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Coaches Caravan Day 3: Washington DC

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WASHINGTON - Penn State punctuated its 2018 Coaches Caravan with a final stop in Washington, D.C., greeted by yet another packed crowd. The Nittany Lion head coaches did not disappoint in the finale, wrapping up the evening program with one final singing of the Penn State Alma Mater to bring an official close to the Coaches Caravan. 

"It's a great opportunity for fans of various programs to demonstrate their support of the program by coming out and interacting with the coaches and the various sports," Penn State women's volleyball head coach Russ Rose said.

Set to begin his 40th season at the helm of the program, not much has changed for the hall of fame head coach, who noted simply that it always has been and always will be about the players.

The first of the coaches to speak following director of athletics Sandy Barbour, Rose wasted no time recognizing one of his former student-athletes in the crowd, asking the former Nittany Lion to stand for a loud applause before he jumped into his segment.

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This offseason is especially critical for Rose's current Nittany Lions as the departure of four All-American leaves plenty of question marks. All four are currently overseas playing professionally, joining a long list of former Penn State Nittany Lions who have gone on to play at the next level.

It's the nine newcomers in Penn State's incoming recruiting class that has Rose particularly enthusiastic about what's to come this fall.

"Some of the class it's based on the quantity as well as the quality of the players," Rose said. "We have a larger class so I think it makes it easier for people to identify the numbers. I think we have good athleticism. We have some kids who are competitive."

Losing roughly 65 percent of its offensive productive in the trio of All-Americans, it will be no easy task for the young roster. For Rose, while the unknown is certainly challenging, it's not exactly a negative.

"Sometimes you already know the answer. I'm going into the season hopeful that the new people will be able to improve in some areas where I thought the last group was unable to give it their full attention," Rose said.

Circling back to his portion of the evening program, as the longest current tenured head coach, Rose noted that what makes Penn State great is it's unique group of coaches all genuinely sharing support for each other. 

"We have a great collection of coaches right now," Rose said. "I think that it's a supportive group. I think the energy of the group is headed in the right direction and people genuinely care about each other and the other programs. Those are the sort of things that lead to a positive work environment 

For Barbour, the four coaches joining her on the stage all possess a certain quality. 

"Our coaches are absolutely great entertainers," Barbour said. "Not only are they great coaches and great institutional fits for Penn State, but they have all got great senses of humor, all in their own way and I know that's very entertaining for our crowds."

Across all three stops, the Penn State coaches greeted fans and shared program records and stories and even invited the crowd inside the film room to break down one play from each participating head coach.

"There continues to be a building level of excitement within the Penn State community about what's going on, frankly, overall with the university and certainly from our perspective in athletics," Barbour said. "What our student-athletes are doing in the classroom, what they are doing in the community and certainly what they are doing in the athletic venues. That continues to build. We continue to work hard to make folks proud and I think we're showing appreciation for them. That's part of the caravan, for us to come to them."

Last Stop Snippets
- It's no secret Penn State head coach James Franklin and his staff have a keen interest in gaining insight from a variety of analytics reports. He hits on the some of the benefits, including how often times the dialogue between coaches is perhaps one of the best part of the findings.

- When it comes to getting better as a program, from a big picture perspective it's easy to pin-point areas of improvement after a loss. For Franklin though, keeping a sense of urgency in fine tuning any areas of concern after a win are equally as important. Likening it to deodorant covering up a funk, Franklin noted evaluations are just as intensive after a win than after a loss.

- With the success the program has enjoyed across the last season, Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers noted a lot more phones are being answered when it comes to recruiting on a national state. Looking toward the newcomers, he noted Combination guard Myreon Jones Jr. has plenty of potential and will receive every opportunity to compete for a spot come 2018-19.

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