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August 2017 Archives

Frantti Opens 2017 with Milestone Mark

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the 26th time in program history, a Penn State Nittany Lions has eclipsed 1,000 career kills. Senior Ali Frantti is the newest addition to the club, reaching the landmark in the second set of last Saturday's final match of the West Virginia Tournament.  Read More

Frantti Opens 2017 with Milestone Mark

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For the 26th time in program history, a Penn State Nittany Lions has eclipsed 1,000 career kills. Senior Ali Frantti is the newest addition to the club, reaching the landmark in the second set of last Saturday's final match of the West Virginia Tournament.

Frantti didn't become completely aware of her accomplishment until after the straight set victory was complete.

"I didn't realize I got it until my mom came up to me after the game," Frantti said. "She was like, 'Ali, that was your 1,000th kill', and I was like 'I didn't even know.' It was completely a shock. I had no idea."

Frantti needed only four kills to reach the magic number going into the West Virginia match, picking up her fourth kill on the final point of the second set.

For Penn State head coach Russ Rose, the milestone as an indication of how hard Frantti has worked in her time at Penn State to get to that point.

"What it means to us is that she's been a real steady performer," Ros said. "She was on the floor when we won a national championship when she was a freshman, she has battled some injuries throughout her career and has worked hard, and I'm happy that happened. I didn't know anything about it until I read it because we're really not about those things, but it's certainly a nice earned recognition for a real nice young person."

Rose has mentored some incredible talent in his program throughout his tenure, and he understands part of reaching such an accomplishment is being consistent every day. He even drew some similarities between Frantti's milestone and a few of his accomplishments in his own career.

"When you get certain milestones, those milestones are based on longevity," Rose said. "It's like coaching. If you coach for a long time and you have some success, you're going to win and get some plateaus that you might not get if you were doing something else."

Fellow senior Haleigh Washington knew something was up when she saw signs saying '1,000' in the stands, but she wasn't quite sure what they meant at first.

"The wRECking Crew came out to West Virginia and one of the girls had a poster that said '1,000,'" Washington said. "I was like, 'What are they talking about? Coach wins? Oh, it must be Frantti.' So I kind of got the pick up on Ali Frantti's 1,000th kill, so that was really cool to see and that's how I found out." 

Washington and Frantti were both sophomores when former Nittany Lion Megan Courtney became the 25th Penn State Nittany Lion to tally her 1,000th career kill in 2015. Washington remembers how excited she felt for Courtney and experiencing that again with Frantti.

"I remember being so proud of Megan," Washington said. "It was just awesome to see [Ali] following in that tradition of success and excellence at Penn State. It was obviously amazing."

Keeping with another Penn State tradition, the Nittany Lions stayed focused on the result of the weekend, what was most important to them of course.

"Obviously it's not all about individual awards, but it's pretty cool that I'm one of 26 people," Frantti said. "Most importantly, I'm happy that our team got a 3-0 win this weekend." 

Much like Rose said though, the level of focus during a match isn't met with any sort of thoughts about individual milestones or honors.

"We don't really focus on those kinds of things, we're not in the game thinking, 'Oh, this is what's going on, Ali's going to win this award,'" Washington said. "It's great that it happens, but when it comes down to it, it's about the win. It's about beating West Virginia because we need to beat West Virginia and get out of there. That's the mindset, and that's how you approach every game."

Penn State has already shifted its focus to this weekend, when steep challenges on the road at Texas A&M and against defending national champion Stanford await in Texas. A familiar non-conference opponent, Stanford bested the Nittany Lions last season, but this is a new year and with it, a new opportunity.

"It's always in the back of our heads, obviously, last year that wasn't the way we wanted to end it," Frantti said. "I think we came up short and we didn't perform to our standards. It's a new year, a new team, a new season and a fresh start. We're looking forward to playing them." 

In Rose's mind, Frantti and the seniors helped start the season off in the right direction, but the biggest tests are still ahead, beginning with yet another road test Friday.

"You want to see how your team responds when somebody makes a run against them," Rose said. "We didn't have a lot of that over the weekend. We saw a couple of matches on TV of some other teams that are way further along right now than we are, and it just indicates how much harder everyone has to work to get better if you want to compete at the highest level."
By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Preseason is officially winding down, as the Penn State Nittany Lions cross country teams travel the short distance to Lock Haven University on September 1st for the annual Dolan Duals to open up the 2017 season. Read More

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By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Preseason is officially winding down, as the Penn State Nittany Lions cross country teams travel the short distance to Lock Haven University on September 1st for the annual Dolan Duals to open up the 2017 season.

 

The Dolan Duals provide the men's and women's teams the opportunity to ease into the season. The competition is only a dual between Penn State and Lock Haven, instead of going into a huge invitational right off the bat.

 

"I've been very pleased with how our team's been training over the last three weeks. Lock Haven has always provided us with a good start to the season," said head cross country coach John Gondak. "As we kinda get the rust off the legs, it's a nice, flat 4k course and suits us well as we prepare to open at home next weekend with the Spiked Shoe Invitational."

 

"I love that we get to start with a little bit of a smaller meet, we're not exactly getting thrown right into the wolves like some teams do. I'm hoping that everyone gets a confidence booster and everyone has fun tomorrow," said senior captain Tim McGowan.

 

This meet is also a great way for the freshman and new members of the team to get accustomed to the new college cross country season.

 

"I think this race is really good for the newcomers and the freshman to really get their first college race out of the way. It's a really nice way to do a rust buster and be like, 'hey it's cross country season, get into it, it's grass and it's a lot harder than track,'" said senior captain Jillian Hunsberger.

 

One of the main ways for cross country teams to score the most points is to run as close to a pack as possible. All preseason the men and women have been running this way, and they are hoping this strategy follows them into the race tomorrow to get the most points as possible.

 

"I hope everyone just likes running together. We kinda use each other during the race, not trying to one-up each other or beat each other, McGowan said.  "I just want everyone to finish the race feeling like they had a really good day, and wasn't really using too much."

 

The best way for the team to run as pack is to stay together for the first part of the race, then start to challenge themselves as the race winds to an end.

 

"As we told our team today, our goal tomorrow is to run together as a pack the first half of the race and test themselves after that. They've been doing really well with that in practice, so hopefully they can continue this at the competition tomorrow night," said Gondak.

 

"I'd really just like us to keep it together for the first mile, be a little more conservative, then just see what everybody has the second half of the race or the last 2400 (meters) left of the race," said Hunsberger.

 

This race is the only tune-up before the Nittany Lions host their first home meet of the season, the Spiked Shoe Invitational, so it is a chance for them to ease into the season before the larger invitational starts.

 

"Tomorrow we're not trying to do anything too crazy, just kinda have a good effort, but still keep in mind that it is really early. I think I just want everyone to have fun running together and hopefully learn some things for the end of the season," said McGowan.

 

It is still early in the season, but it's never too early to set some goals. Both sides of the team have some high aspirations this year.

 

"I'm looking forward to Big Tens the most this season. I'm really looking forward to seeing how we do there. I think we have a really good team, so I want to see what happens," said Hunsberger.

 

"I want the team to do better. This is my last year so personally, I want to be able to leave Penn State pretty happy," added McGowan.

Tim Banks Q&A - Akron

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Tim Banks joined the first weekly assistant coaches conference call of the regular season to talk Akron week.  Read More

Tim Banks Q&A - Akron

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Tim Banks joined the first weekly assistant coaches conference call of the regular season to talk Akron week.

The No. 6 Nittany Lions open the 2017 season Saturday at Beaver Stadium with kickoff set for noon on ABC. Catch up on a few notes from Banks' media call this afternoon. 

- With five safeties listed on the depth chart (two at free safety and three at strong safety), Banks was asked if he plans to utilize all five Nittany Lions during a game and if so, what his approach to rotating would be.

"We want for everyone to have an opportunity to play based on them earning it week in and week out during the course of practice," Banks said. "It just changes, based on how well guys have progressed, how well guys are playing in the game, how many snaps are we playing. There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of variables to determine how many snaps the other guys get."

- Listed second on the three-deep at strong safety, Banks was also asked what areas of his game junior Ayron Monroe could work on. 

"He's still getting better, but he has made tremendous strides," Banks said. "He has picked it up from a physicality standpoint. He's a young man who has tremendous athleticism, very passionate about the game and studies. Obviously, he has battled through some things, he's healthy now, he's playing with what I would say, a little more violent mentality back there. I think as he continues to grow, he'll continue to develop." 

- Reflecting back on his season at Penn State, Banks was asked about one of his best moments from the year.

"Obviously being here was a great honor and having an opportunity to coach at such a storied program has been awesome for me," Banks said. "Just our kids, that senior class was unbelievable, the way they handled themselves and to watch those guys play at the level they played at was great. To see those guys finish on a high note was awesome. I don't know if you could have written a better storybook ending for such a great group of young men."

- From his perspective, Banks shared what it is about quarterback Trace McSorley that allows him to make things difficult for an opponent's secondary.

"He's a tough cover, I can tell you that - I call him Houdini," Banks said. "He is just one of those guys, from my vantage point, he has very good pocket awareness, he has that keen ability to feel the rush but still keep his eyes down field. He's athletic. He has what you call, 'it', in my opinion, he's just one of those guys. He's a special talent. I think our kids would echo that statement and I could tell you this, I'm super glad we only have to face him in practice and not on Saturday's." 

Tempo Fueling Lions Ahead of Home Opener

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By Maria Evangelou, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State field hockey has no hesitation kicking off the season with a strong start following a pair of road wins.  Read More

Tempo Fueling Lions Ahead of Home Opener

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By Maria Evangelou, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State field hockey has no hesitation kicking off the season with a strong start, with a 2-0 record after defeating Old Dominion University and University of Virginia on the road last weekend.

 

After a rigorous preseason and back-to-back games during week one, head coach Char Morett-Curtiss is continuing to focus on strategy and aggressive play on the field to keep the team on their toes, and keep up the winning streak.

 

"We're playing an up-tempo pace, which we really want to continue to impress upon at practices and into our games," Morett-Curtiss said. "We're putting great pressure on the ball to try to get our opponents out of their rhythm a little bit."

 

Penn State has certainly done just that, with three of the four goals in the game against Virginia scored within the first half.

 

Junior forward Gini Bramley was responsible for two of the goals, which she scored within a span of three minutes. After an impressive 2016 season and the skill she's shown so far this year, Bramley has been named a NFHCA Division I Award Winner and the Big Ten Offensive Player of the week following her performances across the weekend. Bramley led the team with three goals, with one against the Monarchs and back-to-back goals early in the win against No. 10 Virginia.

 

"The biggest part was moving off of my teammates," Bramley said. "I tried to find the spaces Virginia was giving us and my teammates made spaces for me to lead into. A big part of my goals were the passes I was given."

 

Junior forward Moira Putsch, is another key component of the Nittany Lion offense, with two remarkable seasons under her belt and a unique ability to dish the ball at just the right time for her teammates to finish. Aside from her knack for assists, Putsch came through in the clutch with the go-ahead goal against Old Dominion just minutes following Madison Morano's game-tying goal off a penalty stroke.

 

"My personal goal is to grow as a player, but really my main focus is the team's goals right now," Putsch said. "I want to be the best player for my teammates, by giving 100 percent at our practices, working on what Char and the coaching staff want us to do."

 

For Morett-Curtiss, she's proud of the team's progress this early in the season, but there's still areas for improvement moving foward.

 

"There's great team unity and cohesion," Morett-Curtiss said. "I would like to see a little bit quicker organization for better communication. I think they're really excited about playing at home, we have two tough opponents coming up against Temple and Wake Forest."

 

With solid returning talent and a record that reflects a promising open weekend, there's much to be excited about as the Nittany Lions prep for their first regular season home-opening weekend.

 

"We're really excited about this season," Putsch said. "There are lots of players who can step up and so much room to grow."

Practice Report: Akron Week

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The countdown is winding down as Penn State Football hosted its first mid-week media availability of the regular season ahead of Saturday's Akron opener at Beaver Stadium. James Franklin and wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton both met with members of the media for a final look at pregame preparations before game day arrives.  Read More

Off the Field with Nittany Lion Internships

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While just a few days separate Penn State Football from its return to Beaver Stadium for its season opener against Akron, take a step back toward the earlier months of summer for a closer look at what the Nittany Lions were up to off the field.  Read More

Practice Report: Akron Week

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The countdown is winding down as Penn State Football hosted its first mid-week media availability of the regular season ahead of Saturday's Akron opener at Beaver Stadium.

Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin and wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton both met with members of the media Wednesday evening for a final look at pregame preparations before game day arrives. 

Franklin Feeling Confident
While Franklin noted consistency earlier this week, there's a variety of reasons he's heading into the 2017 season with confidence this year.

"I think we've had a lot of guys back who have played a lot of football for us," Franklin said. "I think because of their approach in meetings and their approach with practice and their approach off the field. I don't think it's one factor that gives a coach confidence like practice, it's so many other things."

Showing Hamler the Ropes
Hamilton noted that this training camp was a bit of an interesting experience, being a senior rooming with early enrollee wide receiver KJ Hamler for training camp. 

"Camp is kind of interesting to me because I was rooming with KJ and I'm teaching him the offense, teaching him the ropes of college football and it really brought the game into a different perspective for me," Hamilton said. "Being in the game for so long, I'm probably about five or six years older than KJ, he's trying to get his feet wet, so teaching him and playing at the same time, you really get to see the game from both aspects and it just makes you that much better as a leader and player."

Holland's Improvement
Franklin had tremendous praise for tight end Jonathan Holland, noting his maturity as a key component in his improvement.

"The light has really kind of gone on for him in the last year through spring ball and now this fall where he kind of gets it," Franklin said. "He's being great with his nutrition, he's being great in the weight room, he had a great offseason, he's big and strong and durable enough to get in there and mix it up in the run game and I think we've all seen, he's an athletic guy and able to make plays in the pass game."


A Motivated Man
The offseason has been abuzz with Hamilton's playmaking skills this season. With a renewed mindset following the Rose Bowl Game, he hasn't let off the gas pedal in his preparation, poised for a record-breaking season in 2017.

"I knew I wasn't going anywhere, like the NFL or anything like that so I just knew that this is my last season and I've got to make the best of it and do everything for my teammates to make sure we can do everything we can win games," Hamilton said.

Off the Field with Nittany Lion Internships

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While just a few days separate Penn State Football from its return to Beaver Stadium for its season opener against Akron, take a step back toward the earlier months of summer for a closer look at what the Nittany Lions were up to off the field. 

While offseason workouts and strength training are all key to summer development on the field, taking time to gain some hands-on experience outside of the classroom is just as vital to Penn State football student-athletes.

A total of 10 Nittany Lions secured internships during the offseason, with a few others spending their summer down time working at the Red Cell Analytics Lab on campus with the College of Information Sciences and Technology.

From finance to physical therapy and communications to criminology, internship experiences were far and wide, taking Nittany Lions anywhere from Happy Valley to New York or even as far as Oregon.

Check in with a few of our Nittany Lions who shared their summer internship experience.

Senior punter Danny Pasquariello is among eight Nittany Lions with an undergraduate degree, having graduated last December with an economics degree before moving on to pursue his second in labor studies and employment relations this fall. 

While scouring the web one day, Pasquariello's research led him to Geller & Company, a boutique financial services firm that offers private wealth management and investment management services for high net worth individuals. 

"Geller has a pretty big book of clients and there are about 500 people in the firm," Pasquirello said. "You really get a good grasp of everything in New York because we were dealing with clients down on Wall Street and then everything in Manhattan, so it was a pretty broad scope for a small boutique company."

With a little more research, Pasquariello stumble upon head of manager selection Jonathan Barbato, a Penn State alumnus who even completed the same module as Pasquariello in the economics program. With contact information at the end of his biography, Pasquariello took a chance and decided to reach out with an email.

With hiring timing coinciding perfectly with his note to Barbato, Pasquariello quickly submitted his resume, completed a pair of interviews and earned an offer. As one of 12 interns selected, Pasquariello beat out about 100 other prospective interns, also earning the single intern spot on the investments team.

In a typical day, Pasquariello sat in on a mid-morning meeting to check in on the markets before a client briefing. Spending the rest of the day diving into client portfolios to complete a summer-long project, his experience wasn't over once he left the building. 

Pasquariello spent as much time as possible reaching out to Penn State Football lettermen in the area, often meeting for lunch, dinner or even a simple cup of coffee. Getting to know those who had come before him.

"We spoke about Penn State Football, what we're doing, how we got there. I really built up a great network of people," Pasquariello said.

Networking was also a highlight for Nittany Lion quarterback Trace McSorley, who spent the summer interning with Merill Lynch at its State College branch, following in the footsteps of Penn State kicker Sam Ficken, who also completed the same internship two years prior. 

For McSorley, a typical day included adjustments to client wealth outlooks and databases, while also sitting in and shadowing meetings throughout the day. 

"The best part was the networking that I was able to do," McSorley said. "Being able to get in touch with some former letterman who are Merill Lynch or even any client who was coming in, I was able to at least get a formal introduction. I was able to go over to the Penn State Investments office as well and meet with everyone there too."

Wide receiver and telecommunications major DaeSean Hamilton also kept it close to Happy Valley this summer, completing his internship with the State College Spikes, Penn State's minor league Class A Short Season affiliate team of the St. Louis Cardinals. 

For a more behind the scenes the experience on the Intercollegiate Athletics side of things though, journalism Marcus Allen spent the summer interning with Penn State Marketing, with RPTM major Parker Cothren at Penn State Sports Camps and telecommunications major Saeed Blacknall just up the stairs in the Lasch Building interning with the Nittany Lion video productions staff.

For Blacknall, he stumbled upon his internship opportunity one day when he found himself checking in with assistant video director Blake Newsock in his office.

"He didn't know that I had any video editing experience so I was upstairs asking questions and I came back up and showed him some of my stuff from high school and he looked at it and was really surprised," Blacknall said.

Blacknall started out making simple highlights and videos growing up for himself and his little brother, knowing that when he arrived at Penn State he'd settle on his telecommunications major.

"I'm really proud of my growth," Blacknall said looking back on the experience. "Not even looking at my first project, but looking at how far I'd come from iMovie to completing my last project."

For corner back data sciences major John Reid, he went to the west coast for an internship opportunity with Intel on one of its five campuses in Oregon. 

"I worked with the data center group," Reid said. "They do a lot of work with servers and platforms. They have some really big customers, usually your everyday user isn't really buying servers, it's more for larger companies." 

Arriving at a sprawling Intel campus, as an intern Reid was allowed to dine in the cafeteria, as well as take some time for a little fun in a game room. Reid even admitted to getting lost a few times trying to navigate his workplace, having to use maps to find his way.

On the experience side of things, Reid spent his days moving back and forth between his desk and a lab, spending most of his time working on projects surrounding machine learning, an area Reid thrives in. 

Often a complex topic to the average passerby, Reid, who enjoys all things tech for fun, smiled while breaking down topics and frameworks like artificial intelligence, using thoughtful metaphors to illustrate the connected to deep learning and machine learning. All things he noted are often used interchangeably, but to someone like Reid, they're all actually very different.

"Most of my stuff has been self-taught," Reid said. "We have a couple of PhD students here at Penn State in my lab who have been helping me out, but when I learn a new concept, I bring it to them to verify my understanding." 

Taking his unique talent to Oregon this summer, Reid noted that many of the interns and staff members he worked with actually didn't even know about his other talent. One of three interns on his team, Reid's football career didn't come up too much in all of the complex coding and algorithms among many other topics too complex to comprehend.

"I think my manager and the manager of the team knew that I played football but they didn't end up finding out that I played football until I guess they saw the tags on my book bag," Reid said. "I don't think there are many football players who do machine learning or artificial intelligence." 

For Reid, the experience provided of course a valuable network and a tremendous opportunity, but also a big step toward a different passion of his that doesn't take place on the football field. 

"After football, I think I want to be part of that generation that pioneers those big breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence, one that has computers that are actually able to somewhat 'think,'" Reid said.

 

By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the leaves change and the weather grows crisper, the loyal fans of the Penn State men's soccer team never miss a night at Jeffrey Field; no matter if they recognize who dawns the Blue and White jersey or not. Read More

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By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the leaves change and the weather grows crisper, the loyal fans of the Penn State men's soccer team never miss a night at Jeffrey Field; no matter if they recognize who dawns the Blue and White jersey or not.

 

Last Friday night's home opener gave way to new jersey numbers, new faces and new experiences for both players and observers.

 

"I played a lot of futbol in my life, but putting on that blue and white jersey was really special to me," said forward Ethan Beckford, who made his way to Happy Valley from Manchester, England. "My first college game, very exciting."

 

"As soon as I stepped out to the pitch I think there was 2-3000 people there," added midfielder Aaron Molloy. "It was fantastic. All of the boys were ready. It was tough we didn't get the result, but it was fantastic to play your first game and to get more to come."

Beckford and Molloy were joined alongside Callum Pritchatt and Kyle Perno as the newest starters to take the pitch for Penn State in the team's opening slate against Hofstra.

 

"Well we've been together two weeks and two days and we had a lot of new starters, so some of the things they did very well was they got better as the game went along," said head coach Bob Warming on the group. "We were a little out of sorts in the first part...but I think they grew as the game went and I think they really created four great chances to score a goal against a team that is tough to get behind."

Although the Blue and White fell in a grueling 1-0 battle against the Pride, the team is ready to look forward to the rest of the season, especially this week's road trip to California. While returners will travel for the second consecutive season to the Golden Coast, newcomers will be getting the taste of Division I travel for the first time; some players coming from across the pond are experiencing the state for the first time all together.

"I can't wait to go," said Molloy. "Since I've committed, coach told me we were going...and it just put a big smile on my face...All the boys are great company to be around so we will have a lot of fun in California."

The Nittany Lions' California campaign will begin on Sept. 1 against UC Irvine and will bookend with Loyola Marymount on Sept. 3.

Although the Blue and White hope to redeem themselves and put two wins under their belt before returning to the East Coast and the confines of Jeffrey Field, Warming sees this trip as an opportunity to continue developing the team's chemistry and comfortability, especially for the newest additions.

"That's exactly it, you know, it's just having everybody away from campus in a new environment where it is just us again," said Warming. "It is very important and I love these early season trips."

Three of the four new starters, Beckford and Pritchatt (England), and Molloy (Ireland), call outside of the United States home, which makes the travel to California another entirely new experience. Besides their excitement for the more temperate weather as opposed to the cold, rainy conditions in England and Ireland, the entire team finds great opportunity in experiencing new cultures and another style of play in California.

"You see different cultures and what players bring to the field because of the culture they come from," said Warming. "I am really looking forward to that because when you get to the NCAA Tournament you see all different kinds of teams."

While a number of the international transfers and recruits will feel the warmth of the California sun and see the Pacific Ocean for the first time, Perno is well accustomed to the Golden State. After his freshman year on UC Santa Barbara's turf, he transferred coasts to Penn State and earned a starting defensive position for the 2017 slate.

"California is an awesome place," said Perno. "Penn State is great, but there is nothing like California."

While Perno is well seasoned in what it is like to visit and live in California, he also provides a crucial source of scouting for the Penn State's men's soccer team because he played UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount just last season for UC Santa Barbara.

"The West Coast style plays a lot different from here," said Perno. "They like to dribble...They don't like the physicality of the East Coast game so I think we have that to our advantage."

Although the California campaign goes beyond soccer and hopes to extend a hand in achieving new experiences and build more team chemistry, the Penn State Nittany Lions' biggest goal is to secure two productive wins before they return back to Jeffrey Field.

"We are going to go there to win and outperform, outperform our opponents," said Beckford.

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms. 

Tuesday Roundup - Akron Week

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Press conference takeaways from head coach James Franklin's first weekly press conference along with exclusive one-on-one video interviews with Curtis Cothran and Ryan Bates. Read More

Tuesday Roundup - Akron Week

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Transcript: Franklin I Transcript: Cothran & Bates I VIDEO: Akron Week Q&As

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football hosted its first weekly media availability Tuesday afternoon with Nittany Lion head coach kicking off his weekly press conference schedule followed by defensive lineman Curtis Cothran and offensive lineman Ryan Bates.

Franklin led off taking a moment to address the recent events in Houston surrounding the devastating flooding from hurricane Harvey.

"First of all, our thoughts and prayers go to the City of Houston," Franklin said. "Seems a little insignificant right now to be talking about college football with the things that are going on in the city, so our thoughts and prayers there."

Consistency was theme for the offseason, as Franklin noted this year's training camp was perhaps the most consistent he has been a part of.

"The programs that I've been associated with, you get into the dog days of summer camp, and there's always one or two practices where the guys are sore or it's hot or they are tired or whatever it is, and you've got to pull it out of them," Franklin said. "I thought the coaches did a good job of setting the tempo in our meetings. I thought the leaders on our team really brought the right energy and mind-set out to practice every single day, and we practiced really, really well."

For Franklin, there simply wasn't a day where coaches left frustrated with performances on the field, with the Nittany Lions all making a unified decision to make the most of each practice.

Having released the depth chart less than an hour before taking the podium, even with position battles settled, there's still a level of uncertainty when it comes to game day.

"I think the first game of the year is always challenging because you just don't completely know what you're going to get - what offseason studies have they done, what offseason studies have we done, we've tweaked some things, have they lost some players, do they have some injuries that they are not communicating right now with the roster and the depth chart and the camp," Franklin said.

A more veteran team with increased depth and maturity though, Franklin noted that he's comfortable with the team's ability to "flip the switch" come Saturday.

"I think that that naturally happens," Franklin said. "Guys just get to the point in training camp with spring ball and then summer work outs and then training camp where they are ready to go against another opponent." 

"I've been going against the same guys for the past couple months," Bates said. "So I'm very excited to come out here and hit somebody else."

On The Quote Board -
- Cothran on the progress of the offensive line from his perspective on the defensive line.

"It's a great challenge in practice. We face them every day. It definitely makes our defensive line way better because we're able to face those guys in practice. When we go to other teams, Big Ten offensive lines and things like that, it will definitely get us ready. It's very impressive to see the way that they have packed on the weight - good weight." 

- Bates on settling in after transitioning on the offensive line.

"I think the biggest thing I had to work on is my kick set for pass protection. Being at tackle you have a lot more space than you do at guard or center. Actually, I am naturally more comfortable at tackle. I trust my ability. I've always considered myself to have good feet and that always helps being on the outside, like they say, on your own island. I feel comfortable. I feel good." 

- Franklin on developing a solid No. 3 option behind quarterbacks Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens.

"I think the quarterback position is like a lot of the positions that we have on our team, and it's a challenge and it's a change - that this is normal. Obviously Sean Clifford is a guy that we were excited about coming in. Probably was much further ahead than we had anticipated mentally. Has really picked this offense up quickly."

- Cothran on Torrence Brown's hoops skillset.

"I've seen him play hoops. I've definitely seen him play hoops. He definitely lives up to the name. I'm pretty sure he won like - Mr. Alabama or something like that, so he's definitely a hooper. It's nice to see him -- he's definitely a two-sport athlete."

- Bates on what makes a good offensive lineman.

"To be a good offensive line, you have to have trust in each other. I've got to trust that the guy next to me is going to do his job and he has to trust that I'm going to do my job. That's the most important, really, and you're kind of throwing me on the spot here. I am trying to think off the top of my head about three traits. Trust is the biggest one. And, you have to be tenacious. You have to want it. You have to want to put someone in the dirt. Chemistry is a huge one, too, not only on the field but off the field. We hang out. We do everything together. Chemistry is a big one."

VIDEO: Akron Week Q&As

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football is set to kick off the 2017 season at home Saturday hosting Akron at noon in Beaver Stadium. Catch up with offensive lineman Ryan Bates and defensive lineman Curtis Cothran ahead of the opener. 

Ryan Bates

Curtis Cothran

Nittany Lions Release Depth Chart

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Ahead of the 2017 season opener, Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin has released the first depth chart of the year. Read More

Nittany Lions Release Depth Chart

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2017 Depth Chart - Akron Get Acrobat Reader

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's one day closer to kickoff in Beaver Stadium, with Penn State Football set to welcome Akron to Happy Valley Saturday. 

Ahead of the 2017 season opener, Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin has released the first depth chart of the year. 

Penn State's first depth chart features a wealth of experience and depth, even including a few new faces, who will look to make an impact with each opportunity presented. 

The Nittany Lions return nearly all of the pieces responsible for powering one of the most high-octane offenses in recent history. Following a standout season as the newest Nittany Lion signal caller, Nittany Lion quarterback Trace McSorley returns for another season atop the depth chart, throwing for a record 3,614 yards in 2016. 

McSorley's options are stacked with potential, including a pair of preseason All-Americans in running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Mike Gesicki, both listed atop the depth chart, dotting the 2016 with game-changing moments and pure playmaking ability. 

Mark Allen and Andre Robinson also return to the running back unit behind Barkley, rounded out by Miles Sanders, who is also listed at the top spot for the Nittany Lions on kickoff returns. Sanders set the single-season record with 33 kick returns in 2016, listed ahead of Polk and Barkley to round out the group at kickoff return. Allen played in 13 games with two touchdowns in 2013, while Robinson played in 12 games in his redshirt freshman season, totaling six touchdowns, including five rushing and one receiving.

At the tight end position, Jonathan Holland is listed behind Gesicki, coming off of a standout spring season. He's joined by Nick Bowers and Tom Pancoast. 

Penn State's offensive line features no shortage of experience with a combined 59 career starts between veteran right guard Brendan Mahon and right tackle Andrew Nelson. Mahon is listed atop the depth chart at right guard with Chasz Wright listed alongside Nelson at right tackle. 

Since Franklin's spring ball announcement, Connor McGovern will continue to lead the Nittany Lions in the middle, having made nine starts at right guard in his true freshman season last year. 

Ryan Bates is listed first on the depth chart at left tackle, ahead of Will Fries and Sterling Jenkins. At left guard, Steven Gonzalez moves to the top position in front of newcomers Mike Miranda (early enrollee) and C.J. Thorpe. Both Miranda and Thorpe are among eight true freshman to appear on the first release of the depth chart. 

Yet another veteran group highlight's McSorley's prime potential targets at wide receiver with Juwan Johnson (X), DaeSean Hamilton (H) and DeAndre Thompkins (Z) all topping the depth chart. Penn State has even more potential with returners in Irvin Charles, Brandon Polk and Saeed Blacknall also in the second spot. Both Mac Hippenhammer (Z) and KJ Hamler (H) are also listed in the three-deep as true freshmen. 

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Having to reload along the defensive line is nothing new for the Nittany Lions as Sean Spencer's Wild Dogs include the (Curtis) Cothran and (Parker) Cothren duo at defensive tackle, with Shareef Miller and Torrence Brown securing a pair of top defensive end spots left open by NFL departures from Garrett Sickels and Evan Schwan. At defensive end, Spencer's precise rotation could also include upperclassmen in Ryan Buchholz and Colin Castagna, with Shaka Toney and Shane Simmons listed right behind the two, coming off of a pair of productive offseasons. Both Kevin Givens and Robert Windsor are listed behind Cothran and Cothren at defensive tackle with a combination of Ellison Jordan or Antonio Shelton and Robert Windsor and Tyrell Chavis listed at the third spot at defensive tackle. 

Even with the NFL departures, the Nittany Lions return more than half of its sack production in 2017, coming off of Penn State's first back-to-back 40-sack season since it recorded three straight from 2005-07. Givens is currently atop the returners with 4.5 sacks in 2016. 

Jason Cabinda will lead the linebackers once again from the middle linebacker spot, with Brandon Smith and Jake Cooper behind him on the depth chart. 

Manny Bowen is listed atop the depth chart at Will linebacker with Koa Farmer taking the top spot at Sam linebacker. Coming off of solid season making the transition to linebacker, Farmer made significant progress in the offseason, with Bowen bringing tremendous experience, playing in 13 games last year, including 12 starts at Will linebacker.

In the secondary, Marcus Allen will lead the unit as Penn State's top free safety, with veteran captain Nick Scott behind him on the depth chart. Opposite Allen is senior Troy Apke at the top spot as Penn State's strong safety, ahead of Ayron Monroe and Garrett Taylor. All three had tremendous offseasons with Taylor earning the training camp takeaway king honor earlier this week. 

Veteran leader Grant Haley will also lead for the Nittany Lions at field cornerback. In his final season in the Blue and White, Haley is ahead of Amani Oruwariye and Zech McPhearson. A few new faces are behind senior Christian Campbell at boundary cornerback. Garnering a significant amount of buzz in training camp, true freshmen Tariq Castro-Fields and Lamont Wade are both listed behind Campbell. 
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There's hardly a surprise on special teams with true sophomore Blake Gillikin and fifth-year senior Tyler Davis handling punting and kicking responsibilities. Alex Barbir is listed behind Davis at kicker, with Daniel Pasquariello behind Gillikin. 

Filling departures left behind from graduation, backup quarterback Billy Fessler will take on holding responsibilities ahead of Pasquariello and Gillikin, with Kyle Vasey listed as Penn State's top long snapper, ahead of Jan Johnson and true freshman Joe Calcagno.

On the punt return, Thompkins is atop the depth chart ahead of Allen and fifth-year senior and newly converted running back Josh McPhearson. 

No. 6 Penn State and Akron are set to meet Saturday at noon in Beaver Stadium, with the matchup airing live on ABC. 

Monday Notebook: Game Week is Here

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Game week has finally arrived in Happy Valley. With less than a week until kickoff against Akron in Beaver Stadium, take a quick look at a few interesting notes to get ready for game day. From familiar MAC opponents to Nittany Lions on the move in the record book, Penn State Football is nearly back in action. Read More

Monday Notebook: Game Week is Here

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Game week has finally arrived in Happy Valley. With less than a week until kickoff against Akron in Beaver Stadium, take a quick look at a few interesting notes to get ready for game day.

From familiar MAC opponents to Nittany Lions on the move in the record book, Penn State Football is nearly back in action.

MAC Attack
Mid-American Conference opponents are no stranger to Penn State yearly schedules, making frequent appearances, especially recently. Since 2006, the Nittany Lions have met at least one MAC squad in each year except for the 2008 season. In the same span, Penn State has opened the season with a MAC opponent on four occasions, or five counting 2017, kicking off the year with the Zips in both 2006 and 2009.   

More than half of the Nittany Lion coaching staff has made at least one career coaching stop at a current MAC program, with six coaches having spent at least one season at a member institution. 

2016: vs. Kent State (33-13, W - season home opener)
2015: vs. Buffalo (27-14, W)
2014: vs. Akron (21-3, W - home opener)
2013: vs. Eastern Michigan (45-7, W - home opener)         

           vs. Kent State (34-0, W)                                             
2012: vs. Ohio (24-12, L - season home opener)                
2011: vs. Eastern Michigan (34-6, W)
2010: vs. Kent State (24-0, W)
2009: vs. Akron (31-7, W - season home opener)
2007: vs. Buffalo (45-24, W)
2006: vs. Akron (34-16, W - season home opener) 

Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead spent five seasons at Akron, in a variety of position coach roles, serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2006-08. With Moorhead on staff, the Zips made the trip to Happy Valley for Penn State's 2006 season opener, fittingly enough, on September 2nd.

- Special teams coordinator and running backs coach Charles Huff coached the running backs at Western Michigan in 2013.
- Tim Banks made stops at Bowling Green (1996, 1999-00) and Central Michigan, serving as the defensive coordinator at Central Michigan from 2007-09. Banks was also a four-year letterman at Central Michigan at cornerback, co-captaining the 1994 MAC Championship team.
- Josh Gattis coached the wide receivers at Western Michigan in 2011.
- Sean Spencer coached the defensive line at Bowling Green from 2009-10.
- Defensive coordinator Brent Pry spent a year at Buffalo as an undergraduate assistant coach in 1992, following a career-ending injury after lettering as a defensive back.

Record Book Watch
Following a record-setting 2016 season, several Nittany Lions will continue their climb through the Penn State record books, approaching a few career milestones to keep an eye on this year. 

Saquon Barkley
- Barkley currently ranks 12th on Penn State's career rushing yardage list (2,572), needing just 246 yards to crack into the top 10. He'll need 684 yards to break into the top five and 1,360 yards to match Evan Royster's (2007-10) all-time mark at 3,932 career rushing yards. 

- Already in the top 10 with 25 career rushing touchdowns, he's 13 rushing scores outside of matching Lydell Michell's record (38, 1969-71). On the single season side, Barkley's 18 rushing touchdowns in 2016 is tied for fifth, with Michell's 26 rushing touchdowns in 1971 holding the top spot.

Blake Gillikin
- Gillikin had a standout rookie season last year, setting the freshman record with a 42.8 punting average in 2016, which also slated him third all-time on the career list. On the career punting average list, Gillikin is slotted behind both George Reynolds (43.0, 1980-83) and Jeremy Boone (43.1, 2007-09). 

Trace McSorley
- McSorley surged to the top of the single season passing yardage list in 2016, throwing for 3,614 yards with 29 touchdown passes. On the career all-time list, he's one spot shy of the top 10 with 3,799 career passing yards, needing 620 yards to break into the top 10 and 1,942 yards to match Daryll Clark (2006-09) at fifth with 5,742 yards. With 31 career touchdown passes, McSorley is already tied for ninth in the record book, but would need 17 just more touchdown passes to match Christian Hackenberg's (2013-15) all-time mark (48). 

- McSorley could also crack the top 10 on the Penn State career total offense list with 702 more yards, also trailing the No. 5 slot by 1,793 yards, which is currently held by Tony Sacca (6,000, 1988-91). Having set the single season total offense record last year with 3,979 yards, McSorley also enters 2017 at 4,008 yards behind Hackenberg's career leading total offense record at 8,215 yards.

Marcus Allen
- Penn State's tackles leader returns in 2016, as Allen enters the 2017 season with 249 career tackles. With a team-high 110 tackles in 2016, Allen finished just outside the top 15 on Penn State's season tackles list. This year, Allen is 24 tackles outside of matching Brandon Short (1996-99) at 10th all-time and 66 tackles shy of equaling Brian Gelzheiser (1991-94) at fifth on the career tackles list (315). 

DaeSean Hamilton
- Hamilton already ranks 10th all-time with 1,985 career receiving yards, but would break into the top five with 410 yards, which would also put him in elite company as the ninth Nittany Lion with 2,000-plus yards. He's also trailing Bobby Engram's all-time career record (3,026) by 1,041 yards. With nine career receiving touchdowns, Hamilton could also enter the top 10 with four more touchdown grabs. 

- Hamilton moved into a tie for fourth place on the Nittany Lion career receptions list with 161 catches last year, needing only 18 grabs to match Deon Butler's (2005-08) career mark of 179 career receptions.

Tyler Davis
- Davis, or Mr. Consistent, as he has come to be known is also currently among Penn State's most accurate field goal-kickers in program history with a 93.8 career clip. Having made 30 of 32 career attempts, he's ranked 12th on the career field goals list, needing to nail six more field goals to match Collin Wagner (2007-10) at 10th all-time. 

Mike Gesicki
- Following a 2016 season including the single season record for receiving yards and touchdowns by a tight end, Gesicki is poised to take on the career lists in 2017. With 918 career receiving yards, Gesicki is just outside the top five on the tight end career chart needing 425 receiving yards to match Ted Kwalick (1,343, 1966-68) at first all-time. 

- With 72 career receptions, Gesicki is also just 15 grabs shy of matching Andrew Quarless (2006-09) with 87 all-time receptions by a tight end.

Remember Last Year ...
Maybe it was a bit of foreshadowing, but Penn State used a solid second-half showing to defeat Kent State, 33-13, in its 2016 season opener. The Nittany Lions scored 17 unanswered points to shutout the Golden Flashes in the second half. Amani Oruwariye highlighted the third quarter with a pick-six, returning it 30 yards for Penn State's first interception return for a touchdown since 2014, while the newly reloaded defensive line helped turn in 6.5 of a season-high seven sacks.

By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lions (0-1, 0-0, B1G) fell to the Hofstra Pride (1-0, 0-0, CAA) in a 1-0 defeat on opening night at Jeffrey Field. Read More

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Recap

By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Nittany Lions (0-1, 0-0, B1G) fell to the Hofstra Pride (1-0, 0-0, CAA) in a 1-0 defeat on opening night at Jeffrey Field.

 

"You never want to start a season off like this on your home field but we were happy with a lot of our chances," said associate head coach, Chad Duernberger. "It's a tough one for us and we are moving onto California for the next one."

 

History was not on the Nittany Lions side as they failed to add another win to their opening weekend record since 2011 ( now 8-2-2). In that time, the Blue and White had found a consistent amount of success on the pitch in late August, but their persistent efforts on both sides of the ball were just short of another early season victory.

 

"I think we did really well defensively," said goalkeeper, Evan Finney. "Besides that one shot... they really had no other opportunities, they really couldn't break us down."

With Finney in net and captain Dani Marks at the helm of the defensive efforts, Hofstra only had one corner kick opportunity and nine shots on the day.

The Hofstra Pride capitalized on one of their nine shots early in the first half. Danny Elliot, a forward for the Pride, scrambled inside the box amongst teammates and defenders for a top right shelf goal. His shot was the only one that met net on Friday night.

 

The one shot proved to be the achilles heal of the Nittany Lions' efforts as the rest of the match turned into a physical stalemate throughout the thirds.

 

"It was definitely a physical game," Duernberger said. "We had some new guys who had to adjust to the physicality of the game so that will come and now they have experienced it."

Like Duernberger mentioned, Penn State had plenty of chances as they secured 15 shots and forced eight corner kicks. Substitute forward, Christian Sload, made Hofstra's defensive third nervous in the back half of the match. He launched two rockets that deflected off of goalkeeper Alex Ashton's gloves both times and sent the crowd to the edge of their seats.

Freshman defender from the United Kingdom, Callum Pritchatt, thought the team's inability to put the ball in the net was their only blemish on the day.

"Everything, but score," said Pritchatt when asked what the team did well.

In his debut, Pritchatt was among the company of Finney, Marks and Austin Maloney as the only Nittany Lions to play the entire game. He also added another commanding defensive component to their stronghold on the backline.

"I think our new players shined," said Duernberger. "We got guys who came across the pond from Europe...This was their opportunity and I think they played well."

While some players were making their debut, others, like Finney, were stepping on the pitch for their last home opener at Jeffrey Field clad in the Blue and White with their cleats tied.

"It was a bit emotional but it also was just fun," said Finney. "The crowd was great tonight."

The Penn State Nittany Lions hope to regain their footing as they head on their California road trip. Their first matchup is against UC Irvine at 10 p.m. on Sept. 1, while they will close the west coast out against Loyola Marymount on Sept. 3 at 4 p.m.

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms. 

Pregame Check-In: Lions Open on the Road

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Checking in with head coach Char Morett-Curtiss and Nittany Lions Skyler Fretz and Cori Conley ahead of the season opener on the road at Old Dominion. Read More

Pregame Check-In: Lions Open on the Road

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -  For head coach Char Morett-Curtiss, an opening weekend against Old Dominion and Virginia gives a purpose to the preseason. With preseason out of the way, Penn State is set to kick off the 2017 season on the road this year, traveling to Norfolk to meet Monarchs Friday at 6 p.m.

"You can't glide into your season," Morett-Curtiss said. "You've got to be ready to hit the ground running and those two opponents really bring out the best in us so we know that it's going to be challenging because of the opponents we are facing, but also challenging being on the road and away from home."

Prior to the opener, we caught up with Nittany Lions Skyler Fretz and Cori Conley for a closer look at the team mentality ahead of a season where Penn State will look to build upon a Big Ten Tournament tile and a spot on the NCAA Tournament field of six for the seventh straight season.  

"We talked about the process and we've just been building off of what we started off last year during the season, which kind of gradually went into the spring so we're building off last season," Conley said. 

More from Conley and Fretz below. 

Training Camp Breakdown: Tight End

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, featuring Penn State's tight end group. Read More

Training Camp Breakdown: Tight Ends

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The countdown to Penn State Football has reached single digits as the Nittany Lions gear up for the 2017 season opener in Beaver Stadium.

Ahead of the 2017 season, check in for one final position-by-position look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster.

Who's Back:
- Danny Dalton (So./Fr.)
- Jonathan Holland (Jr./So.)
- Mike Gesicki (Sr./Sr.)
- Nick Bowers (Jr./So.)
- Tom Pancoast (RS-Sr./Sr.) 

Additions:
- Joe Arcangelo (So./So., 6-4/252, Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights).

What To Watch For:

Electing to return to the Blue and White for his final season as a Nittany Lion, veteran tight end Mike Gesicki returns in 2017 as the clear leader in the room.

As early as Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, Gesicki noted that although he's come a long way, from once unsure of to get into a three-point stance to a selection on the Preseason Associated Press All-America team, he still has work to do.

Named to an additional four preseason All-America squads, Gesicki is fresh off a standout 2016 season, which included breaking the Penn State single-season record for receptions and yardage by a tight end, along with tying the Nittany Lion single-season record for touchdown catches for a tight end (5).

Even with the success, Gesicki noted that there's still much to do as continues to progress toward becoming a complete tight end. Earlier in preseason camp though, it was Gesicki who also noted that tight ends coach Ricky Rahne's focus on the details in large part, what's driving his improvement.

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"Coach Rahne has done an unbelievable job coaching not only myself, but the entire tight end group," Gesicki said. "He's a guy who has focused so much on the little things and technique. I honestly can't say enough about him. In the meeting rooms, we're always joking around, we have a great relationship with him. It's fun to come out here and play for a guy like that."

Just yesterday, it was wide receivers coach Josh Gattis who noted that there's only growing excitement as the days get closer to the opener with so many possibilities in both rooms, naming Gesicki as a prime target, given what each opposing defense presents.  

Through the offseason and into spring ball, there was also significant buzz surrounding Jonathan Holland, who added nearly 15 pounds to his frame during the offseason. He capped off a productive spring season with eight catches for 62 yards in annual Blue-White Game. Last year, Holland played in 12 games, seeing time mostly on special teams. 

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Joining Holland, Rahne also noted in an earlier preseason media session that he was pleased with the progress of a few other returners, naming Nick Bowers and Tom Pancoast. 

"Nick Bowers has great size, he can run, he can catch, do those sorts of things and he's a very physical blocker," Rahne said. 

Bowers was sidelined last year with an injury after redshirting his true freshman season in 2015.

Pancoast played in all 14 games in 2016, seeing time on special teams. Throughout the offseason both Gesicki and Rahne noted Pancoast's preparation as a unique asset. 

"He's really dependable," Rahne said. "You know exactly what you're going to get from Tom all the time. He knows all the plays, he knows all the adjustments, he knows all those sorts of things. He has great hands. He's a really reliable guy there."

Field Hockey Fall Sports Media Day Five

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By Maria Evangelou, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State field hockey head coach Char Morett-Curtiss took to the microphone for Fall Sports Media Day Wednesday morning to preview the upcoming season, which kicks off Friday on the road at Old Dominion.  Read More

Field Hockey Fall Sports Media Day Five

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By Maria Evangelou, GoPSUSports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State field hockey head coach Char Morett-Curtiss took to the microphone for Fall Sports Media Day Wednesday morning to preview the upcoming season, which kicks off Friday on the road at Old Dominion.

Catch up with Morett-Curtiss for a closer look at five takeaways from the media session.

Preseason Strategies
To start the season off with a bang, Morett-Curtiss put in place a rigorous plan to ensure and encourage improvement from last year, focusing on building fitness levels and positive attitudes. 

"We had an outstanding preseason," Morett-Curtiss said. "I thought the players came back ready to get going, they were fit. It's nice that they kind of had a little bit of a head start on their conditioning factor."

Morett-Curtiss also noted that a main focus this year is increasing speed, with a consistent, high-tempo playing style as the result.

"We've implemented a little bit of a different format," Morett-Curtiss said. "We limited our time on the field, spent a lot of time in video, and just really working on an aggressive style of play to get the season started."

While planning preseason to focus on an assertive attack technique this season, Morett-Curtiss also keyed in on expectations for a few key returners. 

Juniors Moira Putsch and Aurelia Meijer, both forwards, had impressive seasons statistically at Penn State with goals and assists. For Morett-Curtiss, Putsch and Meijer will be key in 2017.

"Moira (Putsch) had a tremendous year, as did Aurelia last year, so we're really looking for those two to get the ball on goal."

As Morett-Curtiss strongly believes though, there's always plenty of room for improvement. 

"They did a nice job in the previous scrimmages putting the ball around the goal but not putting the ball in the goal," Morett-Curtiss said. "Fortunately, they've had some assists, but you know, we're going to work a little bit more this week on honing our corner."

The sunshine was also on Penn State's side, allowing for a smooth week of preseason while Morett-Curtiss and the staff put together final preparations ahead of the season opener.

"It was a great week, the weather was very cooperative, so you always appreciate that," Morett-Curtiss said. "We got a lot accomplished and I think it really reflected in our two scrimmages [against James Madison and Syracuse]." 

Facing the Challenges
With a successful season ending in with a disappointing loss in the first rounds of the NCAA tournament last year, Morett-Curtiss and the team knew there's still work to be done.
 

After an 11-3 record and high hopes going into the tournament, Penn State left feeling defeated. With those three losses against Princeton, Maryland, and Northwestern, all whom Penn State will face again this fall, Morett-Curtiss plans to use her strategies to prepare the team for whatever may come.

"We're still working on our defense to play as a unit, and then we really want our midfielders to be very aggressive getting in to the attacking line," Morett-Curtiss said.

Progress Points
Penn State recently traveled to Syracuse for a scrimmage, having already met James Madison earlier in preseason. Despite showing some nerves and uncertainty with the first scrimmage of the season, Morett-Curtiss had the team work with a sports psychologist to regroup, boosting the squad for a much improved showing at Syracuse. 

"I think what happened is they all crashed at once and they weren't really there to support their players on the field, so we didn't really have any options when it came to playing the ball out," Morett-Curtiss said. "So big, big improvements stretching the field, ball speed was something else we addressed, so I think that they made those changes and it was very clear against Syracuse."

Their strong points moving foward? The team has many, as Morett-Curtiss is proud to point out. "We always say build up our layers, get ahead of the ball, so we're trying to put our fitness into the game, which we think could be a big advantage for us."

Keeping the Big Picture in Mind
Although Penn State struggled with some challenging opponents and rough losses among last year's highlights, Morett-Curtiss likes to emphasize the importance of taking it one game at a time, and putting the past in the past. 

"As we say every year, it's 2017 now, just like last year it was 2016," Morett-Curtiss said. 

The focus now remains on the start of the season this coming weekend, against Old Dominion and Virginia.

Growing the Game
With the Big Ten Network broadcasting Penn State field hockey, Morett-Curtiss and the team appreciate the exposure it brings to both the school and the sport. From a recruiting standpoint, the elevated exposure brings new, excited potential summer campers , who are often enthusiastic about being amongst the Penn State student-athletes they were able to watch on TV. Morett-Curtiss also emphasized the importance of field hockey being on a national stage more frequently than just every four years for the Olympics, all helping to further expand the growing sport.

Women's Volleyball Fall Sports Media Day Five

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Russ Rose, seniors Haleigh Washington and Ali Frantti spoke at Penn State women's volleyball's Wednesday morning Fall Sports Media Day session the Bryce Jordan Center.  Read More

Women's Volleyball Fall Sports Media Day Five

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By Tom Shively, GoPSUsports.com student staff writer 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Russ Rose, seniors Haleigh Washington and Ali Frantti spoke at Penn State women's volleyball's Wednesday morning Fall Sports Media Day session the Bryce Jordan Center. 

With the start of the season only two days away, check out some important takeaways from the media session.

Senior Leadership
Five of Penn State's seven seniors on the roster were freshmen when the Nittany Lions last claimed their seventh NCAA Championship in 2014, and now they feel it's time to pass on the torch. A renewed sense of urgency has taken over the senior class as they recalled their championship run three years ago and how the seniors on that team helped them to grow. 

"Winning that freshman year, I think the seniors really carried us and took us under their wing," Frantti said. "For our freshmen, sophomores and juniors, we want to win for them. It's an incredible experience and one you'll never forget."

Now upperclassmen, the Nittany Lions understand that they are setting the tone for the team and have to be mature and focused at all times in order for the team to achieve the best results.

"Our freshman year we were on the floor, we were just kind of running around playing volleyball, we didn't know what was happening," Washington said. "Now we have that different responsibility and it's not just playing volleyball, getting to roll around like a carefree freshman." 

Intense Training
The Nittany Lions are consistently at the top of the conference in major offensive and defensive categories, returning most of the heavy hitters this year, accenting the offense as one of Penn State's biggest strengths. 

The mixture of veteran power and young talent is poised to contribute immediately, making for a lineup that is as dangerous as any in the country.

However, the Nittany Lions didn't get to this point without a little pushing from Rose, as he has always believed in finding just the right balance between pushing hard early in preseason training in order to maximize their production when it really matters in the postseason. 

"That's the big question," Rose said. "Do you want to push your team really hard at the risk of making them tougher, or do you just want to have a nice recreational thing and make sure that everyone's happy and healthy and ready to start the season, excited for their new uniforms and new apparel. Obviously, you know which way I lean."

Striving For Consistency
Washington and Frantti are two of the more impactful contributors, not only on the team, but nationally and even as seniors, there are always areas to work on and develop throughout the year. 

While both feel their knowledge of the game and skill set has grown a tremendous amount, there's still some fine-tuning to be done to make sure that they give Penn State the best possible chance to compete for a national championship in 2017. 

"I think your skills are always developing and there's never a thing you are 100 percent set on," Washington said. "You always have something to get better at. My hitting is something I could always get better at, my blocking I could always get better at, there's never one specific thing. So maybe at one practice I'm trying to focus on my serve, but I'm always trying to sharpen every part of my game."

"I want to concentrate on serving aggressively, it's something coach always talks about in our gym," Frantti said. "Being aggressive with our serves is crucial."

Penn State Coaching Community
Penn State Athletics programs have historically experienced tremendous success, especially within the most recent season. A perennially conference and national championship contender, Penn State women's volleyball team is often among yearly highlights both academically and athletically. 

Penn State's unique collection of coaches are largely to commend for the success, and the relationships and openness between each coach allow for an environment in which each one can learn from another.

"All of the teams, players and coaches support each other and feel good about interacting and asking questions," Rose said. "It's not a right to be a college athlete, it's a privilege and I think it's the same thing for coaches as well."

Focusing on What's Ahead
The Nittany Lions routinely preach focusing on one game at a time and not looking too much into the past. With last year in the past, Penn State isn't focusing too much on preseason polls, which slotted the Nittany Lions as the favorite to win the Big Ten. 

"The offseason didn't really change, we worked just as hard as we did after we won the championship our freshman year," Washington said. "Coach likes to say 'don't focus on the past, it's about now'. You work just as hard, win or lose."

The Nittany Lions open up the season on Friday against Tennessee-Martin at 4:30 p.m. as part of the West Virginia Tournament. Penn State closes out the weekend with a pair of Saturday matches against Delaware at 10 a.m. and the Mountaineers at 7 p.m. in Morgantown.

Training Camp Report: Week 4

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Checking in for an update from the Wednesday weekly media session during training camp, featuring a pair of Penn State coaches along with corner back Christian Campbell and quarterback Trace McSorley. Read More

Training Camp Report: Week 4

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football hosted its final midweek training camp media availability Wednesday evening at the Lasch Building.

Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin and wide receivers coach Josh Gattis joined quarterback Trace McSorley (who happens to be celebrating a birthday) and cornerback Christian Campbell for a few breakout sessions for a final look at training camp preparations before game week arrives. 

Shifting Focus
With less than two weeks until the season opener, Franklin noted this evening that Penn State has shifted its focus to Akron prep, with depth at nearly all positions taking shape.

"We're in to Akron now and we've kind of shifted from focusing on Penn State to focusing on Akron so I think what you saw today, is probably a good indicator of what our depth chart will look like," Franklin said.

Spreading it Around
Gattis noted that all the depth and experience among a variety of potential receivers has only made his job tougher, but he's confident he'll settle on a rotation that keeps everyone fresh. 

"We've got four guys out there, counting Mike Gesicki, who could easily be our number one receiver," Gattis said. "I don't think you can judge anybody on our team based on how many catches they have per week because everything we do is predicated off of what the defense is giving us. So we're not going to force our hand and force it to one guy, we're going to spread the ball around and that's the neat thing about this offense."

Johnson Continues to Impress
Spring ball was abuzz with the improvement from wide receiver Juwan Johnson, with nearly every Nittany Lion noting the junior was poised for a big year in 2017. 

"Juwan's going to have an unbelievable year," Gattis said. "He's playing at an extremely high level, probably could be, the highest level that we've ever had here at practice."

For both Gattis and McSorley, having the opportunity to learn from current Tampa Bay Buccaneer Chris Godwin was a springboard to his improvement.

"He has greatly improved his technique and his route running, and kind of his savviness throughout his routes," McSorley said. "That's something he kind of picked up from Chris (Godwin). Whenever Chris would come back and do his workouts, he would go out with Chris and learn from him."

Building Something Special
Last week Penn State announced that Franklin has signed a contract extension of six years, extending Franklin's tenure to at least the 2022 season. Following the announcement, Franklin has had time to reflect on not only how much has changed since he was first named head coach, but also listen in on the outpouring of kind words from those close to the program. 

"I think for me, it's about stability," Franklin said. "I think we've started to build something here that can be really special and it provides stability obviously for my family, but it provides stability for my assistant coaches, for their families, for our players, in recruiting, all of those types of things. I think you guys know, I still believe that we still have a lot of work to do and a lot of different areas, but I think we've made tremendous progress and this allows us to continue in that direction."

A Language of His Own
Both McSorley and Campbell noted that signature to linebacker Jason Cabinda is his own language that he uses to communicate, understood by only a few. 

"He and Saeed (Blacknall), they make noises that you can't understand what their conversation is, and they do it all the time," Campbell said with a laugh. 

For McSorley, the unique language is of course difficult to describe, but does involve a single noun, that could mean anything.

"I can't even explain it," McSorley said. "You have to hear it and kind of be able to understand it yourself."

We'll take McSorley's advice. 

By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the summer season quickly turning into the fall, and the preseason quickly turning into the season, the Penn State cross country team is going into this upcoming year with heavy goals in mind.  Read More

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By Alyssa Palfey, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With the summer season quickly turning into the fall, and the preseason quickly turning into the season, the Penn State cross country team is going into this upcoming year with heavy goals in mind.

 

There's less than two weeks until the Nittany Lions will be away at Lock Haven University at the Dolan Duals and head coach John Gondak feels that their preseason has prepared them fully for their upcoming fall. In case you missed the Fall Sports Media Day with Gondak and two captains, Jillian Hunsberger and Tim McGowan, here are five things you need to know in order to be caught up on everything cross country.

 

Preseason Prep

Gondak is happy with the training of the athletes as they enter their second week of preseason and is glad to have the beginning heat and humidity of preseason mainly out of the way.

 

"Preseason's going to go a lot better now that we got that heat and humidity out of here that was here for the first few days of practice, but it's been a very exciting fall so far, Gondak said.   "We've only been out on the woods and running on the trails for about a week now, but I've been really, really pleased with the groups that we have and the kids that we have, especially our young athletes who have come in and are really running well as a group."

 

Weather Effects

Running even with a little heat and humidity can be a hard adjustment and difficult challenge for any runner, but with cross country always being outside, runners need to adapt to any type of weather situation.

 

"The heat effects people in a different way, especially the humidity. As much as you want to learn things from it, it can also be a little bit dangerous," said Gondak. 

 

Gondak does believe training in all types of weather is beneficial for potential races that may occur in that same weather, but also knows that it can be dangerous and sometimes not so beneficial for the athletes. He recently pushed a workout back a day because of weather in order to receive a better effort in regards to the athlete's workout ability.

 

Accomplishing Accountability

Gondak looks for accountability when selecting captains for the team, and he believes seniors Jillian Hunsberger and Tim McGowan bring that aspect and much more to the table.

 

"One of the things that you really count on captains to do is to have accountability and when the team is out training, as much as I would love to run with them, I think those days are well past me and so you need to have the strong leaders out there who are able to hold the team together and hold the group together and encourage the young athletes," said Gondak.

 

Running as a Pack

"We're a pretty close team. We just came off a training trip at Colorado, where six of us went out there. We all got really close," said McGowan.

 

One of the main goals for a cross country team is to become close and to use that closeness to run as a pack. The closer you can finish as a team, the better the team score is going to be. Gondak is excited to see that mentality already occurring from both sides. That mentality will ultimately determine the success of their seasons.

 

 

Higher Goals

"My goal from the beginning, coming in from high school, has just been every year, to get better, to place higher at the meets that we had previously gone to," said Hunsberger. "Last year, I was All-American. I obviously hope to do that again. I just take every season and see what I can do."

 

Coach Gondak wants different things from the women's side and the men's side. The women's side has been extremely successful the past few years, and he hopes to not only to continue that, but to do even better. For the men, he has been pleased with their current training and expects them to start making a name for themselves in the conference race.

 

"I really think you're gonna see them move up in the conference and that's their goal: to get back in the upper half of the conference where they belong."

By By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Erica Dambach and senior defenders Brittany Basinger and Elizabeth Ball spoke at Penn State Media Day Wednesday morning, following the team's 2-0 start to the 2017 season. Read More

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By Jack Dougherty, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Head coach Erica Dambach and senior defenders Brittany Basinger and Elizabeth Ball spoke at Penn State Media Day Wednesday morning, following the team's 2-0 start to the 2017 season.

 

The Nittany Lions took down No. 8 BYU 3-1 last Friday and defeated Hofstra 3-0 on Sunday. Penn State vaulted from unranked in the United Soccer Coaches poll to ninth in the country after the strong start.

 

The team will be back on the pitch Friday to face Arkansas, but for now here are five takeaways from media day.

 

Tough Road Ahead

Dambach has made it a priority this year to gain experience playing the very best the country has to offer. Penn State will play three consecutive games against top 10 teams before beginning the conference slate.

 

Playing No. 2 West Virginia, No. 4 North Carolina and No. 10 Virginia in the span of nine days will be one of the most grueling stretches any team will endure this season, but Dambach views it as a positive.

 

"We've got one of the more challenging out of conference schedules that we've ever faced, and we felt like it was the right year to do it with great leadership from [captains Basinger and Ball] as well as a really strong senior class," Dambach said. "We also love to bring in big names to Jeffrey Field and get the community an opportunity to see the highest level of women's soccer and great opponents. But for these guys we want to test them in every environment. We want to challenge them in every way possible before we get in to Big Ten play."

 

How the Nittany Lions fare out of conference this year will prove how ready they are to compete for another National Championship.

 

Welcome Back!

Emily Ogle, Kaleigh Riehl, Ellie Jean, Maddie Elliston, Rose Chandler, and Laura Freigang all return to the team this year after playing in the U-20 Women's World Cup in 2016. All six will look to jump into the lineup for the Blue and White this season.

 

"It's awesome to have so much depth because there's more time to sub and we have more time off of our feet and so it's just awesome to have all the girls back," said Ball. "They came back seamlessly."

 

Reihl, Jean and Elliston bolster the back line that already featured Basinger and Ball. Being able to rotate defenders in and out without losing a step will be a huge advantage for Penn State this season.

 

"Going into a season knowing that you can rely on your defense and your unit in the back line feels good. Going into a season with depth in your back line feels even better," Dambach said.

 

Ogle fits right back into her role of creator and possession specialist in the center midfield position. Almost every attack runs through her when she's on the pitch, and she rarely turns the ball over.

 

In 2015, her freshman year, Ogle scored seven goals and tallied two assists. She already has a goal and an assist in two games this year.  Freigang, who spent time with the Nittany Lions in 2016 before the World Cup, earned Big Ten All-Freshman honors last season from her midfield position.  


Chandler, the goalkeeper of the group, played in five games for Penn State in her freshman 2015 year, and earned Academic All-Big Ten honors that season.  


Freigang played in 15 contests during her freshman year in 2016. Last year she scored two goals before missing the NCAA Tournament to join Germany at the U-20 Women's World Cup. 

 

Oh Captain My Captain

Basinger and Ball were named 2017 captains by the team before the season. They have the most experience on the roster, as Basinger is playing in her fifth year and Ball has been a starter for three years.

 

They have patrolled the back line for what seems like forever, and their chemistry on the field is unmatched.

 

"One of the things I like about these two is that they've got different skill sets, and they balance each other out really well," Dambach said. "I think they're both big voices within our team in terms of their respect that they've garnered over the years. When our team selected these two they wanted to be held accountable. So far I've been really impressed with what they've done."

 

Nittany Lions in Prime Time

The Big Ten Network will televise three Penn State regular season games this year--the matchups against North Carolina, Northwestern and Rutgers.

 

The network also provides fans a way to watch every PSU game via BTN Plus.

 

"The effect that it's had on our program alone in women's soccer has been overwhelmingly positive in terms of the feedback from the alums," Dambach said.

 

Dambach also said the television coverage has helped immensely with recruiting nationally and internationally.

 

Thanks to BTN, players' families can watch every minute of Penn State women's soccer. Even program alum Rocky Rodriguez's family was able to watch her games from Costa Rica when she is from.

 

Penn State Pride

Both Basinger and Ball spoke about what the Penn State experience means to them.

 

"To play for Penn State is a complete dream for every young girl," Basinger said. "Being able to put that jersey on every Friday and Sunday is something that I look forward to. This is my fifth year and it never gets old."

 

"Every night that we get to put on our jersey, I think we all have a sense of just how grateful we are and we all recognize that feeling and it's just incredible because there's no better place to play soccer in the country," Ball said.

 

Dambach, whose parents are Penn State alumni, also said that this is her dream job and she wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

 

"Being a part of the Penn State athletic department has been even more than I expected in my wildest dreams," Dambach said. "It's a family, and I think that's what keeps so many of us here. We look around and we look at the quality of the coaches and we look at the comradery within the group and we look at this town and the community and there's no better place to coach college soccer in the country."

By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As classes begin and preseason winds down, the Penn State men's soccer team prepares for its opening night kickoff at Jeffrey Field. The team hopes to start off the 2017 campaign with a win against the Hofstra Pride under the lights and among the loyal Blue and White. Read More

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By Madeleine Balestrier, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As classes begin and preseason winds down, the Penn State men's soccer team prepares for its opening night kickoff at Jeffrey Field. The team hopes to start off the 2017 campaign with a win against the Hofstra Pride under the lights and among the loyal Blue and White.

As last season's campaign saw 13 games with one-goal decisions, which also forced eight overtime appearances, the 2017 squad is prepared to face adversity and motivate more success and improvements.

Head coach Bob Warming has six returning starters and eight newcomers to help contribute on the pitch, as they look to improve from its 8-8-2 overall 2016-season-record. They will start their California road trip on Sept. 1., while Big Ten play will kickoff on Sept. 8 against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Before Friday's 7 p.m. matchup, Penn State Athletics spent Fall Sports Media Day catching up with Coach Warming, captain Dani Marks and goalkeeper Evan Finney. Here are five things you need to know to be prepared for everything men's soccer and Blue and White.

Free Kicks
The Blue and White is looking to improve on the offensive side of the ball in 2016, as they scored 22 goals in 18 games last season. Warming attributed the number to free kicks, which has been a point of emphasis this preseason.

"We got to be better on free kicks," said Warming. "We were minus-one last year...Teams who went to the Final Four were anywhere between plus-8 and plus-14. Huge difference. So we gotta be better for those."

 

International Presence
The Penn State men's soccer team has nine players traveling from beyond the confines of the United States. One Nittany Lion, Finney, believes their training in places like England and Ireland will add another level of success to their squad.

"I think they really added a depth to our team that we might not have had in the past with range of passes, accuracy of passes, intelligence on the ball, off the ball, movement, stuff like that." said Finney. "I think we will be very good defensively and I think the players we brought in will help us out a lot."

As American soccer gains popularity, so does the international presence in the collegiate sphere. Last year the Nittany Lions only housed four international players as opposed to this year's nine players.

Captain's Keys
As captain and defensive stronghold, Marks believes a focused and united squad will help the Blue and White have a successful season on the field and in the locker room.

"Having everyone on the same page, which we do now, and getting towards the same goal, which is taking one game at a time and being 100% committed to every single game," said Marks on the team's keys. 

Going Modern
Warming continues to emphasize the use of technology to motivate the Nittany Lions into peak physical and mental shape as the season quickly approaches. The Penn State men's soccer team is the first field sport at the University to involve GPS tracking and heart-rate monitors into their practices.

"Every number is up in terms of our testing," said Warming. "We've got an unbelievable amount of physical data that is being taken place."

Players are able to monitor their hydration, calories, and speed through these practices. It is also essential to the team's injury prevention program.

#11asONE
Last year the team motivated and played for the "all in" mantra, this year the Nittany Lions are subscribing to #11asONE.  

"We have it in our locker room," said Warming. "It is on a lot of our social media things...When you get in that rarified air of the great teams, when you watch them play in our sport they move together they move as a unit. All 11 players are on the same page and they move fluidly across the field and dynamically and it is amazing to watch when you get to that point. That is our mantra, that is our goal."

For more information on Nittany Lion men's soccer, log onto www.GoPSUsports.com and follow the team on the various social media platforms.

Training Camp Breakdown: Safeties

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, featuring the Penn State safeties. Read More

Training Camp Breakdown: Safeties

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's the final week of training camp for the Nittany Lions as game week draws closer with each passing practice. 

Ahead of the 2017 season, continue checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster.

Who's Back:
- Nick Scott (Sr./Jr.)
- Ayron Monroe (Jr./So.)
- Garrett Taylor (Jr./So.)
- Will Blair (So./Fr.)
- John Petrishen (Jr./So.)
- Mitchell Vallone (RS-Sr./Sr.)
- Troy Apke (Sr./Sr.)
- Marcus Allen (Sr./Sr.) 

Additions:
- Jonathan Sutherland (Fr./Fr., 5-11/200, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada/Episcopal (Va.), Drew Hartlaub (Fr./Fr., 5-11/180, Hanover, Pa./South Western), Justin Neff (Fr./Fr., 6-1/187, Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain).

Subtractions:
- Malik Golden.

What To Watch For:
Penn State returns key experience and leadership in Allen, who was recently selected by his teammates as one of eight team captains for the 2017 season. On five different major award watch lists headed into the season, there's no doubting Allen's talent and ability to come through in the clutch, exemplified no better than his game-changing blocked field goal attempt in the win against Ohio State of course.

As Allen noted in Chicago at Big Ten Media Days, his leadership goals involve making everyone around him better, utilizing his unique energy and enthusiasm - the "energizer bunny" as he calls it, to motivate those around him.


Allen led the team with 110 tackles last year, making him the first Nittany Lion to lead the team in tackles since
Shawn Mayer (144) in 2002. Among other highlights, Allen posted a 22-tackle performance in the win against Minnesota all before earning All-Big Ten third team honors from the league's head coaches and honorable mention distinction from the media. 

Another key veteran among the unit is Scott, who played in 13 games last year and finished third on the team with eight special teams tackles. A true leader on special teams for the Nittany Lions, Scott was selected among Penn State's first three team captains to guide the team in 2017. Similar to Allen, Scott has the same level of infectious enthusiasm.

Having made the move from running back to safety in spring of 2016, Scott wasted no time this offseason fine tuning his frame, leading the safeties in winter conditioning before wrapping up a stellar spring season with several moments of positive praise from both head coach James Franklin and defensive coordinator Brent Pry.

Among other experienced returners, Franklin noted at media day that Apke, Monroe and Scott are all in the mix, especially with the graduation of Golden.

"A guy that I think is going to have a huge year for us is Troy Apke," Franklin said at media day. "The guy's played a bunch of football for us, but hasn't really been the guy yet, and has a chance to kind of step into that role. Ayron Monroe has done a nice job as well and is fighting for time and for a more significant role. Nick Scott is doing the same thing. So we're starting to get into a better situation there from a depth standpoint. There are a bunch of other guys I could name, but those four guys for right now."

Apke played in all 14 games last season, making one start (against Minnesota) and registering 28 tackles, including five on special teams. He highlighted the season with his first career interception in the fourth quarter in the win against Iowa. Monroe played in 10 games during his redshirt freshman season, closing out the year with a team-high 12 special teams tackles. As early as media day, Allen noted that in just the first few practice it was Monroe who was making some head-turning plays in training camp.

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Nittany Lions Ready for 2017

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Catching up with Penn State head coach Bob Warming, redshirt junior Dani Marks and sophomore Pierre Reedy for a closer look inside preseason training and what to look forward to in 2017. Read More

Nittany Lions Ready for 2017

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State Athletics events schedule is rolling along with men's soccer set to officially open its 2017 season Friday evening. The Nittany Lions welcome Hofstra for a 7 p.m. matchup at Jeffrey Field.
 

Ahead of the opener, catch up with Penn State head coach Bob Warming, redshirt junior Dani Marks and sophomore Pierre Reedy for a closer look inside preseason training and what to look forward to in 2017. 

Eleven Themes for Eleven Weeks
Penn State head coach Bob Warming noted that this year the Nittany Lions have 11 themes that correspond with the 11 weeks of the regular season. Selected by the team, the themes surround a building identity, encompassing everything from what they want to be to the legacy they want to leave behind.   

Marks Leading the Way
Warming and the Nittany Lion coaching staff selected Marks as the team's 2017 team captain. While Warming noted that Marks will possibly be joined by a few of the team's selections. For Warming, Marks embodies an exemplarily men's soccer student-athlete, so much so that he was selected in the spring season.

International Influence
Of the seven Nittany Lions joining the roster in 2017, five call home somewhere outside the United States. Adding to an already diverse group, the unit is already getting acclimated to each other.

"It's cool to have a lot of the international guys come in," Reedy said. "You get to learn a little bit about their culture, they are all funny guys we mess around with each other and we're all getting to know each other's playing styles."

West Coast Trip
Following Friday's home opener against Hofstra, Penn State will head to California for a five-day trip that includes pair of west coast matchups at UC Irvine and Loyola Marymount. 

"I think the trip is important because it's a long trip and it's one more chance for the guys to bond," Warming said.

Meet the Team Night!
Ahead of the home opener, the Nittany Lions will host a team meet and greet with the Sons of Jeffrey, the official student section organization exclusively for men's soccer. Free food, games and even a student wing eating contest are among the activities set to begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on Little Jeffery (adjacent to Jeffrey Field).

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 8

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By Ashni Dhruva, Penn State women's golf

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Day six in Ireland includes a trip to Ballybunion Golf Club before a few afternoon excursions. Read More

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 8

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Our  trip has ended the exact same way it started ... a CANCELLED flight! We started off with an early morning, piling into the bus at 6:45 a.m. We then had a two hour drive to the Shannon Airport only to go inside and find out that our flight had been cancelled.

So, we packed up the bus again and headed to the Dublin Airport to try and catch a flight back to the United States. While we were waiting for the coaches to figure out the situation, the team stayed back in the bus jamming out to throwback songs and talking about the memories we made throughout the week.

The coaches returned to the bus with some good and bad news. The bad news is that we will be staying an extra night in Dublin and hopefully be able to fly out tomorrow morning. The good news is that we get to make up the day we didn't have at the start of our trip!

We had a wonderful dinner and we can't wait to get back to State College! 

- Ashni Dhruva, sophomore

Training Camp Breakdown: Offensive Line

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, featuring the offensive line.
Read More

Training Camp Breakdown: Offensive Line

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Week three of training camp is winding down, with Penn State capping off the weekend holding its annual team photo day Sunday afternoon at Beaver Stadium.
 

Ahead of the official start of the 2017 season, continue checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster. 

Who's Back:
- Andrew Nelson (GS/Sr.)                  - Zach Simpson (Jr./So.)
- Steven Gonzalez (Jr./So.)               - Brendan Mahon (RS-Sr./Sr.)
- Charlie Shuman (Sr./Sr.)                  - Connor McGovern (So./So.)
- Sterling Jenkins (Jr./So.)                  - Hunter Kelly (So./Fr.)
- Chasz Wright (Sr./Jr.)                      - Alex Gellerstedt (So./Fr.)
- Michal Menet (So./Fr.)                      - Will Fries (So./Fr.)
- Ryan Bates (Jr./So.) 

Additions:
- Crae McCracken (Fr./Fr., 6-2/301, Williamsport, Pa./Loyalsock Township), Mike Miranda (Fr./Fr., 6-3/291, Stow, Ohio/Stow-Munroe), C.J. Thorpe (Fr./Fr., 6-3/314, Glenshaw, Pa./Central Catholic), Des Holmes (Fr./Fr., 6-5/325, Norristown, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara), Robbie Martin (Fr./Fr., 6-4/280, Sparta, N.J./Saint Joseph Regional). 

Subtractions:
- Brian Gaia, Wendy Laurent, Tom Devenney, Adam De Boef, Noah Beh, Brendan Brosnan, Paris Palmer. 

What To Watch For:
It's no surprise that Penn State's offensive line is trending upward and much improved, shaped by the leadership of second-year offensive line coach Matt Limegrover with an added boost from a full complement of scholarships available to the Nittany Lions.

"Two things that stand out to me with the offensive line is the physicality," defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry said on media day. "We've got pretty good front guys that are lining up toe to toe daily with those guys. Even going back to spring, just the movement and size and power and working together, it's hard to find a weakness."

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Even with steady improvement, there's still much to settle in training camp, with Penn State putting out seven different starting combinations in 2016. The common denominator amongst the group was of course veteran center Brian Gaia, who the Nittany Lions lost to graduation. 

By spring ball though, head coach James Franklin noted that among a bunch of changes, Penn State would move sophomore Connor McGovern to center. One of five true freshmen to start in 2016, McGovern made nine starts on the offensive line at right guard, before moving to center, where he'll have the entire offseason to continue building not only physical experience, but mental experience too with added leadership responsibilities coming with the position.

Among the veteran leaders in the room, Penn State has maturity and experience in Brendan Mahon and Andrew Nelson at left and right tackle. With 29 career starts, Mahon has the most experience, but was sidelined with an injury, along with Nelson, who missed eight games but has 27 career starts for the Nittany Lions. Working back to 100 percent, Franklin mentioned on media day that he was pleased with their progress.

"They've looked good," Franklin said. "I think when you've got seniors - redshirt seniors - that have played a lot of football, they've got a lot of maturity, so if you're going to have a guy that maybe is a little limited in terms of - they're not limited anywhere physically - their reps, they're probably guys who could handle that situation the best, and they've done a good job with it."

Like any position, injuries to the offensive line last year will only pay dividends this season, with depth now an option even as redshirt Nittany Lions join the mix. 

"Last year they were the unsung heroes of what we did," special teams coordinator and running backs coach Charles Huff said on media day. "Building on that, they have a lot more confidence. Some of those guys are back. They're challenging the younger guys. The younger guys that redshirted last year are taking bigger roles. We've probably seen a lot of growth from those redshirt guys that are really impressive."


In his redshirt freshman season, Ryan Bates joined Gaia as the only two offensive linemen to start every game last year, even making the move from left guard to tackle late in the season. With versatility to play guard, tackle or center, Bates was among Limegrover's top performers from spring ball.

With Bates' move to tackle, Steven Gonzalez made three starts at left guard, playing in 11 games during his redshirt freshman season. Chasz Wright also started all 14 games of his sophomore season last year, starting the final five games of the season at right tackle.

Adding into the mix for the offensive line rotation this year is redshirt Will Fries and Sterling Jenkins, both who Limegrover noted in spring ball as a pair making strides. 

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Among the newcomers, both Limegrover and Franklin were pleased with early enrollee Mike Miranda, who also made significant strides in the weight room as noted by Assistant Athletics Director for Performance Enhancement, Dwight Galt at Penn State's annual Lift for Life event. Taking reps with the ones in spring ball per Franklin, Miranda was also a pleasant surprise for Limegrover. At six-foot-three and 291 pounds, the Stow, Ohio native helped Stow-Munroe Falls to a 10-2 record and a state playoff appearance as a senior, ranked as high as the No. 6 player in Ohio by Scout.

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 7

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Friday marked our last day together in my home country Ireland. We were able to sleep in until 8 a.m., which was fantastic. It was our final day having breakfast at the hotel so I took full advantage of the amazing selection of breakfast food they had. The Irish pudding was so good! 

Then we set out to play at Tralee Golf Club. When we got there, we noticed how windy it was. Despite it being 40 mph winds all day, it was an unbelievable experience. I don't think anyone had experienced such extreme weather. The weather was something we will never forget. 

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It would rain for one hole and then next hole it would be down pouring. I remember on the seventh hole, we were discussing where to aim since the wind was coming very strong to the right. The only way to get the ball on the fairway was to aim out of bounds and let the wind bring it in. Some holes we would have to hit four to five clubs extra to reach the hole. Despite the very tricky conditions, we all fought on.

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It was also our final day of competition between the black and pink team. We played match play format. The points were tight all day, but the black team came out as the champions.

After we finished our last golf round in Ireland, we headed back to the hotel to have our farewell dinner at the hotel. My parents joined us from Dublin for dinner and it was lovely having them there beside me before I leave for college.

My mum surprised us with an amazing leprechaun cake. However, they made a funny typo and wrote "Pen State" instead of "Penn State."

We are all sad that this amazing trip has come to an end. We have made some memorable memories together and really got to know each other better. 

- Ariana Coyle Diez

Sheva Key in Opening Victory

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A rare two-sport athlete at Penn State, junior midfielder Marissa Sheva proves key in Penn State's home-opening victory against BYU with career performance. Read More

Sheva Key in Opening Victory

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Nearly three months ago junior midfielder Marissa Sheva was competing on the Nittany Lion Outdoor Track, helping to guide the 2017 Big Ten Champion indoor Penn State women's team to a third-place finish at the outdoor track and field championships. 

A rare two-sport athlete in the collegiate setting, even Penn State head coach Erica Dambach noted that without Sheva's presence in the spring season, the staff wasn't quite sure what to expect. 

When the big lights came on and the fervent crowd at Jeffrey Field showed up, so did Sheva.

"Marissa has proven to be someone who can handle those big moments, obviously she is a two-sport athlete so she has been in those big moments so many times and just thinking about putting on frame and giving it the chance and she did a great job with it," Dambach said.

Less than 10 minutes into the official start of the 2017-18 Penn State Athletics slate, junior midfielder Charlotte Williams found Sheva wide open on a breakaway, where she finished from fewer than 10 yards out to give the Nittany Lions an early 1-0 edge against eighth-ranked BYU.

"I just really wanted to get it off my foot as soon as possible because I knew I had a defender coming on me and I knew that an early lead would really give us some energy that we needed," Sheva said.

Penn State's stifling defense limited BYU to just three shots in the opening half, as the crowd of 3,570 at Jeffrey field heightened the intensity giving the Nittany Lions a needed boost in the second half.

The Cougars though, would not remain silenced as Cameron Tucker slipped the equalizer in the second half past an outstretched redshirt junior goalkeeper Rose Chandler 

"I wasn't even nervous," Chandler said. "They came back with that goal and I was like, we're going to go get another one, you could feel it in the energy, no heads went down. I grabbed the ball out of the back of the net and I said okay we have to go score and we scored once and we said, okay, we have to go score again, and I love that energy from our team because we trust each other and we're really excited."

It was junior Alina Ortega-Jurado, who came off the bench in the first half, netting the go-ahead for the Nittany Lions in the second half, sparking just enough momentum for Sheva to strike again in a short stretch of time.

Finishing in a key moment once again, Sheva placed her second goal of the night in net off of a pair of rebounds from freshman Frankie Tagliaferri and Williams to send Penn State ahead 3-1.

Tagliaferri was one of three Nittany Lion newcomers to see the field, all from a freshman class ranked as high as fourth nationally by TopDrawerSoccer.com. She finished tied for first on the team with Williams with three shots.

"It was great to see the freshmen implementing a lot of the things that we've been working on and catching on so quickly" Sheva said. "They really play a huge part in the team, we have a lot of depth, so they're definitely going to help us this year." 

That wouldn't be all from BYU, as the Cougars continued to pepper Chandler. Making her first career start for the Nittany Lions, Chandler all but locked up the victory with a spectacular save in the final five minutes of play.

"Rose is a very good goalkeeper and I think everybody had to get the jitters out a little bit and then once you did, a huge save from her toward the end there and that's a game-changing save there," Dambach said.   

Penn State has a quick turnaround as it turns the focus toward Hofstra. The Nittany Lions close out opening weekend Sunday, Aug. 20 with an afternoon matchup set for 1 p.m. at Jeffrey Field.

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 6

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By Kamerine Taylor, Penn State women's golf

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Day six in Ireland includes a trip to Ballybunion Golf Club before a few afternoon excursions. Read More

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 6

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Thursday marked our second to last full day in Ireland. Due to 8 a.m. tee times at Ballybunion Golf Club, our day got off to an early start. After grabbing breakfast to go and gathering our team, we stepped out of the hotel and into the rain. 

TeeBoxView.JPG The rain continued throughout our bus ride to County Kerry and arrival at Ballybunion. Despite the wet conditions, our team could not wait to experience one of Ireland's finest golf clubs. Ballybunion is home to two courses: the Old Course and the Cashen Course. Our team would be playing the Old Course, which was established in 1893. The format for the day was a two-person scramble match play. 

As we were walking to the first tee, several of us were stopped by another group of golfers. They noticed our Penn State gear, and since one of the guys was a Penn State alum, we had to take pictures! 

When standing on the first tee, it's easy to see why Ballybunion is so unique and historic. With the course situated on the cliffs of the Atlantic Ocean, almost every direction gives you a scenic view. Along with ocean views, thick heather, pot bunkers, and firm greens, the first hole even includes a graveyard. 

Although the conditions early in the morning were wet and chilly, we couldn't complain about the weather during our round. With a bit of Irish luck, we had no rain and wind speeds between 20 and 25 mph. 

Once our matches concluded, we set off to have lunch in the club's restaurant. The restaurant faces west and overlooks the 18th hole of the Old Course and the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Cathedral_T.jpg Our day would not be complete without a few afternoon excursions. Our first stop was to a beach not far from the golf course. In fact, the beach was north of the Cashen Course and included views of the ruins of Ballybunion Castle, which makes up the logo for the golf club. Our second stop was at an old Catholic Cathedral. The oldest part of the structure was built in the 12th century.

We spent our evening winding down at a traditional Irish pub in downtown Killarney. Experiencing traditional links golf at Ballybunion Golf Club and sightseeing on our return trip to Killarney made day four in Ireland one for the books!

- Kamerine Taylor, junior

Training Camp Breakdown: Cornerbacks

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, featuring the cornerbacks. Read More

Training Camp Breakdown: Cornerbacks

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Week three of training camp is approaching an end, with a mere two weeks until Penn State's season-opener nearly on the horizon.

Ahead of the 2017 season, continue checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster.

Who's Back:
- Desi Davis (Sr./Jr.)
- Grant Haley (Sr./Sr.)
- Troy Shorts (Jr./So.)
- John Reid (Jr./Jr.)
- Zech McPhearson (So./Fr.)
- Amani Oruwariye (Sr./Jr.)
- TJ Johnson (So./Fr.)                         
- Christian Campbell (Sr./Sr.)
- Jabari Butler (Jr./Jr.) 

Additions:
- Lamont Wade (Fr./Fr., 5-9/196, Clairton, Pa./Clairton), Donovan Johnson (Fr./Fr., 5-9/175, Detroit, Michigan/Cass Tech), DJ Brown (Fr./Fr., 5-10175, College Park, Ga./Creekside), Tariq Castro-Fields (Fr./Fr., 6-0/185, Upper Marlboro, Md., Riverdale Baptist School)

 Subtractions:
- Kyle Alston, Jordan Smith 

What To Watch For:
The Nittany Lions have clear leaders at the corner position in returning veterans Grant Haley and Christian Campbell. With 22 career starts, Haley returns for his final season in the Blue and White, poised to build on a 2016 season where he was largely responsible for a pair of the most defining plays of the year. 

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"We have a great group of guys coming back on offense, defense and special teams as well," Haley said. "You can just tell, the leadership and the confidence of this unit and this group, from the first camp that I was a part of to this camp, you can tell how excited everyone is about the competition that we have a practice." 

Alongside Haley, Campbell is coming off of what Franklin called his best offseason ever during spring ball, also adding nearly 15 pounds to his frame headed into his final season. Campbell played in 12 games last year, starting in two outings. He highlighted the season with his second career interception in the win at Purdue before recovering his first career fumble off of a muffed punt at Indiana.

On media day, Franklin noted that he and the staff had seen exciting offseason improvement from Zech McPhearson, as well added maturity, size and length from veteran Amani Oruwariye.

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Oruwariye kicked off his 2016 campaign with his first career interception against Kent State, returning it 30 yards for the first interception returned for a touchdown since 2014, a milestone met by Haley against Temple.

Penn State also has added excitement among its newcomers, with Lamont Wade and Tariq Castro-Fields both garnering some significant training camp buzz.

"Tariq Castro-Fields is probably a guy that there's as much buzz about as any of the newcomers right now," defensive coordinator Brent Pry said at media day. "He's a guy that, of the freshmen, I think right away is kind of making an argument that he's going to factor in."

Castro-Fields and McPhearson were also teammates at Riverdale Baptist, with McPhearson coming off of a redshirt season.

An early enrollee, Wade made significant strides in the weight room, as noted by Penn State Assistant Athletics Director for Performance Enhancement, Dwight Galt in the spring season.

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 5

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By Megan McLean, Penn State women's golf

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State spent day five in Ireland at Dooks golf links before checking out the Kerry Bog Village. Read More

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 5

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Today, we were fortunate enough to play Dooks golf links. The course was absolutely beautiful and right by the water. There was a spectacular view at every hole. We were able to see the water and the giant green mountains in the back, which were partially covered by thick fog. Throughout the golf course there was also lavender that lined the rough/fescue, which was a very pretty site to see and smelled amazing!

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We played in the traditional Irish weather, 65 degrees with light rain and 15 mph winds. Our team was again divided into two teams, pink and black. Today we played a match play format. Coach St. Pierre paired us all up with a member of the opposite color team to compete. I was a member of the black team and I got to play with Ariana Coyle-Diez and I am happy to say, that today the black team won!

 

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After our rounds, we stopped at a local museum called the Kerry Bog Village. At the museum there were Kerry Bog Ponies and Irish Wolfhounds that we could all pet. The Irish Wolfhounds came right up to Coach St. Pierre and seemed extremely excited to see her!

 

Also, there were many 18th and 19th century homes still intact. We learned a lot about Irish daily activities, which consisted of growing vegetables, mainly potatoes, and tending to the farm animals. For dinner, we went to the town of Killarney and ate at Robertino's, which was a very good Italian place!

 

The Penn State women's golf team had a very good day! 

 

- Megan McLean, sophomore

Training Camp Report: Week 3

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Videos, photos and takeaways from week three media availabilities at the Lasch Building during training camp. Read More

Training Camp Report: Week 3

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football has reached the midpoint of the third week of training camp, hosting its second Wednesday media availability at the Lasch Building.

Catch up with defensive line coach Sean Spencer, running back Saquon Barkley and linebacker Koa Farmer for a closer look at what's new in training camp.

Camp Competition At All-Time High
Consensus across Farmer, Barkley and Spencer, the level of competition is the highest it has ever been under the direction of head coach James Franklin.

"This is the most competition that we've had per position throughout my four years, going on my fourth year now, and I think that in itself makes it a lot easier to coach because a guy knows that if he doesn't have positive reps that there's a guy right behind him," Spencer said.

For Farmer, part of where he has seen the competition in full force is during team periods, which are often wire-to-wire on the last play.

"I think that's what we need as a team, to be more competitive and that's what it is," Farmer said.

Barkley on Sanders
Barkley and true sophomore Miles Sanders are now roommates and for Barkley, he thinks Sanders has made a big jump in his development from year one to year two. 

"You can obviously kind of see that with freshmen to their sophomore year," Barkley said. "Not only him but just the running back group in general, coach Huff does a really of making us focus on the little things, understanding the defense and not just being a good back or making that guy miss or making the right cut, but understanding the whole offense as a whole or the whole defense as a whole. You can see the difference from last year, his blitz odds are so much better. Last year he didn't know what was going on and now he's calling them out, he's communicating, over communicating, stepping up and making the right plays."

D-Line Standouts
Along the defensive line Spencer noted he's especially excited about the progress he has seen from Parker Cothren and Curtis Cothran, also naming Shaka Toney and Shane Simmons in addition to Shareef Miller. As a newcomer, Yetur Gross-Matos is perhaps one of the most talented Nittany Lions Spencer has seen come through, but he's still got work to do of course. 

"He's just physically gifted, you look at him walk off the field and you think he's a redshirt junior," Spencer said. "He's six-five, 250 pounds and he looks like a Greek God when he walks off the field. But he's still young."

Farmer Settled In
This time last year, Farmer was in a bit of different situation in training camp. Finding success at linebacker for the Nittany Lions in 2016 only fueled his motivation, as he noted this year he's taking much more of a professional approach to his preparation, not to mention balancing adding strength without sacrificing speed. 

"I'm really watching film, I'm really understanding why we run these coverages," Farmer said. "I'm more comfortable in the box, that was a big thing."

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 4

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By Maddy Herr, Penn State women's golf

IRELAND - Checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, featuring the running backs. Read More

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 4

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Today started off with an early morning wakeup call for our first breakfast in Ireland. We then headed to Waterville for our second round of golf. We spent half of the ride sleeping or taking pictures of each other sleeping. The other half we spent talking about the places we were all seeing for the first time. 

The route we took was so scenic that we stopped a few times to take it all in. After a three hour ride we arrived for one of the most enjoyable rounds of my life.

Our team was divided into two teams, one pink and one black. We played today in a four-ball format. So far the black team is still in the lead but not by much!

The course was beautiful and played tough. I had the pleasure of having Coach St. Pierre as my four-ball partner and we had so much fun. We pulled off some great shots and shared a lot of laughs.

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After our round we headed to our next hotel, however, there was a bit of traffic on the way over. The reason for the traffic was a heard of wild horses, that were being led by a donkey running down the road.

Once we got to the hotel we unpacked and headed off to dinner. Our second day in Ireland has been filled with funny photos and good laughs. Each day gets better and our team is making great memories together.

- Maddy Herr, sophomore

Training Camp Breakdown: Running Backs

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, featuring the running backs. Read More

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 3

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By Jackie Rogowicz, Penn State women's golf

IRELAND - Penn State has landed in Ireland with the Nittany Lions kicking off the trip at the Old Head Golf Links. Read More

Training Camp Breakdown: Running Backs

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Week three of training camp is well underway, with the Nittany Lions gearing up for the home opener at Beaver Stadium, which is now less than 20 days away.

Ahead of the 2017 season, continue checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster. 

Who's Back:
- Mark Allen (Sr./Jr.)
- Nick Eury (So./Fr.)
- Saquon Barkley (Jr./Jr.)
- Miles Sanders (So./So.)
- Andre Robinson (Jr./So.)
- Johnathan Thomas (Sr./Jr.)
Josh McPhearson (RS-Sr./Sr.) 

Additions:
- Journey Brown (Fr./Fr., 5-11/194, Meadville, Pa./Meadville).

Subtractions:
- Irvine Paye 

What To Watch For:
On media day it was special teams coordinator and running backs coach Charles Huff who detailed that part of developing means coming up with a plan. For consistency, it's a plan that hits on all the essentials, what's the group's identity, where does it want to go and what does it want to accomplish.

Holding the unit to the standards in the plan is of course among Huff's responsibilities, but more so, it's strengthened by the challenge from its leader, Saquon Barkley, who among so many tremendous talents, is often at his best when making those around him better.

From eye-popping athleticism to flat out freaky strength, there's no denying that Barkley is a truly special talent. Smashing records in his freshman and sophomore season on campus, Barkley is just the eighth Nittany Lion in program history with multiple 1,000-yard seasons, ranked 12th on the career rushing yards list (2,572).

Both the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and the Big Ten Running Back of the Year, Barkley has rewritten the record books and stunned audiences along the way, showcasing pure speed and tenacity.

Around the Lasch Building though, when Barkley's name comes up it's often in reference to what type of character he has off the field. During Penn State's poster distribution this, it was Barkley who made it no more than 10 feet off the bus to greet every single fan from Burrows to Hiester, happily signing posters along the way.

"That character I would say comes from my family," Barkley said. "My mother and father did a tremendous job raising me and my brother and sisters."

Like any great player though, Barkley is continually working on his game, spending the offseason dedicated to gaining a better understanding of the game, especially as it relates to defense.

"The one thing people may or may not realize, is that he's still young," Huff said. "So the game of football to him, he's still learning the game of football - what defenses do, what defensive looks, what are defensive tendencies, can I get some pre-snap tips and keys on what may happen when he gets the ball, if he's going to get the ball and how to see things happen before they happen."

As Huff also noted though within in the room, there are no backups. Alongside Barkley, Penn State returns several Nittany Lions with promising experience.

"When you're in the game, you're the starting running back," Huff said. "Whoever runs out there first is luck of the draw and that's the kind of mentality we've got to have because if you take a backup mentality, you're not going to prepare to be the starter, and then when you're the starter, you won't be ready for your opportunity."

Robinson played in 12 games in his redshirt freshman season, totaling six touchdowns, including five rushing and one receiving. He highlighted the year with a career-showing in the win against Michigan State, rushing for 32 yards and a touchdown, also catching a career-high 40-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

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"Andre Robinson is a great example of that who goes out every day and prepares for his opportunity," Huff said on media day. "Is it 10 carries, 20 carries, or one carry? Who knows? Who knows when it may be all 20? Or who knows when it may not be any? But he's done a really good job of preparing every single day and not letting the circumstances dictate his behavior."

As a true freshman, Sanders also for the Nittany Lions, playing in 13 games. As one of five true freshmen to see the field in 2016, he set the single-season record with 33 kick returns in 2016. Outside of kickoffs, Sanders caught his first career touchdown pass in the third quarter on the road at Purdue, on a 21-yard catch-and-run.

New to the group, Penn State added Journey Brown on signing day, before welcoming the freshman from Meadville. Outside of leading Meadville to the PIAA 5A State Quarterfinals in 2016, Brown brings impressive speed to the Nittany Lion roster, having captured his second consecutive 100-meter outdoor PIAA Class AA State Championship with a record-setting 10.43 seconds to break a record originally set by Olympian Leroy Burrell in 1985.

"Obviously, with Journey being a younger guy and he's still learning," Huff said. "He's still learning where to go, how to go, and how to practice. It's all new to him. But like Saquon tells all of us, we're not going to baby you along. You're going to learn the way we did, the hard way. We learn faster like that, with a little bit of pressure on us. And Saquon does a good job of it. He does a good job with the team as well, with holding the team and his teammates to a standard."

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 3

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WE LANDED!
 

We were already off to a good start because our Irish teammate Ariana (Coyle Diez) and her family were there to welcome the team. Once we gathered everyone and waited for our bags - thankfully everyone's arrived, we were finally ready to get our day started! 

 

We left the airport to make our way to the Old Head Golf Links.Three hours later, we arrived and upon seeing some of the most amazing views, we knew we were in for a treat.

 

We teed off in groups of four and had matches going on in each group. During our round, we had weather from just about every season. We started off in a cold rain with wind, then fog rolled in, followed by bright sunshine.


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Each hole had a breathtaking view, fourteen of the eighteen holes were located right on the ocean. The round came and went and before we knew it, we were leaving a magnificent place. The day was filled with many laughs and a lot of fun, just adding to the endless stories and memories we have already created as a team.

 

Jackie Rogowicz, junior

Nittany Lions Set for 2017

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - With a pair of early preseason exhibitions complete, Penn State is poised to continue Chasing Greatness, with a challenging schedule awaiting and a roster stacked with both experience and depth heading into 2017. Read More

Nittany Lions Set for 2017

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As is seemingly tradition, Penn State women's soccer will officially open the 2017-18 Intercollegiate Athletics slate Friday, August 18th with a 7 p.m. matchup under the lights against BYU.

With a pair of early preseason exhibitions complete, Penn State is poised to continue Chasing Greatness, with a challenging schedule awaiting and a roster stacked with both experience and depth heading into 2017.

Chasing Greatness
For head coach Erica Dambach, Chasing Greatness for 2017 means honing in on the details, showing up each day motivated to get better with an eye on all the little things. For senior caption Elizabeth Ball, details have been a daily focus, with the season opener now just days from arrival. 

"If you're not getting the little things done then how are you supposed to make it big picture," Ball said. "Every day we come out here and make sure our feet are behind the line before we start our warm up, we make sure everybody is talking, getting in tackles. Every little detail is so important to us and I think that's what really boosts us in the season."

Veteran Advantage
With nearly everyone returning in 2017, the Nittany Lions also have an added boost with the return of five members of the team who have returned to the squad after representing the United States at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. 

"The most exciting thing, especially in our sport, are the different combinations that we can see throughout the course of the game," Dambach said. "Depending on the opponent, depending on the conditions, there are so many possibilities with this group and it's exciting to see that kind of come to life."

For Ball, a mix of both new faces and returners only elevates the training, meaning that everyone will be challenged to work to secure their spot.

Newcomers Too
As Dambach also noted, entering such a veteran squad could present a bit of an intimidating atmosphere for a freshman, but the five newcomers are adjusting just fine. Tabbed by TopDrawerSoccer.com as the fourth-best recruiting class in the nation, Penn State's freshmen class might be small in numbers, but certainly not short on talent.

"We've been throwing a lot at them and we've been asking the upperclassmen to help coach them as well and trying to bring them along as quickly as we can and they've been really receptive and trying to take in as much as they can and apply it," Dambach said.

Add in the experience and leadership of deeply experienced upperclassmen and it's a perfect combination for a smooth transition. 

"We've been able to advance in some of the concepts pretty quickly and we've been able to climb on to some of the things that we're usually doing in week two and three," Dambach said. "We've been able to work through those quickly." 

Home Sweet Jeffrey
Penn State's home-opener is often a record-setting event for the Nittany Lions with last year's attendance numbers hardly reflecting the energy generated from a record 5,791 fans who packed the stands at Jeffrey Field. With the help of an always enthusiastic student section affectionately known as the Park Avenue Army, Friday's opener offers free posters as well as a pregame student tailgate with free food and a DJ. Check out the full promotional schedule here.

By Lauren Waller, Penn State women's golf

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- After a rough go of it yesterday, today was the day, the day we would FINALLY get to Ireland. And it would only take a team split up, five different flights, and a new destination to get there. Read More

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By Lauren Waller, Penn State women's golf
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-
After a rough go of it yesterday, today was the day, the day we would FINALLY get to Ireland. And it would only take a team split up, five different flights, and a new destination to get there.

Spending hours trying to figure out our new plans for our trip, a solution was reached, one that was not the easiest but the only way possible. Our new, final destination was now Dublin, causing a little bit longer of a drive upon arrival but nothing we can't handle. 
 

However, what was hard to handle was the fact that our team would be split up. Six going one way and five going another. All on completely different flights and different routes to get to the same final destination. The six took an 11 AM flight to Philadelphia to then have a long, nine hour layover for the flight to Dublin at 9 PM. The other five were not so lucky, having to take three different flights and not much relaxing time. They took a 1 PM flight to Philly just to catch a 3:45 PM flight to Chicago and then, finally, a 6:30 PM flight to Dublin. 

 

To say that we had a heck of a time getting to Ireland is an understatement. Between the cancelled flight and crazy day of travel, our patience was surely tested. But through all of that, we finally made it to Ireland and our trip was underway!

Retherford Set for UWW World Championships

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State's Zain Retherford took just a week off following the NCAA national championship success before earning a spot on the U.S. Senior World Team. Catch up with the All-American national championship for a look at what's ahead at the UWW World Championships in Paris. Read More

Retherford Set for UWW World Championships

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - It's been months since two-time Nittany Lion national champion Zain Retherford helped Penn State to a stunning NCAA team title performance in St. Louis.

Pausing for just a week off, Retherford was back at it, and like any great champion, training as usual in the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex with the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club. 

In the weeks following an exquisite collegiate season, the honors and accolades continued to pile up in Retherford's name. Already a three-time All-American, the NCAA Championships' Most Outstanding Wrestler and the 2017 Most Dominant Wrestler, he earned another InterMat Wrestler of the Year honor before capping off an unblemished 2017 season with the prestigious Hodge Trophy.

Humbled by each award, Retherford remained focused as usual, prepping for the 2017 U.S. World Team Trials in Lincoln, Nebraska, where just eight spots on the U.S. Senior World Team ahead of the UWW Wrestling Championships in late August were primed for earning.

Retherford made quick work of his three Challenge Tournament opponents, topping Jaydin Eierman (14-2; 2:32), Nick Dardanes (11-0; 3:32) and B.J. Futrell (10-0; 3:50) to advance to the Championship best-of-three series, which presented a bit an unexpected matchup.

A disqualification meant Retherford was set to meet 2016 Olympian and former Nittany Lion four-time All-American national champion, and assistant coach Frank Molinaro.

"It kind of threw me for a loop a little bit," Retherford said. "I was kind of preparing for the other way around, but I kind of realized whoever I am wrestling is out of my control. I just kind of focus on whatever comes next and that was next."

The familiarity wasn't any reason for added nerves or emotion.

"I try to keep the emotions out of it," Retherford said. "Wrestling a teammate or coach, I've done that before so I think that prepared me for this. If you get too emotionally attached to the match, even if it's not a teammate, you're not going to wrestle at your best."

Despite a late surge to move ahead, Retherford ultimately dropped a 7-6 decision to Molinaro in the opening bout of the series. 

"I took a second and lost focus and he scored on me with short time left," Retherford said.
"After that match, I didn't really feel tired at all, even coming through the challenge tournament. I came off the mat and I remember I was a little frustrated because I was like man, it would be so much nicer not to have to wrestle three matches."

Returning to his control-the-controllable mindset, Retherford made adjustments and beat Molinaro 6-0 in the second match, setting up a deciding finish to the best-of-three series.

Meanwhile, in between matches Retherford's younger sister Mylee asked the rest of the Retherford family what would happen if Zain did not win his final match. The answer of course, was no trip to Paris, France for the 2017 UWW Senior World Championships of course, prompting fingers-crossed headed into the final match.

Retherford channeled the momentum into the third match, as Molinaro matched the intensity for an early lead. 

"He came out ready to wrestle in that third one for sure," Retherford said. "At the end of the second match things started to get physical and things just kind of picked right up where they left off in the third match and we both kind of met each other like pit bulls or something, I don't know."

With blood streaming down his face, Retherford gritted out a 7-4 win to lock up his first spot on the U.S. Senior World Team, later moving him to the top of the U.S. Senior-level division rankings at 65 kg (143 pounds).

While Retherford is rarely caught in an over-the-top celebration, in fact you'll hardly ever see one, this particular win was a big one. 

"I got kind of emotional afterward because I haven't made a world team since high school, going into my senior year," Retherford said. "That was really big for me, I like wrestling overseas and getting opportunities now to do that is big." 

A lot has changed for Retherford since earning his official spot on the U.S. Senior World Team. 

"When I first made my first world team I thought wrestling was more like a fight so I was really physical," Retherford said. "The more I've grown throughout the years I've realized that you need to have that fight in the do or die situations in wrestling, that needs to be a given, but you can't wrestle the whole match like that or your technique kind of goes out the window."

Retherford, who was also nominated for an ESPN ESPY (Best Male College Athlete), was also selected as Penn State's 2017 Male Student-Athlete of The Year.

Similar to the end of every competition though, it's back to work.

Among stops at a few U.S. training camps, Retherford ended up missing out on the ESPYs to join the U.S. Senior World Team at the Grand Prix of Spain. In his U.S. Senior World Team debut, Retherford helped the United States to a stellar showing, capturing gold at 65 kg (143 pounds) without surrendering a single point with three consecutive pins and a tech fall.

Now, Retherford will turn the focus to the 2017 UWW Senior World Championships, which kicks off August 21st in Paris. Retherford is scheduled to compete August 26th, with fans from the United States able to stay up to date with streaming and results courtesy of Trackwrestling.com. 

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 1

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By Cara Basso, Penn State women's golf

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lions are headed to Ireland ... sort of. Nine red letters to form the word "CANCELLED" proved to be an early roadblock for Penn State as it looked to set out on its foreign trip. Check in for updates.  Read More

Nittany Lions Take on Ireland: Day 1

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Penn State women's golf is headed to Ireland on a foreign trip for a week of training at a variety of historic courses, with some tabbed among the best in the world. As the Nittany Lions experience Ireland, continue checking back for updates from trip.

 

Nine red letters, all combined into the one word that you never want to see displayed on an airport monitor, "CANCELLED." Those letters were the current roadblock between nine members of the Penn State women's golf team and a week-long trip to Ireland.

 

Four hours prior to the ultimate travel wrench being thrown at our golfing trip, we were in the Tombros Varsity clubhouse saying goodbye to our parents, reuniting with teammates and tagging our luggage. Along with our two coaches, we were all dressed in our brand-new navy blue track suits and Penn State sneakers as we loaded our stuff into two vans and took off to the airport. 

 

At the University Park Airport, we went through ticketing, checked our luggage and headed off to security, which should have been our warning. Our navy blue tracksuits had zippers on the pants pockets, triggering University Park's new body scanner for all eleven members in our travel group. After the pat down, we turned the corner to the gates where we saw that our flight was delayed by fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes turned into thirty, thirty to an hour, an hour to two hours and then, "CANCELLED." Conversations about how fast we could run through the Philadelphia airport to catch our connecting flight soon turned into conversations surrounding if we would even make it to our destination. 

 

An hour later we were back in the men's and women's golf team vans. One van was headed to the State College SpringHill Suites and the other was headed to my apartment. Our trip was going to be delayed by a full 24 hours, but Coach St. Pierre had some good news - we would still make our tee time at Old Head in Kinsale, Ireland.

 

- Cara Basso, sophomore

Training Camp Breakdown: Linebackers

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Continue checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, featuring the linebackers.  Read More

Training Camp Breakdown: Linebackers

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Training camp continues to roll into the weekend for the Nittany Lions with practice No. 10 kicking off later this afternoon.

Ahead of the 2017 season, continue checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster. 

Who's Back:
- Brandon Smith (RS Sr./Sr.)
- Joe DuMond (So./So.)
- Manny Bowen (Jr./Jr.)
- Jason Vranic (Sr./Sr.)
- Jason Cabinda (Sr./Sr.)
- Koa Farmer (Sr./Jr.)
- Jarvis Miller (Jr./So.)
- Frank Di Leo (Jr./So.)
- Jan Johnson (Jr./So.)
- Cam Brown (So./So.)
- Jake Cooper (Jr./Jr.) 

Additions:
- Ellis Brooks, (Fr./Fr., 6-1/220, Mechanicsville, Va./Benedictine College Prep), Brelin Faison-Walden (Fr./Fr., 6-1/212, Greensboro, N.C./Grimsley), Brailyn Franklin (Fr./Fr., 6-2/204, Arlington, Texas/Battlefield-Va.).

Subtractions:
- Brandon Bell, Von Walker, Nyeem Wartman-White. 

What To Watch For:
An uncanny amount of injuries to the unit last year proved to be perhaps a blessing, with the results of a bit of a forced next-man-up mentally yielding some invaluable experience. Of the 11 returning linebackers, all but two played in at least one game during the 2016 season. 

Among the most experienced in the group, it's the final season for Cabinda, who leads both the linebackers and the team this year, selected as one of three team captains. In his last year, Cabinda hopes to leave behind a legacy of leadership and for defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Pry, Cabinda's poised to leave behind a lasting mark on the program.


Coming off a year that included third team All-Big Ten honors, Cabinda logged eight or more tackles in eight of the nine games he played, including a team-high 11 stops in the Rose Bowl Game, with seven solo. This offseason though, Cabinda keyed in on shaping his body, focusing on speed and lateral movement, finishing winter conditioning leading the linebackers with a 34" vertical jump, 4.15 in the pro agility a 520 squat and 370 in the power clean.
 

Perhaps no better example of the next-man-up mentality last year came from Brandon Smith, who stepped into the middle linebacker spot for two starts, playing in all 14 games. Smith highlighted the year with a career-high 14 tackles in the win against Maryland, including his first career interception in the first quarter. 

With the departure of Brandon Bell to the NFL, Penn State has experience in both Jake Cooper and Cam Brown, who made two starts a piece at the Sam linebacker spot in 2016. Cooper missed nearly the final nine games of the season after an injury, but played in six total games. Brown played in 12 games as a true freshman last year, most notably blocking his first career kick in the win against Ohio State, halting a Buckeye punt in the fourth quarter.

Brown added nearly 10 pounds to his frame in the offseason and tied for first on the team with seven tackles in the annual Blue-White game, with Pry praising his length and explosive ability at media day. 

"He's got a great skill set for a long guy, really good work ethic, tough kid," Pry said. "He's growing into the position. I don't know if he's a natural linebacker when he first got here, but he's growing into the position. I look for big things from Cam this fall. He's in heavy competition in the two-deep at linebacker."

Bowen also returns as a Nittany Lion with tremendous experience, playing in 13 games last year, including 12 starts at Will linebacker for the Nittany Lions. Bringing versatility, Bowen finished fifth on the team with 68 tackles, logging six or more tackles in six games. 

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Both Jarvis Miller and Koa Farmer made the transition to linebacker for the Nittany Lions, playing in all 14 games, with Farmer earning a pair of starts. This spring, Pry mentioned that he was pleased with the progress that Farmer was making at Sam linebacker - and his excitement hasn't slowed.

"To me, he's what a lot of folks are looking for," Pry said at media day. "He's a hybrid type player that has a lot of DB qualities - I think his roots are there for sure, but he's growing as a linebacker. He's getting tougher. He's shedding blocks better. His tackling is getting better. He understands the play in the box, blocking schemes, things like that. He's really come a long way. I'm very excited about the season for Koa."

Training Camp Breakdown: Wide Receivers

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Continue checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, featuring the wide receivers.  Read More

Training Camp Breakdown: Wide Receivers

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - More than five practices into its training camp schedule, Penn State Football takes to the field Thursday another day closer to completing its second week back in action.

Ahead of the 2017 season, continue checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster. 

Who's Back:
- Saeed Blacknall (Sr./Sr.)                  - Brandon Polk (Jr./So.
- Isaac Lutz (So./Fr.)                          - Colton Maxwell (So./Fr.)
- Juwan Johnson (Jr./So.)                  - DaeSean Hamilton (GS/Sr.)
- Josh McPhearson (RS-Sr./Sr.)        - Dae'Lun Darien (So./Fr.)
- Tyler Shoop (Jr./So.)                        - Cody Hodgens (GS/Sr.)
- DeAndre Thompkins (Sr./Jr.)           - Irvin Charles (Jr./So.)          
- Christopher Welde (Jr./Jr.) 

Additions
- Mac Hippenhammer, (Fr./Fr., 5-11/175, Fort Wayne, Ind./R. Nelson Snider), Alex Hoenstine, (Fr./Fr., 6-1/175, East Freedom, Pa./Central), KJ Hamler, (Fr./Fr., 5-9/170, Pontiac, Mich./IMG Academy, Fla.), Cam Sullivan-Brown, (Fr./Fr., 6-0/182, Bowie, Md./Saint Vincent Pallotti), Justin Weller, (Fr./Fr., 6-0/187, Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson).

Subtractions:
- Gordon Bentley, Gregg Garrity, Chris Godwin.   

What To Watch For:
Penn State enters the 2017 looking to replace 2,000-yard receiver Chris Godwin, who departed for NFL as a third-round draft pick headed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While Godwin's unique skill-set will be missed, the Nittany Lions have plenty of promising options returning. As head coach James Franklin noted in Chicago at Big Ten Media Days, the Nittany Lions won't look to rely on a single individual to replace Godwin's gritty work ethic and game-changing grabs. 

Even beyond Penn State's media day last week, there's certainly buzz surrounding returning veteran DaeSean Hamilton, who currently sits tied for fourth on Penn State's all-time receptions list with 161 catches for 1,985 yards. Adding nearly 15 pounds to his frame in the offseason, both teammates and coaches have praised his dedication to preparation.

"I think Hamilton right now is having as good of a camp, with all of those things, that I've seen before," Franklin said. "There are bigger guys, there are stronger guys, there are faster guys, but he is as polished and as productive as a wideout as I've been around in a camp setting. I think he's going to have a huge year for us."

Hamilton highlighted the 2016 season with his fifth career 100-yard game in Penn State's thrilling Big Ten Championship Game win against Wisconsin, totaling 118 yards on eight catches, which ranks second in Big Ten Championship game history.


Outside of Hamilton, Penn State has more experienced returners in Saeed Blacknall and DeAndre Thompkins. While Hamilton was responsible for nine passing plays of 20-yards or more last year, Thompkins and Blacknall were right behind with seven and six, respectively. Blacknall was also spectacular in the Big Ten Championship Game, hauling in a 40-yard touchdown in addition to a career-long 70-yard grab and score in the second half. Thompkins started in seven games last year, registering 440 yards on 27 catches.

Coming off a stellar spring season, Penn State's Juwan Johnson was the talk of spring ball, having played in all 14 games in 2016, mostly on special teams. Following the Blue-White Game, Tommy Stevens only echoed the spring ball message that Johnson was among the top performers.

"It's just another example of a guy that came to work every day prepared, like he was a starter and he's getting his opportunity to shine," Stevens said following Blue-White. "He's showing that he can play at the highest level and he's doing a great job - and lucky for me, he's one of my best friends and he's an even better person than he is a football player so I'm glad to have that guy on my team."

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Penn State also has experience in Irvin Charles, played in all 14 games last year on both offense and special teams. Charles, who sent the Beaver Stadium crowd into a frenzy with a game-changing 80-yard touchdown grab from Trace McSorley in his first career reception against Minnesota, owns both Penn State's longest passing play of the season and the longest passing touchdown of the year in 2016. 

The Nittany Lions could also see contributions from Brandon Polk, who played in the first three games of the year before an injury cut his season short. As one of four true freshmen to start in 2015, Polk played in 13 games, making three starts. Both Thompkins and Polk bring serious speed to the room, with Thompkins leading the wideouts with a 4.34 time in the 40-yard dash, which is tied for second on the team. 

Among the newcomers, Penn State added Hamler and Hippenhammer in its 2017 signing class. Hamler was a two-year letterwinner at Orchard Lake St. Mary's in Michigan, also alma mater of Nittany Lion great Allen Robinson, before spending 2016 at IMG Academy in Florida. Hippenhammer helped Snider High School to a league championship and an ISHAA regional title, finishing his high school senior season with 620 receiving yards, 350 rushing yards, 1,720 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns.

Training Camp Report: Week 2

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Checking in for an update from the Wednesday weekly media session during training camp.  Read More

Training Camp Report: Week 2

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Training camp is rolling along with week two nearly in the books for the Nittany Lions. Wednesday evening, Penn State hosted the Big Ten Network at practice while also offering its first midweek media availability of the season, coming just days after media day in Beaver Stadium. 

Catch up with Penn State head coach James Franklin, passing game coordinator and tight ends coach Ricky Rahne as well as linebacker Jason Cabinda and tight end Mike Gesicki for a closer look at what's new in training camp. 

More Praise for Hamilton
Cabinda said he's poised to have a career year and Franklin said he's as polished and productive of a wideout as he has seen. That's DaeSean Hamilton who they are talking about, a veteran who is continuing to get high praise from his teammates and coaches throughout the offseason and extending well into training camp.

"He has had a spectacular camp," Cabinda said. "He's playing at a really high level right now. I'm really proud of him, he has worked his butt off, he's the hardest working receiver in that room so there's really no surprises." 

Intensity Rising
It's no secret that the Nittany Lions are in a tremendous place when it comes to team chemistry. When look back at training camps in years past, this year is different for All-Big Ten second team selection Mike Gesicki, especially as it relates to intensity and buy-in.

"When I was a freshman, it was there and it was coming from a lot of guys but it wasn't coming from everybody," Gesicki said. "The difference now is that it's coming from everybody, all 105 guys out here are completely bought in and out here to get better."

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers ...
Franklin noted on media day that defensively there's a focus on creating turnovers in training camp this year, only echoing the message during the media session. 

"My thing is, if you run to the ball good things are going to happen," Franklin said. "Whether it's recovering a fumble, whether it's gang tackling, whether it's a tip-pass interception, if we can just run to the ball all 11 guys on the field take pride in how we do that." 

For Franklin, part of it involve showing the team clips on film, or "effort plays," from a variety of different levels of the game, highlighting extraordinary effort, things that standout immediate to the staff as an above-and-beyond approach. 

No. 3 Update
Franklin has mentioned that the Nittany Lions are looking to identify a third option at quarterback behind Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens on more than one occasion this offseason. For Franklin, that type of quarterback competition is welcomed and encouraged, something he noted hasn't been the case recently, and specifically as it relates to the progress of redshirt freshman Jake Zembiec and true freshman Sean Clifford. 

"Zembiec has been here longer, he's more seasoned, he's more experienced and he's got a good feel but Clifford is battling," Franklin said. "Clifford has really attacked this thing all summer, he learns well, the game comes pretty easy to him."

Depth at Tight End
Tight ends coach Ricky Rahne offered an update on the depth at tight end alongside Gesicki. Check it out below.

VIDEO: One-on-One with Sarah Brown

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Catch up with new women's gymnastics head coach Sarah Brown for a closer look at what's ahead for the Nittany Lions.  Read More

VIDEO: One-on-One with Sarah Brown

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - In early May, Penn State Athletics announced its hiring of women's gymnastics coach Sarah Brown, named the program's eighth head coach in history. 

Quickly and efficiently moved to Happy Valley from a previous stop at Eastern Michigan, where she guided the 2017 team to the MAC regular season title in her first season as head coach, Brown wasted no time getting to know her supporters. From phone calls to lunches, Brown balanced getting to know supporters of the program along with her team, laying the groundwork for a fresh start. With a new vision for the program, Brown assembled her staff and got right to work.

Catch up with Brown for a closer look at what's ahead for Penn State women's gymnastics, the staff and her vision - including a bit about a soon-to-be new member of the family.

Training Camp Breakdown: Defensive Line

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, featuring the defensive line.  Read More

Training Camp Breakdown: Defensive Line

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Week two of training camp is nearly halfway complete as the Nittany Lions take to the field Tuesday afternoon for practice.

Ahead of the 2017 season, continue checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster.

Who's Back:
- Daniel Joseph, DE (So./Fr.)             - Ellison Jordan, DT (So./Fr.)
- Shareef Miller, DE (Jr./So.)              - Ryan Monk, DT (Jr./So.)
- Ryan Buchholz, DE (Jr./So.)            - Immanuel Iyke, DT (Jr./So.)
- Shane Simmons, DE (So./Fr.)          - Parker Cothren, DT (RS Sr./Sr.)
- Shaka Toney, DE (So./Fr.)              - Tyrell Chavis, DT (Sr./Sr.)
- Colin Castagna, DE (Jr./Jr.)             - Antonio Shelton, DT (So./Fr.)
- Torrence Brown, DE (Sr./Jr.)           - Robert Windsor, DT (Jr./So.)
- Kevin Givens, DT (Jr./So.)               - Curtis Cothran, DT (RS Sr./Sr.)

Additions:
- Yetur Gross-Matos, DE (Fr./Fr., 6-5/242, Spotsylvania, Va./Chancellor), Fred Hansard, DT (Fr./Fr., 6-3/302/Burlington, N.J./The Hun School), Corey Bolds, DT (Fr./Fr., 6-3/285, Paterson, N.J./Paramus Catholic).

Subtractions:
- Garrett Sickels, DE, Evan Schwan, DE, Antoine White, DT, Brenon Thrift, DT. 

What To Watch For:
With a pair of NFL departures in veterans Sickels and Schwan, Penn State is by no means in unfamiliar territory, poised to reload with a variety of promising potential up front. 

For defensive coordinator Brent Pry, replacing the production from a duo responsible for the most tackles for loss and sacks from a year ago comes down to development and recruiting. For head coach James Franklin, he's impressed with the offseason dedication.

"You go out to practice the first couple days and I'm kind of talking to Coach Galt, and I'm covering my mouth and saying, 'We look different,'" Franklin said. "Physically, we just look different."

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The Nittany Lions return both leadership and experience at defensive tackle, with Cothran and Cothren setting the tone for the rest of the line - one that's clearly defined by toughness and maturity. Cothran closed out the year with eight starts, totaling 4.5 tackles for loss. Cothren started all 13 games, tallying 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks, in addition to an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection.

Both Pry and Franklin are pleased with the training camp competition at defensive end, with several experienced candidates in the mix.

"I think Shareef (Miller) is a guy who has a chance to have a breakout year and take that next step," Franklin said. "I think Torrence Brown has played a lot of football for us and is kind of the old wily vet and I think is going to be very productive for us." Both Miller and Brown played in all 14 games last year with Brown making four starts.

Miller registered two sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss in 2016, highlighting the Big Ten portion of the schedule with his first career forced fumble at Indiana. Brown totaled a half a sack and six tackles for loss, also highlighting the year at Indiana with a fourth-quarter fumble recovery for a nine-yard touchdown.

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Both coaches also highlighted Toney, Joseph and Simmons as potential options, with all three redshirting during the 2016 season.

"Shaka (Toney) is a guy that everybody is going to say that he's not 260 pounds, so you can't play defensive end in the Big Ten," Franklin said. "I don't know about that. I remember walking in during spring ball and telling our coaches, change your mindset. Don't allow the fact that this guy's not this or that, and you say he can't play because of this. Watch the tape, and watch how he's straining in the run game now more than he ever has. Watch him in the pass game on his third step before the offensive tackle is taking his first. He's going to bring something to us that we haven't had, to be honest with you."

Among the newcomers, Franklin noted on Media Day that none of the true freshmen are looking like true freshmen right now.

"They are big, strong, physically developed guys who can run," Franklin said. "That's going to make our defense better. That's going to make our offense better by going against these guys every day at practice."

Within the group, Franklin also mentioned that Gross-Matos is particularly exciting, with the staff poised to be in position to find him a role. A consensus four-star prospect, Gross-Matos capped his high school career at Chancellor helping the Chargers go 9-3, totaling 21 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks in his senior season.

Training Camp Breakdown: Specialists

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, featuring the Penn State specialists.  Read More

Training Camp Breakdown: Specialists

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football is underway in week two of training camp, wrapping up week one with the first practice in full pads on Friday afternoon before Media Day on Saturday.  

Ahead of the 2017 season, continue checking in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster. 

Who's Back:
- Alex Barbir, K (So./Fr.)
- Tyler Davis, K/P (RS Sr./Sr.)
- Blake Gillikin, P (So./So.)
- Daniel Pasquariello, P (Sr./Sr.)
- Kyle Vasey, SN (Sr./Jr.) 

Additions:
- Joe Calcagno, SN (Fr./Fr., 6-0/256,
Elmhurst, Ill./Fenwick), Carson Landis, K/P (Fr./Fr., 6-2/200, Macungie, Pa./Emmaus), Chris Stoll, SN (Fr./Fr., 6-2/239, Westerville, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales).

Subtractions:
- Tyler Yazujian, SN, Zach Ladonis, SN, Chris Gulla, K/P, Joey Julius, K. 

What To Watch For:
Penn State's special teams unit was much improved in 2016, thanks in large part to a collection of clutch performances from a few returning specialists. Leading the unit this year is veteran placekicker Tyler Davis, or the elder statesman of the group according to special teams coordinator Charles Huff.

"It was a role I kind of had to take over," Davis said "With Yaz (Yazujian) and Gulla and Ladonis being gone, I'm kind one of the older guys with the most experience. Me and Danny Pasquariello have kind of taken on the role of being mentors to the younger guys. We have a pretty young specialist group now, so it's just getting them ready for this season and then when we move on for them to be successful." 

Davis set the standard for consistency in 2016, winning the Vlade Award in addition to first team All-Big Ten honors, making 22-of-24 field goal attempts and all 62 extra point attempts. He also stretched his streak of consecutive made field goals to 18 before a blocked attempt against Ohio State.

For Huff, Davis' approach to consistency has shaped his leadership, evident in the progress of Alex Barbir, the Cumming, Georgia native who enters the 2017 season after redshirting his true freshman season in 2016. 

"He's gotten stronger," Huff said. "He can learn or has learned from Tyler to me, which is the most important, how to get in a routine. When you're in high school, you kick. You don't really have a routine of how you kick. But from Tyler, how to prepare on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Okay, I'm getting close to the game. What do I need to do? It's the offseason. It's a bye week. Okay, it's Thursday. It's getting later in the year temperature-wise. I think those are the things that Tyler has been able to help Alex with."

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Also among Penn State's top returning specialists is punter Blake Gillikin, who earned the starting job and didn't look back, putting together a standout rookie campaign in 2016. Breaking the freshman single season punting average record with 42.8 yards per punt, he finished third in the final Big Ten rankings in the category.   

With a year under his belt and nearly 15 pounds added to his frame, Huff sees consistency as the next step for Gillikin, fine tuning his placement and location versatility.

"He knows kind of the routine now," Huff said. "He knows his body better. He's gotten bigger, faster, stronger. He knows how long it takes him to warm up. He knows how long it takes him to cool down. He knows kind of the routine of a game. I think he'll be a lot more comfortable." 

During the 2016 season, Pasquariello stepped into the second half of the Maryland game to send two punts an average of 37.5 yards, pinning both inside the 20-yard line. 

With a few departures to the rest of the specialists unit, Penn State will look to evaluate and sort out roles to secure a kickoff specialist in addition to a holder and a snapper. Perhaps not the most talked about storylines in training camp, Penn State could find any number of combinations with backup quarterback Billy Fessler also potentially in the mix for the Nittany Lions at holder. 

Vasey, a 6-2 long snapper from Hawley, Pennsylvania most recently earned the Coaches Special Teams Award at the 2016 Blue-White game, which is presented to a specialist demonstrating loyalty, interest, attitude and improvement through spring practice.

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Nittany Lions Host Media Day

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Catch up on videos, exclusives and a few top takeaways from Penn State's annual media day at Beaver Stadium.  Read More

Nittany Lions Host Media Day

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Press Conferences I Media Day Live I Transcripts

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football hosted its annual media day Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium. With less than 30 days remaining until the Nittany Lions officially open the 2017 season, Penn State head coach James Franklin, several members of the staff and the team gathered to meet with members of the media.

Franklin led off with an opening press conference followed by appearances from offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, defensive coordinator Brent Pry and special teams coordinator Charles Huff. Running back Saquon Barkley closed out the press conference sessions before the media members moved to the field for one-on-one opportunities with the rest of the team.

Saturday marks the sixth training camp practice with Friday bringing the first session in full pads for the Nittany Lions. 

Check out a few takeaways from media day press conferences.

All About Consistency
Franklin was quick to note that with success or even had the 2016 season not exceeded expectations, the message from the staff simply would not have changed - and it never will.

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"Obviously, we learned from last year's experiences, and it was helpful from a growth perspective and from a maturity perspective, but last year's last year, and this year's this year," Franklin said. "We want to take all those experiences and maturity that we gained from last year and then continue growing and evolving."

This year Franklin has challenged each member of the staff and the team to take things back to day one, absorbing all areas of offense, defense and special teams as if it was the first day of installation.

Weekly Depth Chart
This year Franklin will also be asking the coaching staff to prepare a weekly depth chart on Sundays that he and the staff can review and evaluate as if it were a normal game-week scenario.

"I want the players to know, right after this week, if the number three guy just beat you out and you were the number two guy and you're no longer that guy, I don't want it to be a subtle thing in practice where you've noticed one or two reps that guy is starting to get more of," Franklin said. "No, he beat you out and you know that. So now you have the opportunity to fix that before the first game."

For Franklin, the honest feedback will not only present an immediate opportunity for correction, but also act as a catalyst to elevate the level of competition.  

"My point is, that instant feedback that they used to get back in the day, you'd walk to your locker, and your jersey color had just changed," Franklin said. "You'd gone from first team to second team. And we're going to do the same thing by week but more from a depth chart perspective."

Sanders on Special Teams
As a true freshman last year, Miles Sanders was a consistent piece of Penn State's kickoff return, averaging 20.8 yards on a team-high 33 returns. For Huff, he expects Sanders will only continue to grow from a truly new experience.

"You've got to remember that Miles Sanders was a great athlete, but Miles Sanders never returned kicks in high school," Huff said. "Every time he was back there, it was a new experience. I think he gained a lot from that experience. He feels more confident. He understands a little bit more. Obviously, he's gotten bigger, stronger, faster, and that's going to help."

Huff also pointed to veterans Nick Scott and Brandon Polk as possible options, noting that newcomer KJ Hamler could also be in the mix for the Nittany Lions. Scott averaged 23.0 yards on six kickoff returns for the Nittany Lions in 2016 while Polk averaged 20.9 yards on 10 returns in 2015, sidelined by an injury for a majority of the 2016 season.

"That's probably one area going into summer camp that we feel like we can make a big improvement in, not because we're going to draw up some great play or not because we've got this secret weapon, but just the guys are a year older," Huff said. "They understand the scheme a little bit more. So that will help us moving forward."

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Defensive Line Competition
Penn State saw veteran departures for the NFL in defensive ends Garrett Sickels and Evan Schwan, but having to reload is not a new situation for defensive line coach Sean Spencer or Pry. Already a few practices into training camp, there's still a lot of evaluating to do, but Pry is thrilled with the performances he's seeing from candidates likely to replace the production from a duo responsible for a team-high six sacks apiece in 2016.

"Shareef and Ryan Buchholz had some great experience last year," Pry said. "Torrence Brown, being the third wheel, played a bunch of snaps. There's experience there with those guys, and we're very excited about the talent in Shaka [Toney], in Daniel Joseph, in Shane Simmons. Now I know he's been talked about a little bit here - I've seen it all over Twitter - Yetur Gross-Matos. There's good competition there."

Training Camp Breakdowns: QB

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Check in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster, starting with quarterbacks.  Read More

Training Camp Breakdown: Quarterbacks

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football training camp is officially underway with the Nittany Lions reporting back to campus Sunday for move in and meetings ahead of Monday's opening day of practice. 

Ahead of the 2017 season, check in at each position for a closer look at who's back and who's new to the Nittany Lion roster.

Who's Back:
- Billy Fessler (Sr./Jr.)
- Trace McSorley (Sr./Jr.)
- Michael Shuster (So./Fr.)
- Tommy Stevens (Jr./So.)
- Jake Zembiec (So./Fr.) 

Additions:
- Sean Clifford (Fr./Fr., 6-2/211, Cincinnati, Ohio/Saint Xavier)

Subtractions:
- None 

What To Watch For:
After earning the starting job in last year's training camp, McSorley returns poised for another successful season as the leader of the Nittany Lion offense. Putting together a record-setting season last year, McSorley will look to build upon impressive numbers, throwing for 3,614 yards with 29 passing touchdowns in addition to 3,979 yards of total offense, earning All-Big Ten second team honors.

One of three team captains this year, since taking over the reins of a newly installed offense, McSorley's leadership has grown as fast as his dynamic skill set. As he noted only a few months ago, spring ball provided ample time to look back on last year's installation. With a better understanding of what worked and what did not, this year's added sense of balanced confidence has only dialed up the intensity and focus.

In this year's Blue-White Game, Stevens threw for 216 yards with 17 completions and three touchdowns. His exciting performance wasn't really all that surprising to head coach James Franklin though, who noted he had seen that level of excellence carry through from last year's competition for the starting job on many occasions. In 2016, Stevens played in seven games, highlighting the year with a 13-yard touchdown after lining up in the slot for a jet sweep hand-off for his first career score in addition to a 12-yard touchdown run at Rutgers.

As Franklin also said postgame at Blue-White, there's still a need for increased competition within the unit, noting he feels Penn State has two quarterbacks the team could win with, but a third option is a priority. 

An important member of the scout team, Fessler returns to the group as a senior, having made some contributions on special teams holding on placements, seeing action in four games last year.

One of seven returning Nittany Lions from central Pennsylvania, Michael Shuster added 10 pounds after completing a redshirt season last year. Also returning is Rochester, New York native Jake Zembiec, who redshirted last year and capped off the spring semester with a perfect 4.0 GPA in the classroom.

For Zembiec, a redshirt season followed up by spring practice all meant more time to get into the playbook to gain confidence.

"I think knowing the playbook now, it allows me to focus a lot more on actually throwing the football or running the football, whatever I'm doing and not second guessing," Zembiec said. "I trust myself to make the right reads."

Between Fessler, Shuster and Zembiec, all three have made contributions as a sideline signal caller.

New to the unit this fall is Clifford, a true freshman and consensus four-star prospect who arrived this summer for his first season with the Nittany Lions. Closing out a standout high school campaign, he helped guide St. Xavier High School to a Division I Ohio State Championship with a double overtime win over St. Ignatius. 

Football is Back

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By Arielle Sargent, GoPSUsports.com

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Catch up on what you missed from all the Penn State Football training camp opening day action in pictures.  Read More

Football is Back

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State Football is back in action, kicking off training camp with the first day of practice Monday afternoon. With four weeks of practice remaining before game week, catch up on what you missed from all the training camp opening action.  

Football is back.

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