table?
The chipotle snack we get before night practice once every few days.

By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Fresh off a pair of early exhibition matches, Penn State field hockey is ready to officially open its 2016 season.  Ranked No. 18 in the latest National Field Hockey Coaches Association Poll (NFHCA), the Nittany Lion schedule features matchups against eight teams ranked within the top 20 this season.

Prior to preseason, Penn State took some time to travel overseas as a team, heading to Holland for a nine day trip, spanning five cities to train and tour. Having spent some time bonding, the Nittany Lions are back and determined to continue building team comradery heading into a challenging 2016 campaign.

We caught up with head coach Char Morett-Curtiss, senior Brooke Birosik and sophomore Aurelia Meijer to talk 2016, the trip to Holland and the season opener.

Here are five things you need to know before heading out to the season opener Friday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. vs. Old Dominion in the Penn State Field Hockey Complex.

1.     Season Opening Tradition.

Since her days as an assistant under former Old Dominion head coach Beth Anders, head coach Char Morett-Curtiss noticed that Penn State had not really played ODU in program history and decided to make a change. The Nittany Lions have opened with a matchup against the Monarchs every year dating back to 2003.

2.     Senior Class.

Morett-Curtiss praised seniors Emilee Ehret, Carly Celkos, Kirsten Gochnauer and Brook Birosik for their leadership, while also mentioning how each individual holds an important role on the team this year.

3.     World Travelers.

Penn State's trip to Holland featured a stop Aurelia Meijer's home in Hattem, Netherlands. The Nittany Lions were able to train with Meijer's club team and of course, enjoy a family meal together.

4.    Tough slate.

      In her 30th season at the helm of the program, Morett-Curtiss has once again put together a tough schedule for the Nittany Lions. The 2016 campaign features seven NCAA Tournament teams that made the field in 2015.

5.    Hall of Fame. 

      Morett-Curtiss and former football kicker Craig Fayak are both set to be inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in late October. The two are part of the organization's 54th annual ceremony. Originally from Aldan, Pennsylvania, Morett-Curtiss is also a member of the Delaware County Hall of Fame. 

VIDEO: Training Camp Practice Update - August 24

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Head coach James Franklin, co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Tim Banks, quarterback Trace McSorley and linebacker Jason Cabinda addressed the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex.

Penn State opens the 2016 campaign against Kent State at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, September 3 at 3:30 p.m.



By: Arielle Sarget, GoPSUsports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Another season of Penn State men's soccer has nearly arrived and the focus for the Nittany Lions this year is all about embracing a challenge. With the focus firmly on the future, seventh-year head coach Bob Warming is prepared to open the 2016 campaign on the West Coast this year. 

Penn State's stacked schedule features eight teams from the 2015 NCAA Tournament field and six teams that have combined for a total of 16 NCAA national championships. First on the list, Penn State travels to No. 1 Stanford to take on the defending NCAA national champions in the season opener Friday, Aug. 26.

The Nittany Lions will also meet UC Berkley in California, wrapping up the week one road trip Sunday, Aug. 28 with a 6 p.m. matchup. 

With a squad featuring six returning starters and 11 newcomers, the Nittany Lion staff also looks a little different this year. Warming promoted sixth-year assistant coach Chad Duernberger to associate head coach and welcomed former volunteer assistant Own Griffith as the team's newest assistant coach. 

We caught up with Warming as well as senior Connor Maloney and senior Evan Finney to talk, 2016, the big opener and even a little bit about Jeffrey Field.

In the meantime, here's five things you need to know before Friday's kickoff.

1. Fitness is key.

Warming praised his team for returning to campus ready to get to work in preseason, arriving in solid physical condition. "We had guys break fitness records this year and a lot of guys had personal best marks," said Warming.

2.  The Big Opener

Not only is top-ranked Stanford the returning national champion, but the Cardinal also enters the season at 19-1-5 at home in the last three years. Stanford did not surrender a single goal during the College Cup, defeating Clemson 4-0 in the title match to claim the championship crown.

 3. Canada Eh?

This summer, Penn State men's soccer traveled north to Canada for a foreign tour, training and touring Montreal and Quebec. Among 10 days of training and competition, the Nittany Lions also happened to be in Montreal for St. Jean Baptiste Day.

4. Transfers

Penn State picked up three transfers this off season, including Tulsa transfer Aymar Sigue. An Alberta, Canada native, Sigue spent time playing on the Canadian National Team on four separate occasions (U15, U16, U18, U20).

5. All In.

Warming notes that this year's team motto is "all in," and had each member of the team write a statement about what it means to them to be all in. Placing the statements next to each player's picture on a giant poster, Warming says it's a daily reminder that we are not satisfied.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Tyler Davis

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What is your refueling drink of choice at training camp?
Gatorade, it keeps you hydrated and replenishes you with the nutrients you need. I'm a lemon lime guy.

What is your unofficial camp uniform?
I actually don't have one this year. But ugh, Dowrey has a great one, he's wearing a jean kind of cut off vest, he looks good this year.

Describe the cold tub experience at training camp?
Our hydrotherapy room is still getting renovated right now, so we just go in the old style big tubs, and we're required to do that for at least seven minutes after practice. The specialists get out earlier so we get first dibs on them.

What is the best meal at training table?
We get training table every night so, I'm a big fan of the salmon, but we have a wide selection so you can make it whatever you want each night.

What is the one item you can't live without at training camp?
A bed - you get real tired you get to bed early, it's easy to sleep.

What is your walk out song of choice?
Something by Fetty Wap or Young Thug something like that, something to get me going.

What is you least favorite drill?
I don't like the ball security drills. You get hit a lot

What classes are you taking during summer session?
I actually didn't a class this summer, I took an internship with OptionsHouse in Chicago. That's why I was only here the last part of the summer.

What is your shake of choice for the nutrition bar?
We make our own smoothies and I like to get vanilla protein powder with a little bit of peanut butter powder in there. I just like it pretty plain so those two things do it for me.

What do you think about the new locker room?
It's awesome, we were going crazy when we saw it for the first time. That place is incredible.

BLOG: Fall Sports Media Day in Review

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the Penn State Fall Sports season may have kicked off with women's soccer in action last week, Nittany Lion fans got a unique perspective from the annual athletics Fall Sports Media Day.

Coaches and student-athletes from seven different Penn State programs set to compete this fall met with members of the media to talk 2016 and their expectations for the upcoming year.

Check out some highlights and links to videos, transcripts and extra coverage from today's event.

Men's Soccer
Penn State men's soccer head coach Bob Warming opened up his statement expressing how his team is prepared and excited for another fantastic season full of challenges.
 

Those challenges begin right away as the Nittany Lions are set to open the season on the West coast, traveling to California to take on No. 1 defending NCAA national champion Stanford, Friday, Aug. 26 

The motto this year for Warming and his team though is "all in." "That's our motto for the year," said Warming. "Every one of our guys wrote a statement of what 'all in' meant to them and we put their picture with that statement on their locker. We had everyone collectively with their statement and picture and put it on a huge poster and hung it in the locker room. It's a daily reminder that we are not satisfied. We are all in every single day and every single way."

Press conference video
Periscope session with Connor Maloney and Robby Sagel

BLOG: Fall Sports Media Day in Review

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the Penn State Fall Sports season may have kicked off with women's soccer in action last week, Nittany Lion fans got a unique perspective from the annual athletics Fall Sports Media Day.

Coaches and student-athletes from seven different Penn State programs set to compete this fall met with members of the media to talk 2016 and their expectations for the upcoming year.

Check out some highlights and links to videos, transcripts and extra coverage from today's event. 

Women's Volleyball
Entering his 38th season at the helm of the program, Nittany Lion head coach Russ Rose is ready to open another year in Rec Hall. Welcoming eight newcomers this season, Rose will also return First Team AVCA All-American Haleigh Washington and AVCA All-America Honorable Mention Ali Frantti. 

Not only did the current team enjoy watching Penn State alums Christa (Harmotto) Dietzen and Alisha Glass earn a Bronze medal with Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

"I was pleased for Alisha to be able to lead the team and I was happy for Christa being named captain of the team," said Rose. "To me it was great every night to be able to watch Penn State players whether it be the men playing for Team USA or a couple of guys I remember being at Penn State who were playing with the Mexican volleyball team." 

Press conference video

Periscope session with Haleigh Washington

BLOG: Fall Sports Media Day in Review

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the Penn State Fall Sports season may have kicked off with women's soccer in action last week, Nittany Lion fans got a unique perspective from the annual athletics Fall Sports Media Day.

Coaches and student-athletes from seven different Penn State programs set to compete this fall met with members of the media to talk 2016 and their expectations for the upcoming year.

Check out some highlights and links to videos, transcripts and extra coverage from today's event. 

Women's Volleyball
Entering his 38th season at the helm of the program, Nittany Lion head coach Russ Rose is ready to open another year in Rec Hall. Welcoming eight newcomers this season, Rose will also return First Team AVCA All-American Haleigh Washington and AVCA All-America Honorable Mention Ali Frantti. 

Not only did the current team enjoy watching Penn State alums Christa (Harmotto) Dietzen and Alisha Glass earn a Bronze medal with Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

"I was pleased for Alisha to be able to lead the team and I was happy for Christa being named captain of the team," said Rose. "To me it was great every night to be able to watch Penn State players whether it be the men playing for Team USA or a couple of guys I remember being at Penn State who were playing with the Mexican volleyball team." 

Press conference video

Periscope session with Haleigh Washington

BLOG: Fall Sports Media Day in Review

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the Penn State Fall Sports season may have kicked off with women's soccer in action last week, Nittany Lion fans got a unique perspective from the annual athletics Fall Sports Media Day.

Coaches and student-athletes from seven different Penn State programs set to compete this fall met with members of the media to talk 2016 and their expectations for the upcoming year.

Check out some highlights and links to videos, transcripts and extra coverage from today's event. 

Women's Golf

Penn State head coach Denise St. Pierre highlighted her opening statement with a quick preview of the fall schedule, which features an East-West match play type tournament at Michigan. The Nittany Lions will also host their annual Penn State Invitational Sept. 24-25 at the Penn State Blue Course.

Among returners and accomplished incoming freshmen, St. Pierre ended the session giving high praise to five Academic All-Americans on the team.

"We have 10 players on the team and we had five Academic All-Americans, we're going to go for six or seven this year and bring along some championships as well.

Press conference video
Periscope session with Lauren Waller

BLOG: Fall Sports Media Day in Review

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the Penn State Fall Sports season may have kicked off with women's soccer in action last week, Nittany Lion fans got a unique perspective from the annual athletics Fall Sports Media Day.

Coaches and student-athletes from seven different Penn State programs set to compete this fall met with members of the media to talk 2016 and their expectations for the upcoming year.

Check out some highlights and links to videos, transcripts and extra coverage from today's event. 

Men's Golf

Penn State men's golf head coach Greg Nye spoke highly of his team's progress in the offseason, giving a special shout out to alums TJ How and Kevin Foley, who both competed in the U.S. Open this summer.

With a relatively young team coming in, Nye mentioned that just three of the nine student-athletes on the team have played more than three collegiate events. Nye is confident that the veteran leaders will be able to help the younger members of the squad make their transition.

"We're definitely excited to adopt the younger guys on the team into our culture," said junior Christian Elliott. "Over the past couple of years our team has been really tight knit so implementing that and just getting ready to compete. I know we're all pretty fired up for the fall season to get off to a good start and pick up where we left off last year."

Press conference video
Periscope session with Christian Elliot and Cole Miller

BLOG: Fall Sports Media Day in Review

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the Penn State Fall Sports season may have kicked off with women's soccer in action last week, Nittany Lion fans got a unique perspective from the annual athletics Fall Sports Media Day.

Coaches and student-athletes from seven different Penn State programs set to compete this fall met with members of the media to talk 2016 and their expectations for the upcoming year.

Check out some highlights and links to videos, transcripts and extra coverage from today's event.

Penn State field hockey head coach Char Morett-Curtiss was impressed with her team's camaraderie following preseason. With two scrimmages out of the way, the Nittany Lions topped Kent State 6-1 and Drexel 4-2 in a pair of exhibition matches. 

The Nittany Lions will look to transfer a successful preseason into their home opening weekend beginning with Old Dominion Friday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. and Virginia Sunday, Aug. 28 at noon. Where's all the camaraderie coming from? This summer Penn State field hockey too a trip to Holland to compete and tour as part of their foreign tour. 

 "I think our trip to Holland was really a great team building experience and it really brought us together off the field as well so I think that's really showing on the field this year, especially during pre-season and our two scrimmages," said senior Brooke Birosik. 

BLOG: Fall Sports Media Day in Review

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While the Penn State Fall Sports season may have kicked off with women's soccer in action last week, Nittany Lion fans got a unique perspective from the annual athletics Fall Sports Media Day.

Coaches and student-athletes from seven different Penn State programs set to compete this fall met with members of the media to talk 2016 and their expectations for the upcoming year.

Check out some highlights and links to videos, transcripts and extra coverage from today's event. 

Women's Soccer
Penn State women's soccer head coach Erica Dambach guided the Nittany Lions to its first NCAA National Championship last year. With a 1-0-1 start to the 2016 campaign having tied sixth-ranked West Virginia before beating Hofstra 3-1 last weekend, the No. 2 Nittany Lions are poised to continue their success.

As defending national champions, Dambach addressed her thoughts on how the competition might approach Penn State differently than last year. 

"We'll we certainly earned the right to have a target on our back and we've got to embrace that. I think this team has done a nice job of embracing that role," Dambach said. "We all know what it feels like to go out on a Friday night against defending National Champions. Everybody thrives in that environment, everybody gets excited. They get up for those games and we feel that." 

Press conference video
Periscope session with Nickolette Driesse

BLOG: Fall Sports Media Day in Review

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
While the Penn State Fall Sports season may have kicked off with women's soccer in action last week, Nittany Lion fans got a unique perspective from the annual athletics Fall Sports Media Day.

Coaches and student-athletes from seven different Penn State programs set to compete this fall met with members of the media to talk 2016 and their expectations for the upcoming year. 

Check out some highlights and links to videos, transcripts and extra coverage from today's event.

Men's and Women's Cross Country
In his third year at the helm of the program, head coach John Gondak highlighted his opening statement with high expectations for the Penn State Open, which comes to Happy Valley Friday, Oct. 14.
 

"We've got an outstanding group of teams coming in ... and it's going to be one of the premier competitions in the country again and we're going to continue to grow that," Gondak said of the upcoming Penn State open.  

 On both the men's and women's side, Gondak is excited to begin the season. The returning Big Ten Champion women's team will look to defend its title once again with three decorated leaders in Tessa Barret, Elizabeth Chikotas and Jillian Hunsberger.  The men's team will look to develop a young group, welcoming in some accomplished freshman for the season. 

Press conference video
Periscope session with Tessa Barrett

All Roads Lead to Happy Valley for the Galts

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By Mark Brumbaugh, Penn State Strategic Communications

Coaching college football may be a dream job for many, but long hours and moves around the country mean that living the dream often comes with difficult sacrifices, especially time spent with family.

Knowing those difficulties first-hand, Penn State Assistant Athletics Director for Performance Enhancement Dwight Galt had some concerns when his twin sons, Dwight IV and Tommy, decided follow his footsteps in the coaching profession. Little did they know, their hopes of their professional paths crossing would actually culminate at Penn State.

"Almost every home game is a family reunion now," said Dwight. "Everybody comes up; we get to see everybody. It's only three and a half hours from Maryland, so it's been great for our family and I'd like to sustain it as long as possible."

Father and sons were first united in college football at the University of Maryland, where the sons played and father was the head strength and conditioning coach. Following their playing days, the sons ended up in South Carolina, where "Deege" worked on the strength and conditioning side and Tommy worked as a graduate assistant on the football side. Dwight then joined head coach James Franklin in Vanderbilt in 2011 as the director of performance enhancement.

Deege was the first to arrive in Happy Valley in 2012, as South Carolina's head strength coach Craig Fitzgerald was tapped to fill the same role at Penn State under head coach Bill O'Brien and brought Galt with him.


"Deege had a really good situation with Fitz and the two of them started building this thing the way they wanted to build it, and did a great job," said the elder Dwight.

With not even the sons in the same place, the close-knit Galt family was as stretched as ever, with Dwight in Tennessee, Deege in Pennsylvania, Tommy in South Carolina and sisters Teri and Angie in Maryland.

"We had a grid sheet of schedules of who played who that week," said Tommy. "Now we just have to worry about one team. When my sisters go to a game, they don't have to worry about going to see this person or that person, or worst-case scenario, us versus Dad. They all can come and support us here, and it's a one-hit spot. It's close and works out well."

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The band started getting back together again following the 2013 season. O'Brien left for the Houston Texans and brought Fitzgerald with him. Dwight knew Franklin was in the running to replace O'Brien, but with nothing certain, Deege had little choice but to follow Fitzgerald to Houston. However, on the day Deege headed for the Lone Star State, Franklin accepted the Penn State job.

Deege's time in Texas lasted less than a week, as Fitzgerald, who worked with Dwight previously at Maryland, endorsed the unique opportunity for father and son to reunite. His return proved instrumental in getting his father's program running.

"Deege has been very beneficial to the entire staff, not just to me, but he had a great working knowledge of Penn State Football, Penn State Athletics, how the university works, great connections, and we were really able to get a lot of initiatives rolling faster and more efficiently because he'd been here," said Dwight.

Tommy then joined Penn State as an offensive graduate assistant prior to the 2015 season. While Tommy spends more time "upstairs" in Lasch as opposed to the weight room, all are happy to be working together.

Father could not be more proud of his sons' impact on Penn State Football.

"[Deege] is such a hard worker and he's so great with the guys," said the elder Galt. "He's one of those guys that not only has good ideas, but he can put them in place."

"As for Tommy, we have a great working relationship and it's been phenomenal having him here."

Likewise, the sons are thrilled to be working with their father, being able to use the things they have learned through their experiences with him."

"As Deege I both get older, get more experience and learn more things, we understand more about where he is coming from better," said Tommy. "He's been with Coach Franklin for a long time now and I came from two different programs that were way different than here. So me coming here and hearing from him and him hearing from us, we are able to bounce stuff off each other better. It's been huge growth for all of us in that capacity."

With little separation between work and family, the trio has not had any difficulty working together, usually later laughing off anything resembling a dispute.

"You have to understand that he's your boss and whatever he says goes," said Deege with a smile. "You can't have the same type of interactions, but it hasn't been a problem."

Working for the same team doesn't mean all three are together all of the time. Weight room and coaching schedules do not always line up, resulting in Tommy, in particular, not always being on the same schedule. However, the family was thrilled to be together on Father's Day, albeit working together for a high school football camp. Also, getting from State College down to Maryland to visit the Teri and Angie and their children is not a difficult task.

The family has indeed learned to savor the times when the stars align.

"Not everyone gets to eat Chipotle with their dad every once in a while in the middle of a work day," Tommy pointed out. "We're a few of the blessed people in this business."

So as fortunate as Penn State Football is to have the Galts, nothing can compare to how fortunate the Galts are to have each other.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Chris Godwin

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What is your favorite part about training camp?
For me the best part about training camp is just being around the guys. You get a different sense of brotherhood when you're going through the same struggles and trials of camp. It builds that brotherhood.

Describe the cold tub experience at training camp?
It's kind of brutal. You know that you have to get in the cold tub to keep your legs fresh. It's never fun getting in, it's honestly shocking every time.

What is the one item you can't live without at training camp?
I would say my TV. I am a big fan of watching TV, I love watching ESPN and "Hard Knocks."

What is your favorite drill?

I like any release drill that we do. I believe getting on your route is where you win.

What is you least favorite drill?
I don't have one. I really believe that in drill work is where you really improve as a player. If you get good drill work in, it gives you a good foundation.

What is your shake of choice from the nutrition bar?
I am a strawberry-banana guy. Anytime I get a shake, whether it's a protein shake or not, I get strawberry-banana.

Who is your breakout player this year?
Saeed Blacknall. He has grown a lot in the few years that we have been here. He had a really great spring and I think he is going to have a great year.

Who is your toughest match-up on the team?
Either Grant Haley or John Reid. Anytime I go against those two guys, it's always really competitive. Sometimes I win, sometimes they win. I really feel like anytime I am going against those guys, I am going to get better.

What classes are you taking during summer session?
I took a stat class and an online energy class. They were pretty cool. I learned a lot about household safety.

What is the best meal at training table?
I like their chicken fajitas. It gives you a Mexican feel without having to go to a restaurant.

BLOG: Williams, Reserves Key In Hofstra Win

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  The damp and dreary weather cleared up just in time for Penn State women's soccer to secure the first victory of the 2016-17 Penn State sports season. The No. 2 Nittany Lions defeated Hofstra, 3-1 to complete their season opening weekend with a 1-0-1 mark. 

The scene was much different than Friday's record-setting atmosphere, where 5,791 fans watched the Nittany Lions battle to a 1-1 draw against sixth-ranked West Virginia on a picturesque evening in Happy Valley.  

With heavy rain all throughout the afternoon, the ominous clouds did dissolve in time for Penn State's 2:30 p.m. kick at home in Jeffrey Field

Things did not immediately look pleasant for the Nittany Lions as Hofstra took an early 1-0 lead less than 10 minutes in off a corner kick opportunity.

"We looked pretty sharp early on and then started to die off and had a huge impact from our reserves," head coach Erica Dambach said. "They are kind of the story that I would take out of the day, as well as Charlotte Williams, obviously. I thought our reserves were the difference in this match."

Among the stellar play from Nittany Lion reserves, lets talk about sophomore Charlotte Williams first.

Williams, who powered the team with her first career multi-goal outing, scored twice in the first half to help the Nittany Lions out of an early deficit.

With Penn State trailing the Pride 1-0, Williams found the back of the net in the 24th minute, following up a shot that hit the post with a rebound for her first goal of the season.

Seizing another opportunity, Williams scored again in the 39th minute off a set piece from nearly 20 yards out following a red card assessed to Hofstra's Rhian Cleverly.

Prior to the go-ahead goal, Williams was dialed in and ready to make the most of the chance, saying she knew where she wanted to put the ball and all that was left was to follow through.

"Today was a display of what Charlotte is capable of doing and we have felt it over the past year and now she's starting to finally believe it," Dambach said.  "She's someone who is creative as can be and she can create changes on her own -  and today she put a few in the back of the net."

Now on to just a few of the key reserves. 

With the Nittany Lions leading 2-1, redshirt junior Salina Williford placed her first goal of the season and sixth of her career in the left side of the goal past the Hofstra goalkeeper in the 84th minute to give Penn State a 3-1 advantage. Freshman reserve Laura Suero earned an assist on the goal, marking her first career point.

Following her first collegiate goal in the opener against West Virginia, freshman Laura Freigang also finished the afternoon with a career-high six shots.

After the Williford goal, the Nittany Lions did not look back, holding on to the lead to secure their first win of the 2016 campaign.

"There were a lot of positives that came out of today," Dambach said. "I think the biggest was the impact that the bench had on the play with the energy and their movement. Obviously there's fatigue from Friday night - there was a lot of excitement, but those guys came off the bench and gave us a huge lift and that's what you want from your reserves."

While excited to have led the team with a pair of goals, Williams was also quick to point out the bench impact.  

"We came from a big game on Friday playing against West Virginia with a huge presence in the stands to a game that's not as high energy from the crowds," Williams said. "But I thought that we brought it and then a lot of players who came off the bench brought a huge boost and I think that's how - it took everybody to respond."

No. 2 Penn State women's soccer remains home next week, welcoming No. 16 BYU to Jeffrey Field for a 7 p.m. matchup under the lights Friday, Aug. 26.

Among other fall teams competing on Friday night, Penn State field hockey opens its 2016 season at home at 6 p.m. against Old Dominion, while the Nittany Lion women's volleyball team kicks off 2016 against West Virginia at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall. 

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Tyler Yazujian

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What is your favorite part about training camp?
My favorite part about training camp from a special teams perspective is seeing all of our guys working on their craft all summer and they finally get to show it off to the rest of the team and the coaching staff. Seeing everyone's development at punter, kicker, snapper is just exciting.

What is your least favorite part about training camp?
Going back to a twin bed in the camp dorms, so that's probably my least favorite.

What is your refueling drink of choice at training camp?
Just water, plain and simple.

Describe the cold tub experience at training camp?
A big talking point for us this year is that everyone got their own toe covers for this year. It's pretty darn cold. You lose feeling in your legs, but once you get out, you feel much better.

Who does the best James Franklin impersonation?
Antoine White

What is the one item you can't live without at training camp?
Probably my water bottle.

What classes are you taking during summer session?
I didn't take classes this summer. I worked in the College of IST doing some research stuff over there.

What do you think about the new locker room?
The new locker room is incredible. We are really excited to have it. We are very appreciative of what everyone. A huge thank you to Sandy Barbour, President Barron and all of the donors that made it possible.

Who is your breakout player this year?
I am going to say Kevin Givens. He had a great off-season and had a great spring, so I am excited to see how he does.

What is your favorite drill?
The punt coverage drill.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Evan Schwan

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What is your favorite part about training camp?
It's a big bonding thing. We live in Nittany Hall, but it's good bonding. We are normally paired up with guys that you wouldn't normally hang out with outside of football, so you get to know everyone on the team.

What is your shake of choice from the nutrition bar?
I have my own protein that I bring in and I mix that with a Gatorade protein shake and a banana and some ice. Real simple.

Describe the cold tub experience at training camp?
I love cold tubs. A lot of people hate them, but after a long practice, if feels great to get in there.

What is the best meal at training table?
The sausage and pepper rustica. They only have it like once every three weeks and I seem to skip training table whenever they have it.

What is the one item you can't live without at training camp?
At night when I sleep, I have to have my baby blanket.

What is your favorite drill?
Probably the Lion's Pride drill that we do at the beginning of practice where it's like a one-on-one with the linemen. It puts everyone on the spot.

What classes are you taking during summer session?
First summer, I took LER [Labor and Employment Relations] 136 and then I took ECON [Economics] 306, I am an ECON major. Then I finished my degree with ECON 315.

If you could move training camp to any city, what city would it be?
Maybe Chicago. It's a cool city.

Who is your breakout player this year?
I think Brian Gaia at center.

Who does the best James Franklin impersonation?
Antoine White.

BLOG: Freigang Makes Immediate Impact

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUSports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's soccer true freshman Laura Freigang arrived just in time to lead the second-ranked Nittany Lions to a 1-1 draw in the 2016 season opener against West Virginia Friday evening at Jeffrey Field.

Making her collegiate debut in the Blue and White, Freigang entered the match at 30:47, stepping on to Jeffrey Field for the first time in front of a record-setting crowd of 5,791 fans in attendance.

Remaining in the game at the start of the second half, it was Freigang who netted her first collegiate goal just 10:10 into the second frame to break open a tied score (0-0).

Curving just enough after her release, Freigang's shot bounced off the left post and into the goal past West Virginia keeper Rylee Foster to give the Nittany Lions at 1-0 lead.

"I was pretty lucky to be honest," Freigang said. "It [the ball] took a curve to the left and just hit the post. That was pretty close, but I'm lucky."

Prior to her impressive Nittany Lion debut, Freigang had been in the United States for less than a week, having arrived in Happy Valley on Monday, Aug. 15.

Freigang's arrival to Penn State was delayed by the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) Women's Under-19 Championship, where she was playing with the women's German Under-19 team.

Traveling from Europe to University Park was no easy task though, as she had just a few days to meet her teammates and prepare to open the season against the sixth-ranked Mountaineers.

"The transition was pretty crazy at first because there was long travel and I had a bit of jetlag for a few days," Freigang said.

Jetlag and significant travel time presented no reason to be concerned, as the Oppenheim, Germany native mentioned that she's now arrived and feeling fine, having made an immediate impact for the Nittany Lion offense.  

"I feel very welcomed and I think we have a great team," Freigang said. "I think we played a good game, we just didn't finish like we should have."

The Nittany Lions looked to hold on to the lead following Freigang's goal, but West Virginia struck back with the equalizer at 76:59. With several opportunities in regulation and a pair of overtime periods, Penn State could not convert on its opportunities seeing its season opener end in a draw.

The future is bright for Freigang though, who will return with the rest of the No. 2 Nittany Lions to take on Hofstra Sunday, Aug. 21 at 2:30 p.m. in Jeffrey Field.

"Obviously with Laura's international experience and playing with the German national team, she brings a wealth of experience," head coach Erica Dambach said. "And you could see, she stepped in there and it's as if she had been with us for months and months."

"I think she's going to find herself in a couple different positions for us and play a good role for us," Dambach added. We're going to ask her to continue doing what she did tonight."

Check out Freigang's first collegiate goal below. 

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Ryan Bates

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What is your favorite part about training camp?
It gives you a chance to get a lot closer to your teammates when you have two and half or three weeks of non-stop football. I consider these guys my family, so it is an opportunity to get closer.

What is your unofficial camp uniform?
I have a Hawaiian shirt. I wore it last year to camp and plan to wear it to camp every year. I cut the sleeves because I was a lot smaller last year. It's kind of hard to button, so I am walking around with a cut-off Hawaiian shirt that's unbuttoned.

What is your favorite drill?
Probably one-on-ones with the D-Line. We really go at it, talking trash, talking smack...it really gets the competitive juices flowing.

What is the one item you can't live without at training camp?
Deodorant.

Who does the best James Franklin impersonation?
Juwan Johnson. During our underclassman skit, Juwan impersonated Coach Franklin and it was a riot. He did really well.

What is your shake of choice from the nutrition bar?
I grab a vanilla yogurt, two scoops of vanilla protein powder, peaches, peanut butter and two bananas.

Who is your toughest match-up on the team?
Robert Windsor really gives me a run for my money sometimes. He talk a lot of trash and I talk a lot of trash back, it's a good competitive friendship.

Who's the best dancer on the team?
Besides me, of course. Jarvis Miller is a really good dancer.

Who is your breakout player this year?
I think Chris Godwin and Saquon Barkley are going to have a really good year.

What do you think about the new locker room?
It's so nice. We love our donors, Sandy Barbour and President Barron for giving us the opportunity to have such a great locker room.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Troy Apke

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What is your favorite part about training camp?
My favorite part about camp is being out here and competing with my teammates. Each and every day we get better and better for how hard we go at each other.

What is your shake of choice from the nutrition bar?
Vanilla protein, milk and bananas.

Who is your breakout player this year?
My breakout player is Amani Oruwariye. I just think he has worked on his skills and his defensive back skills all summer and I think he is going to be good this year.

Who is your toughest match-up on the team?
I would give it to DaeSean Hamilton. He has worked his butt off this summer to try to get better.

What is the best meal at training table?
Chicken Parm and meatballs.

What is the one item you can't live without at training camp?
Icy Hot because I am sore all of the time.

Who's the best dancer on the team?
I have to give it to either Saeed [Blacknall], Irvin [Charles] or Juwan [Johnson].

What is your walk out song of choice?
"No Problem" by Chance the Rapper.

What is your favorite drill?
During indies because I can work on my skill and my craft.

What classes are you taking during summer session?
I took intensive Spanish.

Defending National Champions Set for 2016

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While some might believe the faint sound of the Penn State Blue Band practicing well into the evening signifies the start of fall, those who know Nittany Lion athletics know that it's the bright lights of Jeffrey Field that mean fall has officially arrived at Penn State.

Those lights will illuminate Park Avenue Friday, Aug. 19 as No. 2 Penn State women's soccer kicks off its 2016 campaign against sixth-ranked West Virginia at home in Jeffrey Field. Fresh off their first NCAA national championship in program history, the Nittany Lions return ready to defend their title with 10th year head coach Erica Dambach at the helm of the program.

Prior to Friday's opener, the Nittany Lions, who went 22-3-2 last year, will raise an NCAA championship banner and unveil a new championship tarp on the stands, welcoming Penn State women's soccer alums from around the nation.

We caught up with Coach Dambach and captains Brittany Basinger and Nickolette Driesse to talk 2016, the season opener and of course, Jeffrey Field.

In the meantime, here's five things to know before making your way out to Jeffrey Field to see Penn State women's soccer open the 2016 season. 

1.     Continuing the Culture
Coach Dambach mentioned that a key to the 2015 NCAA title, even with all the talent on the roster, was having the right culture. This year the focus is all about keeping with the foundation of a family environment to continue building championship culture.

2.     A Familiar Foe
The top-10 meeting between second-ranked Penn State and No. 6 West Virginia is not the first time the two teams have met. In fact, it's the 15th time in program history and the first time since the Nittany Lions knocked the Mountaineers out of the 2015 NCAA Tournament quarterfinals to advance to the College Cup. 

3.     Tough Competition
Four of five non-conference opponents on deck are teams that made the 2015 NCAA Tournament. After the Mountaineer matchup, the Nittany Lions will regroup and play Hofstra at home Sunday, Aug. 21. The Pride advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round just a year ago, having also played Penn State in its 2015 season opener. 

4.     There's No Place Like Home
Senior captain Nickolette Driesse says Jeffrey Field is like no other place in the world, echoing Dambach who added that there is no better feeling than walking through the tunnel on gameday. With a 215-24-10 all-time record at Jeffrey Field, the Nittany Lions tied a program-best mark with 14 home wins in 2015.

5.     Speaking of Jeffrey Field ...
Penn State women's soccer drew some of it's largest home crowds in 2015, helped out by the Park Avenue Army, the official Nittany Lion women's soccer supporter's club. Flags, chants and face paint means you can't miss this enthusiastic group that attends all home games and even a few on the road. Check them out or give them a follow on Twitter @ParkAvenueArmy. 

VIDEO: Training Camp Practice Update - August 17

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Offensive line coach Matt Limegrover, running back Saquon Barkley, offensive lineman Andrew Nelson and defensive end Garrett Sickels addressed the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex.

Penn State opens the 2016 campaign against Kent State at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, September 3 at 3:30 p.m.



BLOG: The Matchup - QB/RB vs. LB

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The better the competition, the better prepared the Lions will be for September 3 and beyond, so GoPSUsports.com will take a closer look at the camp battles between position groups this summer.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The middle linebacker is often called the "quarterback of the defense" - in charge of moving his unit into the best possible position to be successful on any given play. The linebackers usually stare right into the backfield to try and steal as much information from the formation as they can - information given to them by the (actual) quarterback and running backs.

This relationship is one that is predicated on being as familiar with one another as possible, while also having an aura of mystery that will allow for success each time you lock horns. While both groups credit all 11 players on their side of the ball - and the ultimate success of each play truly lies in the execution - it is the quarterback, running backs and linebackers that begin each play by getting the troops set in the best possible way.

"It starts with a left-right scan of the defense and then you make sure you look at the alignment from the safeties all the way down to the defensive line," said quarterback Trace McSorley. "As the quarterback you have to have a routine and make sure you are doing things the same way each time, it is about making sure it all looks the same to the defense."

McSorley's thoughts were echoed by teammate Tommy Stevens, who noted that every quarterback has his "pre-snap ritual" and that you can gain a lot of information by looking at the eyes of the defenders.

The defense is well aware that the eyes are the window to the play, which is why Nyeem Wartman-White is sure to keep the offensive backfield off tilt with his looks.

"We make sure we locate our keys on the offensive line, but after that we turn our attention to [the backfield]," said Wartman-White. "After that, it is about basic things, like not giving away your coverage by staring someone down or giving away zone coverage."

It's not always about the eyes, however. While both units are more focused on their positioning than what they cannot control - the other side of the ball - sometimes the mind games come into play.

"Yes, of course [there are mind games,]" said Stevens. "When we are on the practice field or in a game, everyone is competing and trying to win. We know the defense isn't just going to come out and stand around in a set look, they are going to try to trick us, and it is the same way for the offense. It's all about getting an edge."

In the end, success usually comes down to communication and preparation to make each play a success.

"We have to be on the same page, and make sure we echo the Mikes [middle linebackers] calls to the rest of the defense to help him out," said linebacker Von Walker. "We have to make sure we get the call to everyone and that we are on the same page. Then we have to make sure we know what our reads and responsibilities are."

"I wouldn't say mind games," said running back Mark Allen, "I think you just have to come out to games, practice or into the film sessions mentally prepared. It's just like scouting an opponent; you have to know what they like and what their tendencies are, after that you can just have fun and play ball."

The matchup for Wartman-White is a fun one - noting that his unit knows they compete against extremely talented running backs in practice and each Saturday during the season.

"It's always a battle," said Wartman-White, "and we know we will be seeing really good running backs all season and every day in practice. We [linebackers] just tighten the chin straps and get ready for it. If it is a mobile quarterback, you just have to be ready to make plays when you have the opportunity against [the quarterback], as well."

The work they put in during camp is critical to the successes the offense and defense has on game day, especially for the young group in the offensive backfield. With a combined 57 starts among the most experienced linebackers, McSorley, Stevens and the talents corps of running backs have their work cut out for them each afternoon under the August sunshine.

"Our linebackers do a great job of keeping us on our toes," McSorley said. "They disguise really well, so we have to make sure we are checking all of our keys and then making the best call we can. We have to do what we are taught to do, opposed to just going through one or two guys and thinking we know what all is coming."

One thing that both position groups can agree on is that the work they put in during training camp, as well as the weekly grind on the practice field during the season push each other to become better and more focused on honing their craft.

"With the way our offense is set up this season, going against those guys has really showed us we have to be more disciplined," said Wartman-White. "There are so many different ways they can hit you on each play, so you have to read your keys early and be confident and ready to make a play when it comes. Those types of things can only help us as we start playing games."

"No one team is just going to come out and not disguise their looks," said Stevens, "so with our linebackers moving the defense around during camp and making us think, it can only help us during the season. Our linebackers do a really good job on making it tough on the backfield when it comes to diagnosing what they are trying to do on any particular play."

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Tommy Stevens

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What is your refueling drink of choice at training camp?
The Dr. Pete's Chocolate Milk, they have done me well since I got here. I choose it because of all the things that are good inside of it. They have helped me out a lot as far as gaining weight and muscle mass.

What is the one item you can't live without at training camp?
I would probably say having all of my chargers for my phone and electronics, especially my iPad because that is a crucial part of training camp with all of the playbook information on there.

What is your walk out song of choice?
If anybody will tell you, especially Mike Gesicki, they will tell you I have the strangest taste in music. Some days I listen to old school rap and other days I listen to hardcore rock so it varies a lot. It is one of those whatever I am feeling that day kind of thing.

What is your favorite drill?
My favorite drill is working with the guys to perfect game-like situations. I enjoy working with the team.

What is you least favorite drill?
My least favorite drill is probably stretching; I have to do it but I don't like it.

What classes are you taking during summer session?
In the first summer session, I took Stat 200 and in the second session, I took a public speaking class.

Who does the best James Franklin impersonation?
Juwan Johnson killed it last year for our freshman skit. You have to get him to do it, he killed it and it was hilarious.

What do you do during your free time during training camp?
I usually spend my free time studying the playbook, watching film and doing as much as I can outside of football. I also hang out with guys and build team chemistry.

If you could move training camp to any city, what city would it be?
I would move it to Los Angeles, I have been there one time but it was only for six hours so I would like to go back.

What is your favorite part about training camp?
My favorite part about training camp is just to be able to come back with the guys, working out again, building team chemistry, working toward the season and getting ready to play.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Kevin Givens

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What is your favorite part about training camp?
My favorite part about training camp is reuniting with the team and getting ready for the season.

What is your least favorite part about training camp?
I wish it was longer. It would give you more time to prepare for the season and get ready.

What is the best meal at training table?
Chicken wings. It's my favorite food.

What is the one item you can't live without at training camp?
My stereo system. I love to listen to music.

What is you least favorite drill?
The pursuit drill. I just hate running.

Who does the best James Franklin impersonation?
Antoine White.

What classes are you taking during summer session?
I am taking tennis. I am not very good at it.

What is your shake of choice from the nutrition bar?
I usually get a peanut butter shake.

Who is your breakout player this year?
I am going to go with Juwan Johnson and Irvin Charles at wide receiver.

Who is your toughest match-up on the team?
Ryan Bates. I think he is a good player and he is getting me better every day.

The Matchup: WR & TE vs. DB

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By Mark Brumbaugh, Penn State Strategic Communications

The better the competition, the better prepared the Lions will be for September 3 and beyond, so GoPSUsports.com will take a closer look at the camp battles between position groups this summer.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The wide receivers, tight ends and defensive backs are constantly challenged to make big plays, but with limited opportunities to get the ball on the offensive side and a slim margin for error on the defensive side, every rep in practice is crucial.

The competition between the pass catchers and defenders is naturally a critical component of preseason preparation. Timing and speed is everything on both sides, so a false sense of security created by lax opposition could result in disaster on Saturday. Luckily for the Nittany Lions, both sides are pleased with the caliber of their counterparts.

"I think we have one of the best wide receiving corps in the country, so going against them every day gets all of us better," said senior safety Malik Golden. "And they're so deep and talented too, so whenever we can go against them it's always a good look for us."

"First and foremost, I think that going against our defense every single day is going to pay huge dividends for us once the season comes around because, for the past few seasons, they have been one of the top defenses in the country," said junior tight end Mike Gesicki. "So going against them, whether it's the d-linemen, the linebackers or the defensive backs, we're all getting great work."

"We have one of the best defensive back groups in the whole Big Ten, so us going against them every day is going to make us better just by default," said junior wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton.

The practice battles provide a wide range of benefits. At this point in camp, the duels are helping both sides get back up to game speed. It's a common refrain that "you can't teach speed," so making sure fundamentals stay sound against the competition is essential.

"[The receivers] are all tough to cover and they each have one good specific trait that sticks out," said Golden. "When you are able to cover them it boosts your confidence a little bit. I think that my man coverage has gotten a lot better going against them."

While barbs may be exchanged between the receivers and defensive backs during team practice periods, intelligence is often exchanged after the whistle. Both sides understand they are both wearing blue and white, so improving the team as a whole takes precedence over maintaining a competitive advantage.

"When we come off the field, we're letting each other know things that are tipping off what routes they are going to run or what coverages that we're showing them when we don't even realize it," said sophomore cornerback John Reid. "At the same time it's very competitive, but we know that we're a team, so we need to make each other better because on Saturday we want to dominate the guy in front of us."

The wide receivers and tight ends are part of an all-new up-tempo offense. While the change is obviously aimed at improving offensive production, another benefit is how it challenges the defense.

"I think it definitely makes us a better defense," said junior cornerback Grant Haley. "We're definitely more physically and mentally fit. Just how fast they go, you have to be on top of your game. You have to look to the sideline and get your call and just be ready."

It was a tough adjustment at first for the defensive backs, but the gap has been narrowed significantly.

"The DBs have quickly adjusted to it and they're getting picks now," said redshirt freshman wide receiver Juwan Johnson with a groan and eye roll. "They're having fun with it too. It's really exciting for them and it gives them a challenge."

For younger players like Johnson, the team's opposing unit is their first taste of Big Ten football, and often their only taste for their first season. He quickly realized he was playing at a different level during his first practices, having never gone against talents such as Trevor Williams and Haley before. Summer workouts that featured one-on-ones were a wake-up call. However, he spent last season refining his technique and building his confidence.

"When I get into a game, hopefully I will be relaxed," said Johnson. "I'll be a little anxious since I haven't played in a year, but hopefully these DBs have prepared me for whoever I'm going up against.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Andre Robinson

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What is your favorite part about training camp?
Probably the amount that they feed us - great breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks throughout the day. We sweat out about 10 pounds in practice, but you gain it all back because it's good food.

What is your least favorite part about training camp?
It's hard for everyone, waking up early, being at practice and going to meetings at night. It's a tough experience but we grind through it together. You just have to grind it out the best you can.

Who is your toughest match-up on the team?
Jason Cabinda is a tough guy to block passing-wise. He's a really good pass rusher and it's pretty tough to block him.

What is your refueling drink of choice at training camp?
Gatorade. Cool Blue.

What do you think about the new locker room?
It's awesome, it's unreal. We're thankful to all the donors and Sandy [Barbour] and President [Eric] Barron. It's such an amazing locker room. It's the best I've seen through any recruiting and everything we're so thankful for it.

Describe the cold tub experience at training camp?
The ice baths help so much. I used to not like them back in high school, but I love taking ice baths now. They help enormously to get in every practice, it's a routine now

What is your favorite drill?
Anything we do with pass catching; catching the ball out of the backfield. I like catching the ball, so that's fun for me.

What is your walk out song of choice?
"Hype" by Drake.

Who does the best James Franklin impersonation?
I heard that the year before we got here Antoine White had a good one, but last year I saw Juwan Johnson do a good impersonation of him during our freshman class skit.

Who is your breakout player this year?
I think Juwan Johnson will have a breakout year.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Manny Bowen

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What is your favorite part about training camp?
My favorite part about camp is just being around the team again. We are all getting ready for the season, so we need to develop chemistry. I love being around the guys.

Who is your toughest match-up on the team?
I love going against Saquon [Barkley]. Ever since freshmen year when we first came in in the summer, we have always been very competitive. We always wanted to go at each other and that makes him better and makes me better. There's not a lot of better competition to go up against than one of the best running backs in the country.

What is your refueling drink of choice at training camp?
I love the yellow Gatorade.

Describe the cold tub experience at training camp?
I love the cold tub. I have been getting into the cold tub since I was a senior in high school. I see how it can do wonders, I always make a point to get in there.

What is the one item you can't live without at training camp?
I can't live without the cold tub. You definitely need it, especially on two-a-days.

Who's the best dancer on the team?
I don't want the guys getting mad at me, but I might have to say Jarvis [Miller]. You guys all saw what he did at the THON pep rally.

What is your favorite drill?
Striking the bag. The two-man play and getting a good pop on it. It definitely translates to the game, how you are going to be [against] downward linemen and not just getting your hands, but actually shocking him.

If you could move training camp to any city, what city would it be?
I would say Seattle. It's nice out there, you have good weather out there. One of the guys who plays out there always comes back and talks about the scenery is out there and how nice it is.

What classes are you taking during summer session?
I just got done with criminology in the first summer and now I am taking an RPTM class with a couple of guys on the team.

What is the best meal at training table?
Definitely, steak and mashed potatoes. I love me some steak.

Unique Situations Help Specialists Adjust Mentality, Technique

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The better the competition, the better prepared the Lions will be for September 3 and beyond, so GoPSUsports.com will take a closer look at the camp battles between position groups this summer.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While our last look inside camp battles, offensive line vs. defensive line, lock horns on nearly every rep on any given day, the second group we look at battle themselves on a physical and mental level throughout fall camp and the 12-game regular season.

The specialists don't really have a counterpart - someone to directly compete with on a regular basis - outside of themselves. They have to do whet they can to stay fresh and mentally focused, while honing their craft and keeping sharp physically.

"You really have to be able to focus on yourself," said junior kicker/punter Chris Gulla. "If you start worrying about what others are doing, you are not going to be as sharp as you can be."

That personal approach to camp is something that is unique to the specialists group, as they are a group that trains on their own most days when training outside of the Lasch Building. Akin to the personal approach is the ability to keep focused throughout the long days on the practice field that comes with preseason training.

"Personally, it is staying focused throughout camp," said junior punter Daniel Pasquariello. "It is easy to do it for a day here and there, but to really put a string of good days together you have to keep focused - both mentally and physically - and that gets tiring on the mind and body, so you have to focus on what you are doing and block everything else out."

Another theme for the specialists is keeping their bodies in peak condition so when it is their turn to perform, they can answer the call. Along with staying sharp mentally, the specialists also have to do the things needed to stay fresh physically, including getting in the hot & cold tubs, eating right and staying hydrated.

"Getting your body right is really important," said junior kicker Tyler Davis. "During the first week of camp you are feeling great; your legs feel great, but towards the end of camp you legs will start feeling it. You have to do everything you can to make sure you limit that fatigue."

The average day at fall camp begins around 6:30 a.m. with a wake up call and breakfast, before the specialists head to meetings to critique the previous day. Following meetings, the group heads to the cold tubs and gets some stretching in, before heading to class - or getting in a game of FIFA for those who don't have academic responsibilities. Then it is on to the practice field.

"You have to get your mind right before you even step onto the field, that is the biggest thing" said Pasquariello. "I like to be relaxed, yet still confident and ready to go when I am called on. Once you get onto the field it is all business, because there is a lot going on all around you with drills and guys running everywhere."

The workload for the specialist group usually falls on the front and back end of the practice plan - a way for him to put pressure on them to perform right out of the gate and in the end after having time to think about what they are doing. Which is something that helps senior long snapper Tyler Yazujian prepare for his role on the team before taking over the starting role in 2014.

"When I was getting ready to start, the pressure work really helped me get ready," said Yazujian. "Now that I know how to handle the pressure, the biggest thing for me is staying consistent and making every rep the same whether it be period one in field goal, period 24 in [competition] period, or snapping on a game-winning field goal."

When Head Coach James Franklin calls the team together for the final period of the day, it is time for the specialists to shine, or suffer the scowl of their teammates. That scowl only comes if their attempts sail wide or don't reach a certain distance. On those occasions, performance enhancement coach Dwight Galt gets out the whistle and conditioning commences.

"There is not really anything that can recreate the game day atmosphere," said Gulla, "but what we do in practice is probably the closest thing. There is pressure on you and it helps you earn respect from your teammates."

"In season you are kicking [to score] for your team, and it is no different at practice," said Davis. "When we kick at the end of practice we are kicking to save our guys from conditioning, so it is huge for us to be ready. Our guys work hard all practice and the last thing they want to be doing is running. The whole team is watching you, the coaches are watching and it is a make-or-break moment."

Though the specialists don't have the one-on-one duels throughout fall camp, the reps they take are more and more meaningful as practice progresses. The respect of their teammates - and conditioning - hangs in the balance on nearly every kick in when the practice plan reaches period 24.

VIDEO: Training Camp Practice Update - August 10

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach James Franklin, assistant coach Terry Smith, wide receiver Chris Godwin and cornerback Grant Haley addressed the media following Wednesday's practice session at the Lasch Football Complex.

Penn State opens the 2016 campaign against Kent State at Beaver Stadium on Saturday, September 3 at 3:30 p.m.


Training Camp in 10 Questions with Tom Pancoast

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Q: What is your least favorite part about training camp?
A: My least favorite part is waking up to the fight song every morning at 6 a.m. That can get pretty annoying.

Q: What is your refueling drink of choice at training camp?
A: I am actually one of those chocolate milk guys from the Creamery. I am a big chocolate milk guy and it's great for you so that is my choice.

Q: Describe the cold tub experience at training camp?
A: The first couple of cold tubs are brutal, absolutely brutal. The first 15-20 seconds are freezing; I am one of the guys that has to jump in. You will watch some people, they will get in slowly, that's not how you do it, it takes way too long and it looks way too painful.

Q: What is the one item you can't live without at training camp?
A: This is going to sound terrible for my generation but probably my cell phone. I need to be connected to everything. I have to talk to other people, you are with everyone for three-straight weeks and you kind of have to get out of it a little bit.

Q: Who does the best James Franklin impersonation?
A: We did a freshman skit a few years ago, they do it every year, and Antoine White did a pretty mean Coach Franklin impression.

Q: What do you do during your free time during training camp?
A: Nap, just like everyone else.

Q: What is your shake of choice from the nutrition bar?
A: I'm really simple, I end up mixing chocolate, peanut butter and banana with chocolate milk and ice cream. I just like the taste.

Q: If you could move training camp to any city, what city would it be?
A: Typically, I would say somewhere down south, but it would be way too hot for that, so probably somewhere like a San Francisco. We can head out to the west coast.

Q: Who is your toughest match-up on the team?
A: Tight ends always go up against the defensive ends when we are blocking and we do a lot of 1-on-1 drills with them so probably Garett Sickels. I think he is all-around the best defensive end whether he is rushing or stopping the run, and he converts between the two, so once we go into pass setting he is pretty good at recognizing it and getting on the rush.

Q: What do you think about the new locker room?
A: Oh, it's sweet. Everyone was going nuts when they showed it to us. I can't imagine there is any locker room like it in the country. The actual locker is really nice. Everyone has their picture on top and the light shines down with their number and it's a really nice set up.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Von Walker

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Von Walker.jpeg

What is your favorite part about training camp?

My favorite part about training camp is staying in Nittany Hall and having a roommate. A lot of people think is stinks, but it's fun, it reminds me of freshman year, just getting back to the little things.

What is your least favorite part about training camp?
My least favorite part about training camp are the beds in Nittany Hall. I like the living situation, just don't like the beds.

What is your unofficial camp uniform?
You can probably find me in a pair of flip flops, a pair of rainbows, a pair of gray tub shorts (the short we get into the cold tubs in) and a t-shirt and maybe a hat on sunny days.

What is the one item you can't live without at training camp?
My computer. I don't bring a TV, so in my downtime, I watch Netflix on my computer.

Describe the cold tub experience at training camp?
I go in slow and start with my right foot. I usually sit down, but it's hard for me to go above my belly button. I eventually get in after a while.

What is your walk out song of choice?
I am going to go with "Shoop" by Salt-n-Pepa. That song is awesome!

What is your favorite drill?
I would have to say ally tackle. It's a drill where we are like 10 yards apart and we have to try to tackle each other. It's pretty fun.

What is your shake of choice from the nutrition bar?
I get apple cinnamon oatmeal with vanilla skim milk, a cut up apple and two scoops of vanilla protein powder. That's it, just keep it simple.

What do you do during your free time during training camp?
I watch Netflix or HBO Go. I like to draw too, so I bring my art supplies.

Who is your breakout player this year?
Our whole special teams are going to breakout this year.

The Matchup: OL vs. DL

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By Mark Brumbaugh

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions will do plenty of drills within their position groups this month, but practicing the fundamentals in a controlled environment has its limits. That is why competition is a central tenet of the Penn State football program and not something simply reserved for Saturdays in the fall.

The better the competition, the better prepared the Lions will be for September 3 and beyond, so GoPSUsports.com will take a closer look at the camp battles between position groups this summer.

One of the most unique battles is between the offensive and defensive lines. The two groups lock horns on each full contact snap, and the winner and loser on each play is decided as much by mental toughness as it is physical strength and technique. Naturally, the battle in the trenches is one of the most intense in preseason camp, so that is where we will start, before things get, shall we say, a little too intense.

"Especially as camp drags on, you don't hate the other guy, but if he gets the best of you, you might be a little upset and give him something after the play or something, but it goes either way," said guard/center Brian Gaia.

"Spring ball is intense alone, but camp is a whole other level," said defensive end Garrett Sickels. "The tempers are going. If you get beat, you have to keep it in check, but there is definitely a lot of testosterone going around. You're living with these guys and some of them are your best friends. [Offensive linemen] Andrew Nelson and Brendan Mahon are two of my best friends, but we get into it in practice sometimes."

So yeah, let's take a closer look while they still agree on things, like the importance of their August battles.

"It's everything," said guard/center Derek Dowrey. "We take more reps against them than we will anyone else all season, so the better they are, the better it makes us and vice versa."

"For three weeks we're not going against another team, we're going against ourselves, so we need the offensive linemen to be the best that they can be and give us their best look as possible to get our defensive line ready for the season, and vice versa for us," said Sickels. "We have to give the o-linemen our best look for all the d-lines they're going to play, so it is very imperative that both sides perform their best the next three weeks and we have to make sure we're very competitive and prepare each other for this season."

However, taking it easy on each other is simply not an option.

"We have to give each other good looks," said defensive tackle Parker Cothren. "In the game, there are no friends out there, so that's how we have to go out every day in practice and just remember [our opponents] are not going to take it easy on us on Saturdays, so we can't take it easy on each other."

"It's definitely a pretty intense rivalry," said Dowrey. "At this point, we've played exclusively against these guys in the spring. We haven't gone against anybody else since January. It's just been us and them banging heads for months now, so we'll get into it and we'll go day after day after day, just beating on each other. Guys get angry and there are some tensions, but it's all for the betterment of the team."

The intensity ratchets up in preseason camp as the battles take on more importance. A bad camp means your position on the opening depth chart is jeopardized, and who knows when you will get a chance to prove your abilities. For freshmen itching to play in their first year, they have to go above and beyond to earn the trust of their coaches, especially on the line, as there are limited roles for linemen to contribute in other areas, such as special teams, if they falter as dependable options in the playing rotation.

"I love camp. Not really, but I do," said Sickels. "I just love how competitive everyone gets and it's fun when we're in a live period and the offensive line is on the goal line and we're just trying to keep it out, and that's the most competitive period."

Each group has its goals. The offensive line has had extra homework as it is under completely new direction with a new offensive coordinator in Joe Moorhead and a new position coach in Matt Limegrover. They will also be protecting a new quarterback.

"All summer we've been working on attention to detail and all the small stuff, doing drills to make sure your first couple steps are perfect," said Gaia. "Coach Limegrover is a great coach, we love him and we've all bought into his system and how he wants us to play. Now it's just putting it out on the field."

The offensive line has faced strong competition recently, with three of last year's defensive line starters getting drafted into the NFL.

"It's extremely important, going against them and getting good live reps against them, just helps us for the game and it translates, especially the great d-lines we've had the past couple of years," said Gaia.

Sickels was also complimentary of his counterparts and the tests they provide on the practice fields.

"They are big dudes that love to hit and they get your hands on you, so it's a long day," he said.

Despite their talented losses, the Wild Dogs are not expecting to miss a beat, opting to dispel any notion of "rebuilding" with their expectation of "reloading." Cothren will be among the contenders looking to step up this season. He and his teammates will be using camp as an opportunity to sharpen their fundamentals under duress.

"We will be just fine tuning our tools: getting our hands right, getting our strike down, keeping our hand placement down, coming off the ball, exploding," said Cothren. "Attacking the offensive line, don't let them attack us. That's what we really try to be great at."

The defensive line also has a camp specific goal.

"I don't think Gaia showers in camp, so you just try to keep your distance from him because he just smells awful," said Sickels.

Let the rivalry begin.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Juwan Johnson

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Juwan Johnson.jpeg

Q: What is the one item you can't live without at training camp?
A: I cannot live without my bible. I need my bible during training camp because without my bible I don't know what I would do. I would lose myself.

Q: Describe the cold tub experience at training camp?
A: Cold tub experience is bad. One time I had to hop out and get my mind right for it. The cold tub is something else.

Q: What is the best meal at training table?
A: The best meal was Thursday, we had pizza, breadsticks and string beans. I love pizza so that is why it is the best meal.

Q: Who's the best dancer on the team?
A: The best dancer is Saeed Blacknall. He is from Jersey like me and he has some good moves.

Q: What is your walk out song of choice?
A: My walk out song of choice is "Dreams and Nightmares" by Meek Mill. He gets me hyped up with his dreams and nightmares.

Q: What is your favorite drill?
A: My favorite drill is some cut drills that has to do with wide receivers. I like showing off my footwork and those allow me to do that.

Q: Who does the best James Franklin impersonation?
A: I think I do. I did one last year and I did a pretty good Coach James Franklin impersonation.

Q: What classes are you taking during summer session?
A: I took African American History: Malcom X the first semester and second semester I am taking Psychology 100.

Q: Who is your breakout player this year?
A: I would say Saeed Blacknall. He is going to shock a lot of people. I have been working out with him during the summer and he is putting in the extra work.

Q: Who is your toughest match-up on the team?
A: John Reid because he is such a student of the game. Every time I go up against him he makes me better and I help to make him better.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Garrett Taylor

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Garrett Taylor-John Petrishen.jpeg

What is your favorite part about training camp?
For me, my favorite part about training camp is getting to bond with my teammates a little bit more. We are around each other at the dorms, we are spending more time together, so I feel like we bond a lot more during camp.

What is your least favorite part about training camp?
That is probably getting up at 6 a.m. every morning, but you get used to it after a while.

Describe the cold tub experience at training camp?
The cold tub is kind of a shock. After practice, you are all hot and sweaty and you jump into this tub full of ice. It feels good to get your legs recovered.

What is the best meal at training table?
We have crab legs some nights. You have to get there early before they run out.

What is your walk out song of choice?
I would say "Power" by Kanye West. It's a big fan favorite here, so I feel like if I played it here, I would get a warm welcome.

What is your favorite drill?
We do long ball drills with the wide receivers. It helps work on our long ball skills, if you are behind a receiver, catching up and getting used to playing the ball in the air.

What is your shake of choice from the nutrition bar?
I have this down to a tee, it's perfect. I have a full strawberry milk, two yogurts, a banana and two scoops of vanilla protein. It's been voted the best shake in camp, actually.

Who is your breakout player this year?
Nick Scott is going to have a really good year. I have been training with him all summer and he has been making an impact on the team already. I've seen all of the hard work and dedication that he has put in, so I am expecting him to have a really good year.

Who is your toughest match-up on the team?
I would say Chris Godwin. He is just massive. He has such great technique and knows the game so well, all of the ins and outs of being a really good wide receiver. Anytime I get the chance to go up against him, I am really happy because it's going to make me better.

What do you think about the new locker room?
Everyone's freaking out. It's nice. We have air conditioning in our lockers, we have personal charging stations in the lockers. I like it a lot.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Derek Dowrey

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Derek_Dowrey_MD.jpeg What is your favorite part about training camp? 
Favorite part about training camp is hanging out the guys. When I look back on my career, I am not going to remember much about the football, I am going to remember hanging out in the locker room and the dorms with the guys. 

What is your refueling drink of choice at training camp? 
Usually, I drink Diet Mountain Dew a lot, but during training camp, I drink a lot of Gatorade and water. 

What is your unofficial camp uniform? 
I have a seersucker jacket that I wore my sophomore year in high school, that I cut the sleeves off of and I wear that without a shirt underneath and a matching bow tie. It's been a favorite so far. 

What is the one item you can't live without at training camp? 
My playbook bag that is pink and purple with flowers on it. I carry that around the football building all the time with my playbook and music in it. 

What is your favorite drill? 
Stretch, nah, I'm just kidding. I like doing one-on-ones. It is a lot of competition and it's a good way to judge how you are doing with things. You can get quick results on your performance. 

If you could move training camp to any city, what city would it be? 
The city doesn't matter. You go three places in training camp - your bed, the cafeteria and the practice field. 

What is your shake of choice from the nutrition bar? 
Double banana with some vanilla protein. 

Who is your breakout player this year? 
If I had to pick one, I think Trace McSorley. He is going to surprise a few people. 

Who is your toughest match-up on the team? 
For me, I am going to say Curtis Cothran. He is a big, athletic guy. He has been playing defensive end so much, that I am having a hard time reading him. A lot of other guys, I can look at them before the snap and have an idea of what is coming, but he looks so goofy in his stance that I can't read it. He still looks like a D-end to me. He has been a lot of trouble for me. 

What is the best meal at training table? 
I am a big breakfast fan, so we do breakfast meals with bacon and eggs, omelets.

2016 Penn State Football Media Day

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VIDEO: Coaches Press Conference | Media Day Extra Point
TRANSCRIPTS: James Franklin | Coordinators
PHOTO GALLERY: Media Day

TRAINING CAMP CENTRAL

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions took the field at Beaver Stadium as a crowd of approximately 150 media members descended upon the facility Thursday for the annual Penn State football media day.

The day began with a press conference in the media room with head coach James Franklin, and coordinators Joe Moorhead, Charles Huff and Brent Pry followed on the dais before the team arrived shortly after the lunch hour for a 50-minute open session on the pristine turf beneath mostly sunny skies.

HIGHLIGHTS

James Franklin Press Conference

Coordinators Press Conference
Joe Moorhead

Charles Huff

Brent Pry

Players Session

Mike Gesicki, TE
On the start of training camp
This is kind of what we work for all off-season. This is exactly what we are looking forward too. I know I'm happy to be here and I can speak for all of the other guys; we're all happy to be here. We're all excited to get this thing rolling and excited for the opportunity to play this game for another year for Penn State in front of our great fans.

On the new locker room in the Lasch building
The new locker room is awesome. I think that it is very appreciated by all of us ... I think we're obviously one of the top universities in the entire country and I think that that kind of showed it. I think that locker room is just another piece of trying to show where Penn State is going and where we're heading the future.

With a little help, he figured out Periscope to interview his coaches and teammates

Malik Golden, S
On the defensive unit's mindset entering the season
We are a very determined group [on defense] and that starts with our respect for our leader, coach Pry; we would do anything for him. Coach Pry is always challenging us to be the best - not one of the best - but the best defensive unit in the country.

On his final media day in a Penn State uniform
It is crazy to think this is my final Penn State football media day. It is true when they say that time flies. It is hard to believe my time at Penn State is coming to an end, but I have this season to enjoy it and show everyone just how appreciative I am of their support. When I finally look back I know there will be a lot of good times and good people. I have enjoyed all of it so far.

Johnathan Thomas, LB
On the changes from playing running back to playing linebacker
I don't think there is a huge difference. The plays are new, the assignments are new, the scheme is new, but the biggest thing for me is just getting used to taking on defenders and blocks and getting off of those. I have to focus on filling the right gap and being in the right spot to help my teammates. It's not about making people miss now, it's about not missing the opportunity to make a stop.

On what he gains from the experienced linebackers around him
Our upper classmen set a great example for our younger linebackers. We have three guys with some great experience on the field - Brandon Bell, Nyeem Wartman-White and Jason Cabinda - who all really know the defense very well, while you have two guys in Manny Bowen and Jake Cooper who played a lot last year, so I have a lot of guys I can go to when I have questions about anything.

Curtis Cothran, DE
Best thing about the start of camp
It's that time of year, again. We get to put on the pads and get things started. It is an exciting atmosphere; almost like you are back in middle school, for me, or pop warner, for most of the guys - and you are just excited to be back on the field with the guys. It is no longer just lifting and conditioning, we actually get back to football.

On his message to the younger players before the start of camp
I try to let them know that this takes a lot of work. You will be doing a lot of different things; a lot of stuff you probably didn't do in high school, and you have to just be ready. The main trait is that nobody is perfect - not even me - and everyone has to be willing to take coaching, get better and work on their craft as much as they can before the season starts.

The Wild Dogs, DL

The Defensive Backs

Trace McSorley, QB

Saquon Barkley, RB
On his first media day
[It was] pretty cool. [On the GoPSUsports.com live stream] I was a little nervous, a little shaky. I don't know why because it was our guys, but maybe because it was the live internet. But when I got here, right when I sat down people got all around me and I was like "whoa, okay, it's going to be a long day." But it's just talking, and I love talking. I just slowly got more comfortable with it and now I'm fine with it, relaxed, laid back just talking football, what I love to talk about.

FIRST PRACTICE

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