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By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - After two wins last weekend, Penn State shows that although this
team may be young- they mean business.
Already this season, seven of the 11 freshmen have already seen
playing time. Several of the freshman players, such
as Megan Schafer and Frannie Crouse, have
become key players on the pitch.
"She brings a personality to the team we haven't seen for a while," coach Walsh
said about freshman Megan Schafer. "She plays a variety of roles and is
going to be a big player this season."
Coach Walsh also noted that the upperclassmen are taking on
"This preseason contained a little more teaching and
mentoring from upperclassman," said Walsh.
Emily Hurd, an upperclassman on the team, spoke on Monday at
Penn State's Fall Sports Media Day about the freshmen class and their
performance so far this season.
"[The freshmen] have
done awesome," Hurd said. They're obviously a talented group and they're very
eager to learn from the leaders on this team and that's what has made this
transition so seamless. They want to grow in every game and every practice.
They're a fantastic group soccer-wise but off the field and within the
chemistry of our team, they've been absolutely fantastic.
"They're putting together performances like that of
upperclassmen and they're only their second game in," she said.
With such a diverse group of players, the freshmen bring a wide range
of skills and personalities to the team. This year's freshman class comes to
Penn State from nine different states.
Making the move from Langhorne, Penn., to Happy Valley, Schafer
expressed what experiencing Jeffery Field was like for the first time this past
"It was awesome and kind of surreal because you grow up
always dreaming of playing soccer in college and then the first game at five
o'clock comes along and you can't believe it's here already," Schafer said. "We
are so lucky to experience this with such great teammates and coaches,"
During the team's season opener against West Virginia, Crouse
scored the game-winning goal, showing that, although she in her first year, she
is a player with a presence.
"The nerves were definitely there, but once you're on the
field and the whistle blows, it's like we've done this our entire lives,"
During the team's second match of the year against Syracuse,
Crouse was one of four freshmen to start the game. The other freshmen that started
Sunday's match were Maddie Elliston, Elizabeth Ball, and Emily Ogle.
With the freshmen already making big moves, the Lions look
forward to their next game.
Penn State will face Connecticut on Friday night at Jeffery
Field. The whistle blows at 5:30 p.m.
LIVE GAME BLOG
Game Notes |
Depth Chart | UCF Scouting Report | Huge Crowd Greets Lions in Ireland
Ireland Day I Coverage | Ireland Day II Coverage | Ireland Photo Gallery
DUBLIN, Ireland - For the first time in its 128-year gridiron history,
the Nittany Lion football team will play an international game. Penn State is
set to meet UCF in the season-opening Croke Park Classic on Saturday (8:30 a.m.
on ESPN2) in Ireland.
Head coach James Franklin will debut as leader of the Nittany Lions when he
leads the team onto the infamous Irish pitch inside Croke Park Stadium. The
Blue and White enter the season with seven returning starters on both offense
and defense. The Lions begin the season with 54 true or redshirt freshmen on
Penn State traveled to Dublin overnight on Tuesday. After practicing at
University College Dublin for three days, the Nittany Lions are focused on the
season-opener against a very talented UCF squad. On the heels of a 12-1 season
and a win in the Fiesta Bowl, the Knights are under the direction of 18-year
veteran head coach George O'Leary.
The long wait is over. The 2014 Penn State Football season is here. Welcome to an international version of the
Gameday Preview for the season-opener against the UCF Knights.
What to Watch For - Penn State
1. The Nittany Lions have been more than 3,000 miles away from Happy
Valley since Wednesday morning, so game week has been anything but normal from
a travel perspective. But the on-field preparations and meetings have been
business as usual for the Nittany Lions across the pond. Penn State held three
practices in Ireland and usual gameplan meetings throughout the week. The
schedule has been as close to a typical game week as possible. As Coach
Franklin has said all week, this is a business trip for the team and its staff.
The Lions have been exposed to some of the finest cuisine and sites in Ireland
during the week, but the group has been focused on the task at hand since it
2. Reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year Christian Hackenberg will lead
the Nittany Lion offense for the second-straight season. Hackenberg, who was
voted captain by his peers during training camp, is an improved player in all
facets of the game after a strong offseason in the weight room and on the
field. Franklin has noted several times during the offseason that the cast of
players surrounding the quarterback is the key group to keep an eye on.
Headlining the cast is a pair of senior running backs - Bill Belton and Zach
Zwinak - and a corps of veteran tight ends led by Jesse James and Kyle Carter.
Keep an eye on the youthful receiving corps made up of Geno Lewis, DaeSean
Hamilton, Chris Godwin and Saeed Blacknall.
3. The Penn State defense had a superb training camp season. A group
filled with veterans, the Nittany Lions enter the season with eight defensive starters
who are juniors or seniors. The man calling the shots on the defensive side of
the ball is fifth-year senior Mike Hull. Hull is the team's top returning
tackler (78 stops in 2013). In addition to Hull, defensive end C.J. Olaniyan
and safeties Ryan Keiser and Adrian Amos will start as seniors. Defensive
coordinator Bob Shoop wants to see an attacking style with relentless pursuit
of the ball every time his unit steps onto the field.
What to Watch For - UCF
1. The UCF defense features nine returning starters from last year's
team that went 12-1. The Knights finished in the nation's top 20 in scoring
defense in 2013, allowing just 21.3 points per game. Bednarik Award candidate
Terrance Plummer returns as the team's top tackler. He finished with 110
tackles in 2013. The UCF secondary features two Jim Thorpe Award candidates in
senior Clayton Geathers and sophomore cornerback Jacoby Glenn. Geathers
recorded 100 stops, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups last season. Glenn
had two interceptions and 15 pass breakups.
2. The Penn State coaching staff believes UCF has among the top
receiving units that the Nittany Lions will face all season. Senior Rannell
Hall made 57 receptions for 886 yards and had five touchdowns last year. Junior
Breshad Perriman averaged nearly 21 yards per reception in 2013. Perriman
finished with 811 yards and 39 catches. J.J. Worton is the third key
contributor in the receiving corps. Worton tallied 47 receptions and seven
touchdowns last season. Former UCF quarterback and NFL first-round selection
Black Bortles is now playing on Sundays. Redshirt freshman Pete DiNovo will
make his first career start, but he has a talented cast of receivers on the
field to distribute the ball to.
3. The Knights also enter the season with a solid group of specialists
on the depth chart. Placekicker Shawn Moffitt is a Lou Groza Award candidate
after going 21-for-23 on field goal attempts in 2013. Punter Caleb Houston
averaged 42.2 yards per punt last season, as well. Hall (KR) and Worton (PR)
are the team's return threats. Hall is among UCF's leaders in nearly every
kickoff return category. Worton has 55 punt returns for 573 yards in his
The Final Word:
Historic Croke Park will play host to Saturday's clash between Penn
State and UCF. Finished in 1913, Croke Park Stadium has a 69,000-seat capacity
for the football game. Home of the Gaelic Games, the stadium is a large
structure that towers over most of the buildings in Dublin, but does so with an
intimate feel inside. The sports and cultural heritage of the stadium can be
felt from the moment an individual walks inside. The pitch is hallowed ground
not touched by anyone but competitors or the grounds crew. The pitch itself is
large enough to fit more than two football fields across it, giving Saturday's
game a unique look. The football lines will be centered in the pitch, which
provides significant space between the sidelines and the stadium structure. Playing
inside Croke Park means a lot to the Nittany Lions.
"There is no doubt that it is a national treasure for them," Franklin said.
"Sports are very, very important in this country. I think the whole thing has
been surreal in a lot of ways."
GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Gabrielle Richards,
GoPSUsports Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Twenty-eight
years ago, head coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss opened her playbook for the first
time as the head coach for the Nittany Lion field hockey team. Since then, her
teams have won three Big Ten Championships and have made an appearance in the
NCAA Tournament each year. This year, Coach Morett-Curtis and the team are
eager to work hard for another successful season.
In a press conference on Monday, Morett-Curtiss
used the words "chemistry" and "experienced" to describe this year's squad.
"We have a lot of talented
players, but we need to make sure that we're getting them in the right
positions," Morett-Curtiss said. "I'm excited about the senior class that we
have coming back."
With seven seniors and a pair of
fifth-year seniors, the Nittany Lions will bring a level of maturity to the
field unparalleled by younger squads in the conference.
Heading into this weekend's home
opener, the Nittany Lions are ranked No. 8 by the NFHCA (National Field Hockey
Coaches Association), putting them ahead of Old Dominion but just behind
For the past ten years, Penn State
has opened the season against Old Dominion but 2014 brings new additions to the
schedule. Maryland, Quinnipiac, Drexel and Lock Haven are new to the schedule
this year. Maryland is not only a new addition to Penn State's schedule, but a
new addition to the Big Ten Conference.
"I think it makes it more
challenging, but at the same time it's a welcomed addition to the conference," coach
Morett-Curtiss said of the schedule additions. "You look at some of the
conferences, where the ACC, they have a lot of strong teams. So, a win or a
loss against them really only helps strengthen your schedule. That's what I
think is going to be positive for us."
Much like any sport, the longer a
team plays together, the more familiar they become with one another.
Familiarity doesn't even begin to describe the 2014 roster. With two Big Ten
Championships and three NCAA Tournaments between them, this senior class is
prepared for a challenging schedule.
Seniors Jenna Chrismer, Laura
Gebhart, and Taylor Herold have been major contributors to the Penn State offense
since the trio first came to Penn State. Katie Breneman and Katie Andrews have
been a constant force in the backfield, as they started in all 19 contests last
season. Fifth-year senior Kylie Licata will be returning to the cage, also
starting every game last season.
Casey Haegele, Amanda Dinunzio and
Natalie Buttinger also return to the Nittany Lion roster, all of whom saw
action in 13 games last season.
The forward line is one of the
strongest dynamics that the Nittany Lions will field this season. Chrismer,
Gebhart and Herold have been major assets to the forward line since their
freshman seasons. The trio combined for 21 goals, 20 assists and 145 shots on
goal last season, ranking them as the top contributors of last year's squad.
Licata, who was the Nittany Lions
only goalie last season, will return to the field with her 0.683% save
Aside from the seniors experience
in conference play, Gebhart recently returned from playing on the U.S. National
Team this summer.
"It was a huge learning
experience," Gebhart said in Monday's press conference. "It's really great that
I can come back to Char (coach Morett-Curtiss) and we can talk about things
that I learned, how we can implement them at Penn State and how we can pick up
our level and just really take the whole program to the next level."
This leadership and experience
will help mold the incoming freshman class, as this group of seniors will be
leaving behind big shoes to fill.
"I'm always excited to get
the fall season started," coach Morett-Curtiss said. "We were really fortunate
this year that we were able to schedule two scrimmages. As a coach, you're
always trying to find the perfect fit. We have a lot of talented players, but
we need to make sure that we're getting them in the right positions."
The Nittany Lions open their regular-season
this Friday against Old Dominion at 5 p.m. and Virginia on Sunday at 12 p.m..
Day I Coverage in Ireland | Photo Gallery
DUBLIN, Ireland. - With the season-opener looming on Saturday inside Croke Park (8:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2), it was business as usual for the Nittany Lions on Thursday in their game preparations in Ireland.
The team held its normal team and position meetings in the
morning before traveling to University College of Dublin (UCD) for practice. The Lions finished a busy Thursday in Ireland with a team meal at the Guinness Storehouse high above the Dublin skyline.
Head coach James Franklin was pleased with the team's focus level at practice
on Thursday, and he said that he feels like the team is ready for the opener
"We got really good work done. We basically repeated yesterday's practice, but
went full speed," Franklin said. "Mother Nature cooperated. The weather is
beautiful. We got a lot of really good work done...I think the guys have had a
really good experience. The hotel has been unbelievable. The GAA has been
unbelievable. And we are excited to get out there and play."
The team will hold its normal walkthrough on Friday at UCD before meetings and
a team meal on Friday evening. Franklin said he feels good about where the team
is heading into the final day of prep for Saturday's game.
"I think every day that it gets closer there is more anticipation," Franklin
said. "There is no doubt about that. But I'm not a guy that gets excited until
the morning of the game. Usually, I sleep very well the night before the game.
I wake up that morning and kind of get those butterflies. In the locker room, I
get the butterflies. And things like that. But before that, there are things
like today that we have to get cleaned up that are on our mind. Until all of
those things are done, that's where my focus is."
James Franklin Practice Update -
practice session on Thursday, the Nittany Lions received an interactive
informational session on Gaelic football and hurling, two games that are a
fixture in Ireland. The Lions split into groups for hands-on instruction for
both sports before professionals put on an exhibition of the two sports. Cormac
o'Donnoha, Director of Experience Gaelic Games, led the instruction at UCD.
Take a look.
The day concluded
with a terrific factory tour and meal at the Guinness Storehouse in downtown
Dublin. The team visited several levels of the factory before congregating on
the fifth floor of the building for a buffet dinner. The building where the
Storehouse is located was built in 1902 as a fermentation plant for the St.
James's Gate Brewery. It was the first multi-story steel-framed structure to be
built in Ireland.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff
PARK, Pa.-. After consecutive years of winning the Big Ten regular season title
despite being ranked fifth in the conference to start the season, the Nittany
Lions find themselves in a similar situation this season. They open their 2014
schedule ranked fourth behind Maryland, Michigan State and Michigan. The Penn
State men's soccer team is used to being looked at as the underdog
this point, preseason rankings don't affect head coach Bob Warming and crew at
all. Taking other teams by surprise has become second nature to them.
nice going in there with a chip on your shoulder for sure," senior forward
Mikey Minutillo said. "We'll prove all these guys wrong again."
no mistake, the Nittany Lions have the bar set just as high. A year after going
13-6-2 and making it to the Sweet 16, the Blue and White are looking to advance
even further with a lineup that is young yet very experienced.
they have just four seniors on the roster, the Nittany Lion return seven last
year's starters, as well as Minutillo, who sat out 2013, and major contributors
in senior defender Eli Dennis and sophomore forward Mark Wadid.
year, Penn State relied heavily on a group of freshmen that included midfielder
Mason Klerks, forward Connor Maloney and Wadid. With those players now a year
more seasoned, the Lions will look to them even more.
freshmen having the year that they did was huge for them in their development,
but also for us going forward," senior captain and midfielder Owen Griffith
said. "We know that those guys are going to come back and hopefully have just
as good of a year if not better because they've had one more year of
development with this program."
for the seniors, it is Minutillo's return to the lineup that has Warming
particularly excited. The San Jose, Calif. native started 11 games in 2012 and
was cited by his coach as one of the team's standout stars this preseason.
year after it took the Nittany Lions 11 games to score multiple goals in one
game, Minutillo's return to the front line promises to make the Nittany Lions
offense more potent.
is also counting on the team's scoring being boosted by the continued
developments of Maloney and Wadid. Maloney finished last season tied for first
on the team in points with 11, while Wadid finished third on the team in goals
didn't have any forwards [last year]," Warming said. "We've got a forward now
[in Minutillo] and Connor Maloney is developing into a great forward...we've
got Mark Wadid and he's going to be a goal-scoring machine when he's in there.
so excited to have Mikey back with us. He's scoring goals, he looks terrific...he
adds a different dimension to our team and we're excited about that."
of course, there's Andrew Wolverton. The reigning Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year
is returning from offseason shoulder surgery but is ahead of schedule and ready
to begin his fourth year as the Nittany Lions anchor between the pipes.
most decorated player on the team, Wolverton needs six shutouts to pass Greg
Kinney as the Nittany Lions all-time leader in that category after breaking the
team's single-season record with eight last season.
teammates know how lucky they are to have the 6-foot-6 goalie on their team.
Last year, Wolverton posted a 0.81 goals-against average to go along with an
astounding 76 saves on 94 shots. By comparison, last year's first team
All-American selection Andre Blake of Connecticut made 39 saves on 56 shots.
hands down the best goalie in the nation," Minutillo said. "He's not going to
let much in and that's always good as a forward to know you just need to score
one and he's going to keep the rest out of the net."
Lions know repeating as conference champions and going further in the NCAA
tournament isn't going to be easy.
last year's NCAA runner-up Maryland now in the Big Ten, the Penn State will
certainly have its share of challenges. The Nittany Lions play the Terpins for
the first time on October 12.
the past two years are any indication, bigger challenges will bring forth more
good results for the Blue and White.
really going to raise the level of the Big Ten," Griffith said of having
Maryland in the conference. "It makes it that much more difficult for us to
defend our title but it's makes it that much of a challenge for us that we want
UCF, Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland, 8:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Knights, led by George O'Leary, open their 2014
campaign looking to repeat as American Athletic Conference champions. UCF finished last year with a 12-1 record,
including 8-0 in the AAC. They were
selected for their first BCS bowl in program history, defeating Baylor 52-42 in
the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. O'Leary enters
his 11th year as UCF's head coach with a 72-56 career record and was named AAC
Coach of the Year in 2013.
The Knights return six starters from an offense that averaged 30.4 points and
441.5 yards per game last year. UCF must
replace three All-AAC offensive linemen and their backfield.
UCF will have a new quarterback in 2014 after Blake Bortles entered the NFL
Draft and was selected third overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Knights will start redshirt freshman Pete
DiNovo, native of Tarpon Springs, Fla. DiNovo got the nod over Justin Holman
and Boise State transfer Nick Patti.
The Knights will also have a new running back after Storm Johnson also entered
the draft. Six-foot-one, 225-pound
sophomore William Stanback will take over the main role after gaining 443 yards
and six touchdowns on 105 carries (4.2 yards per carry). The Doak Walker Award candidate also caught
15 passes for 186 yards and a score.
A talented receiver group will lead the offense with three of their top four
wideouts back from 2013. Each receiver
brings a good combination of size and speed that will be a challenge for a Penn
State secondary that is one of the most experienced units on the defense.
Senior Rannell Hall led the team with 886 yards on 57 catches, while adding
five touchdowns. The 6-foot-1 Hall will
also contribute on kick returns after he averaged nearly 24 yards per return in
Joining Hall are
junior Breshad Perriman and redshirt senior J.J. Worton. The 6-foot-3 Perriman averaged almost 21
yards per catch last year, totaling 811 yards and four touchdowns on 39
catches. Worton, 6-foot-2, gained 721 yards and seven scores on 47 receptions. Worton
will also contribute on punt returns.
Tight end Justin Tukes caught 13 passes for 116 yards and a score last
The offensive line will include three new starters after All-AAC linemen Chris
Martin, Jordan McCray and Justin McCray all graduated. Tackle Torrian Wilson returns and was named a
preseason First Team All-AAC player by Phil Steele.
UCF returns nine starters from a defense that ranked among the nation's top 20
in scoring defense in 2013, allowing just 21.3 points per game. They also had a strong run defense, giving up
122.5 yards per game.
The Knight defensive
line is led by two redshirt juniors, tackle Demetris Anderson and end Thomas
Niles. Anderson recorded 24 tackles,
including seven for loss and a sack in 2013, while Niles compiled 30 tackles,
with eight for loss and four sacks.
Bednarik Award candidate Terrance Plummer leads the linebacking corps. Plummer led the knights with 110 tackles, 62
solo, and 8.5 for loss. He added 2.5 sacks and two interceptions as well as two
The secondary returns all four starters, including two Jim Thorpe Award
candidates. Redshirt senior safety
Clayton Geathers recorded 100 tackles, 64 solo, two interceptions and 10 pass
breakups last year. He is joined by
redshirt sophomore cornerback Jacoby Glenn, who picked off two passes and broke
up 15. Safety Brandon Alexander and
cornerback Jordan Ozerities also return.
Alexander picked off three passes in 2013, while Ozerities picked off
UCF is also strong in the kicking game. Kicker Shawn Moffitt, a Lou Groza Award
candidate, connected on 21-of-23 attempts, with a long of 50 yards. Ray Guy Award candidate Caleb Houston
averaged 42.2 yards per punt.
Penn State is 2-1 all-time against the Golden Knights and will look to bounce back
from last year's 34-31 setback at Beaver Stadium.
What George O'Leary is saying about Penn
"Christian (Hackenberg) was really an exceptional player for a freshman.
The Big Ten certainly thought so. I would expect that if he keeps improving
like he did as a freshman, each game he got better and understood more about
the defense, he will be a quarterback that you hear a lot about in college
"I think (Austin Johnson) is a really good tackle. Their two ends are back; we
played against them last year. In my opinion, the bulk of their defense is the
Mike linebacker, (Mike) Hull. He's a
very good player. They've always had good linebackers there. They always have
"Penn State is a school with a rich football tradition for a long, long time.
That hasn't disappeared and they have a lot of good players that can win games
on all of the 2014 Opponent Previews provided by GoPSUsports.com Student Writer
By Samantha DelRosso, GoPSUSports.com
Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- Having won five of the last seven NCAA titles, expectations
are always high for the Penn State women's volleyball team. Despite losing a
host of production from last year's squad, the squad expected to be among the
The No. 1-ranked Nittany
Lions graduated six seniors last season, including blocking powerhouse Katie
Slay to back row weapon Deja McClendon.
Head coach Russ Rose will turn to a roster blending eight new faces with
veterans as the Lions look ahead to the start of 2014.
"You enjoy great players when
they're here and you hope the players that come after them respect the
tradition and work hard to make those same sacrifices and contributions," Rose
After being on a team with players like McClendon, Slay and Ariel Scott for
many years, it may be hard for some players to get used to so many new faces.
Defensive specialist Dominique Gonzalez, who, as a senior, will be a team
leader this year, said she enjoys having the new faces in the gym because they
are excited to be there and are working hard to get better.
Junior outside hitter Megan
Courtney will also be taking on more of a leadership role this year. One of her
jobs will be to instill what needs to get done in the younger players. Being an older player also means that she will
become a go-to hitter. Courtney says that even though she is a veteran, she
will still need to perform well because the novice players this year are
"If I play well, everyone
else will be play well and that's what I can do to make the team better,"
Just two years ago, Courtney
was entering her freshman season, so she knows what the newcomers are going
through right now. As a freshman, Courtney played in 36 matches and said that
sometimes her head would get clustered during the match. She understands that
this may happen to the freshmen this year, but it's her job as an older player
to make sure they maintain a positive mindset.
"They're freshman, they make
mistakes, we all make mistakes, so it's a matter how we come off of those
mistakes and learn from them. To just prepare for the next point and not dwell
on the past," Courtney said. "We all make mistakes so it's a matter of how we
turn those mistakes into good points."
Outside hitters Alli Frantti
and Simone Lee are two freshmen that Rose said played well this preseason, but
there is competition going on between all of the new players.
"There's battles going on at
all the positions, but a lot of it is impacted by who is cleared for practice
that day," Rose said. "All of the net players have showed some talent and
potential. I saw it in most of them when I recruited them."
Rose said the speed of the
game is going to be the biggest transition for the younger players. And what bigger
change of speed than going from high school and club volleyball to the Big Ten
Conference. Rose said the much of the success of the team will be based on how
the coaching staff and older players prepare the younger players to compete in
the Big Ten environment, both at home and away.
"I know how good the
conference is and the quality of the players and coaches. [I know] how tough
the venues are. The older players who have been in the conference for two and
three years, they have a much better handle on it than the young people," Rose
Gonzalez shared a similar
outlook on the Big Ten and knows that the team must practice hard this season.
"We know conference is tough.
Every match we have to be prepared for. No ones going to be an easy game or
giveaway games and were trying to instill that in the other players," Gonzalez
said. "You start off the season completely new, we won it last year but that
means nothing this year. We are going to work to be successful again but we
know that's going to be a lot of work."
This weekend, the Nittany
Lions will kick off their season with three home matches. On Friday, they will
face TCU at 7:30 p.m. Last season, the Horned Frogs were 16-15.
On Saturday, Penn State will
play Iona and William & Mary in a doubleheader at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.,
respectively. Iona went 16-14 in the 2013 season and William & Mary was
Senior middle hitter Nia
Grant is ready for the weekend, but knows there is always room for improvement.
"You always want to get better,
so I'm going to still use this week to get ready for the games and continue to
get better as the season progresses," Grant said.
Rose said earlier this week
that Grant is one of only three players (Micha Hancock, Grant and Courtney) who
will definitely be on this weekend's starting lineup. The rest of the starting
lineup has been impacted by injury and inconsistency, so the time is now for
the freshmen to step up.
"We might start up to three freshmen. It's hard to start [the expected
starters] when they're not cleared to play right now," Rose said. "So we'll
play this weekend, and then we'll play the next weekend and we'll play
hopefully the next 17 weekends."
Winning the 2013 National
Championship means that all eyes will be on Penn State this season. And the
Nittany Lions know the road in 2014 won't be easy.
"I think everyone on the
team, coaching staff, players all agree with me when I say that its an
expectation to go back to the final four, but we all know that it's not just
given to us because we won last year," Courtney said. "It's what we do in the
gym that's going to do the talking."
Photo Gallery - Ireland Day One
DUBLIN, Ireland - It was a whirlwind 24-hour period for the Nittany
Lions as they journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean in preparation for Saturday's
season-opener against UCF (8:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2) in Ireland.
Penn State's journey to Dublin began on Tuesday night, and the team did not see
its hotel until dinnertime on Wednesday. GoPSUsports.com followed the Nittany
Lions every step of the way. Take a look at a busy day of travel with the team.
8:13 p.m. ET (Tuesday Night) - Buses
Depart State College
The first wave of staff buses pulled out of the Bryce Jordan
Center parking lot just before 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday evening to begin the first
leg of the travel to Europe. The players and coaches followed the staff buses with a 9
p.m. departure from the Lasch Football Complex after Tuesday afternoon's
10 p.m. ET (Tuesday Night) - Arrival at
The first set of buses arrived at the main terminal of the Harrisburg
International Airport at 10 p.m. Each member of the more than 300 in the travel
party visited the United desk inside the terminal for passport verification and
the reception of a printed boarding pass.
12:01 a.m. ET (Tuesday Night) - Flight
Departs the USA
Just after midnight, the United Boeing 747-400 jumbo jet backed away from Gate
B6 in Harrisburg. The jet had spent the day traveling from Tokyo to Chicago and
then to Harrisburg before transporting the Nittany Lions to Ireland. The jet itself
was a tremendous aircraft featuring two levels, 180-degree seats in three of its cabins and a total of 370 passenger seats in 60 rows.
11:09 a.m. IST (Wednesday) - Touch Down
The charter flight touched down at Dublin Airport just after 11:09 a.m.
IST. From there, the party deplaned and collected luggage before working
through customs and boarding a total of eight tour buses. Head coach James
Franklin took a few minutes to meet the media before the squad left the airport
to talk about the team's overnight travel.
12:15 p.m. IST - 3 p.m.
IST - Travel Party Visits Croke Park
the eight tour buses and luggage packed, the group traveled to Croke Park
Stadium for a welcome reception and buffet lunch. Following lunch, the
group dispersed for a tour of the facility. The players had the opportunity to
see the Dublin skyline from the roof of Croke Park, walk on the pitch and visit the locker rooms.
4:30 p.m. IST - Practice at University
After the visit to Croke Park Stadium, the team travel party drove
approximately 30 minutes to the Penn State practice site for the week at
University College Dublin. The Lions conducted a normal "Thursday" practice
session, according to Coach Franklin.
6:20 p.m. IST - Media Interviews After
At the conclusion of Wednesday's practice session, Franklin and a host of
players visited with 28 members of the media who attended the last portion of
practice. More than 20 of the 28 media members in attendance traveled from
Pennsylvania to cover the Nittany Lions during their trip to Dublin.
7:15 p.m. IST - Hotel
Check In and Dinner
busy first day across the pond ended at the Powerscourt Hotel when the Nittany
Lions held a team meal and checked into their home during the trip.
Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
GoPSUsports.com catches up with seniors Mike Hull and C.J. Olaniyan at Beaver
Stadium prior to the team's departure to Ireland on Tuesday.
Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony