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Training Camp in 10 Questions with Von Walker

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What is your favorite part about training camp?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Matchup: OL vs. DL

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By Mark Brumbaugh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The defensive line also has a camp specific goal.

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

Let the rivalry begin.

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Juwan Johnson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Garrett Taylor

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Garrett Taylor-John Petrishen.jpeg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Training Camp in 10 Questions with Derek Dowrey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 Penn State Football Media Day

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


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

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


James Franklin Press Conference

Coordinators Press Conference
Joe Moorhead

Charles Huff

Brent Pry

Players Session

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wild Dogs, DL

The Defensive Backs

Trace McSorley, QB

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


2016 Big Ten Football Media Day Coverage

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By Mark Brumbaugh

VIDEO: James Franklin Media Day Press Conference | Media Day Transcript | Photo Gallery

CHICAGO - The hype for the 2016 college football season went up another level as Coach James Franklin and seniors Brandon Bell, Brian Gaia, and Nyeem Wartman-White traveled to the Windy City to represent Penn State for the 2016 Big Ten Media Day inside the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in downtown Chicago Monday.

The annual event includes the entire league's head coaches and three student-athletes from each member institutuion. Franklin and the trio of players participated in a wide range of activities with local and national media throughout the day. Take a look through highlights from the whirlwind day.

7:30 a.m. - Wheels up!

The day started with a smooth flight to Chicago in the morning.

9:00 a.m. - We're here.

After checking into the Hyatt, the first task for Nyeem was to capture a Pokemon in the elevator on the way down to breakfast.

10:00 a.m. - The interviews begin!

From radio and TV to print and the web, the Nittany Lions began talking with journalists across the spectrum. The morning focused more on Coach Franklin. He began his day with BTN, first visiting with The Journey and then BTN.

Wartman-White visited with a familiar face, talking with the Centre Daily Times' Jourdan Rodrigue.

Coach Franklin hit the airwaves joining Sirius XM College Sports Nation, talking with Greg McElroy and Taylor Zarzour.

Franklin then returned to the cameras meeting with the likes of CBS and ESPN.

12:45 p.m. - Franklin meets with the media.

After lunch, Coach Franklin held a formal press conference.

Notable remarks:

On starting the season:
"There's an excitement for the season. All the hard work and preparation that they've put in, there's an anticipation and there's a confidence right now. There's a confidence with our guys I think probably similar feeling all over the country but everything that we've been through and the challenges that we've been through over the last couple of years, I feel great about our locker room right now."

"I feel great about our team and the commitment and the work ethic and the leadership we've had. Obviously our first year being back to the 85 scholarships which is significant. I've spent the last couple of months going back and changing all of our practice schedules and everything that we're doing in terms of reps, the amount of time that we're out at practice, increasing the reps that we're having at practice because we had modified all those in the past. Reducing those numbers, getting those numbers back up."

Full remarks

1:15 p.m. - TV Hour

The three student-athletes saw their day get hectic in the afternoon starting with "TV hour". The trio bounced between the likes of BTN, ESPN, CBS and FOX. Questions ranged from the serious to the humorous.

Brandon Bell started with The Journey, where he discussed what it meant to be a senior, to be a linebacker at Penn State and how LaVar Arrington enlightened him on what it means to wear #11 at Penn State.

Bell wasn't the only one to discuss a legdary Lion of the past.

In response to some more fun questions, Brian Gaia brought up his Stone Cold Steve Austin costume from past Halloweens, which led to a Macho Man Randy Savage impersonation for College GameDay.

2:20 p.m. - Camera Time

The trio had fun with the cameras for the BTN photoshoot. They boldly claimed that they made the best GIF ever, so be on the lookout for that.

3:15 p.m. - Podium Session

The most intense grilling came at the end of the day, as for nearly one hour, Coach Franklin, Bell, Gaia and Wartman-White commanded podiums as they faced a media "scrum." Coach and players conveyed their excitement for the season and their confidence in this year's team.

Coach Franklin and players wrapped up the session by joining Dave Revsine and company live on BTN.

Day 1 Wrap-Up

It was a busy day for all four, but there is more to come Tuesday. They will partake in assorted interviews Tuesday morning and then participate in the 45th Annual Big Ten Football Kickoff Luncheon. Beginning at 10 a.m., every Big Ten head coach will be available for an autograph session while Brian Gaia will be among those interviewed on the main stage. A photo session featuring the coaches and players will take place at approximately 10:45 a.m. After lunch, the Lions will return to Happy Valley.

Day 2
The highlights of the final day of the 2016 Big Ten Football Media Days included the Fan Session and 45th annual kickoff luncheon. Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour also met with the media. Barbour touched on a wide variety of topics including football scheduling, Beaver Stadium renovations, alcohol sales and the Blue-White game.

The fan session involved coach Franklin signing autographs and Brian Gaia joining BTN's Mike Hall and other Big Ten offensive linemen for an on-stage interview.

After the fan session concluded, it was time for the luncheon, hosted by ESPN's Joe Tessitore and Joey Galloway. Among the many speakers were Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney.

Tessitore and Galloway interviewed the coaches on stage in groups. Franklin joined Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald and Indiana's Kevin Wilson to talk about the upcoming season.
The Nittany Lion contingent then returned to Happy Valley with preseason camp on the horizon.


By Tony Mancuso
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Growing up in California, redshirt sophomore Koa Farmer probably could not have envisioned the type of experience he has already attained at Penn State.

He signed a letter of intent to attend the University Park campus in February 2014 with aspirations of being a forensic science major, in addition to playing football for a program at the highest level.

"I've always been interested in this type of work," Farmer said. "When I was growing up, watching shows like Criminal Minds, CSI, Law and Order, I just loved watching those shows. I didn't see myself majoring in something that wasn't hands on like this."

Through his first few classes pertaining to forensic science in Happy Valley, Farmer struck a relationship with a professor in a quest to learn more about the profession. Forensic Science professor Dr. Jenifer Smith's influence solidified Farmer's belief that he wanted to pursue a career in the business.

Dr. Smith was then named to lead the Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) in Washington, D.C., last summer. Although she left Penn State, Farmer remained in contact with to lay the groundwork for an opportunity to gain firsthand experience this summer.

Farmer is taking courses, working out with his teammates and then traveling to Washington, D.C. for a rotational internship program with several organizations, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS) and Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPD).

"I'm so grateful that I had to chance to meet her at Penn State," said Farmer. "She has been a huge influence on me. The experience I'm getting this summer is amazing."

Now focusing on a double major in criminology and sociology, Farmer travels to Virginia each Friday, staying at the family home of teammate Trace McSorley in Ashburn, Va., and then commuting into D.C.

"I'm using this as a chance to figure out what I want to do," said Farmer. "That's why this has been so great being able to get some experience with so many different agencies. You can say you want to do one thing, but you just don't know until you experience it. It has been awesome this summer."

While shadowing the forensics department, Farmer helped gather fingerprints on a vehicle used in a crime and traveled to a crime scene to help gather evidence.

"It was like being in a movie. Here I was on a crime scene with this staff wearing a bullet proof vest and helping as they collected evidence and took photos of the crime scene," said Farmer.

Farmer called his Friday with the Metropolitan Police one of the most exciting days of his life.

"I was paired with the narcotics department with three other people in a car," said Farmer. "We were basically undercover while basically doing a stakeout. I'm sitting in the car when everyone moves in, and I just see everything happening as the sergeants move in."

From growth on the field as a football player to developing a career path, Farmer has already done his part in maximizing his opportunity as football student-athlete in his time at Penn State.

"The best thing for me was to come to Penn State," said Farmer. "All of the puzzle pieces are fitting. I get to play football. I get to attend a great school. I get to meet people and start my network. If I didn't come here, I would have never had the chance to meet someone like the head of the forensics department in Washington, D.C."

Farmer will continue the rotational program in Washington until the team returns to the practice field for training camp in early August.

VIDEO: 2016 Lift For Life Player Interviews

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The 2016 Penn State Uplifting Athletes Lift For Life took place on Saturday (July 16) at the Penn State Lacrosse Field. The offense topped the defense, 35-27, with a late rally during Saturday's event. Here is what some of the players had to say about the event and its impact on the rare disease community.

Video: Player Interviews | Photo Gallery

By Mark Brumbaugh

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Nittany Lion offense retained its Lift for Life title as the unit once again rallied in the tug-of-war to claim the 14th annual head-to-head, strength and conditioning competition. The event benefitted cancer research and the rare disease community through Penn State's chapter of Uplifting Athletes.

With donation figures still to be finalized, the 2016 Uplifting Athletes fundraising efforts have lifted the 14-year total well above the $1 million mark. Fans can still make a donation to the Penn State Chapter and Lift for Life by visiting the Penn State Chapter fundraising site at or by sending a donation to PJ Mullen, Director of Player Development and Community Relations at 201 Lasch Football Building, University Park, PA 16802.

"It's crazy to think what started in a college dorm room with a couple guys has grown into what you see today and what it is nationwide, with more than 30 schools across the country holding similar events," said co-founder and Executive Director for Uplifting Athletes Scott Shirley.

The offense prevailed over the defense by a final score of 35-27 at the Penn State Lacrosse Field on a sun-splashed Saturday afternoon. A crowd of over 2,500 fans cheered on the Nittany Lions rewarding top performances and strong efforts with cheers and applause. The upperclassmen participated in the head-to-head competition pitting the offense against the defense.

Fun was had for all as more than 100 participated in a Lift for Life Kids Clinic at the south end of the turf, which was run by the true freshmen simultaneously with the head-to-head competition.

"One of the reasons I came to Penn State was because all of the community relations the team has done," junior defensive end and Uplifting Athletes President Garrett Sickles said.

"Just to have this opportunity and being in the Penn State community and seeing the effect we have on everything, especially this benefit definitely feels good."

The exhibition featured seven rotations of one-on-one battles through six events before the tug of war. The event started with the 225-pound bench press and continued with the new 160-pound overhead press. The 480-pound "farmer" hold, obstacle course relay, tire flip and sled push/pull relay rounded out the slate. The final tally was based on head-to-head victories in each individual rep (one point each) and the tug of war competition (five points each).

The team had little difficulty getting up for the July intra-squad competition.

"It's always offense versus defense competition," said Sickels with a smile. "Every time they can be in front of an audience and cut t-shirts and make them look like tank-tops, everyone is all about it. It's not hard to motivate them."

The bench press featured a three-way tie for most individual reps as, redshirt freshman offensive lineman Steven Gonzalez, junior defensive tackle Parker Cothren and sophomore defensive end Colin Castagna all put up 28.

The "farmer" hold may have featured the least action of the events, but it brought out the enthusiasm and competitive spirit of the team the most. Holding 240 pounds in each hand, the object was to simply hang on longer than your opponent in the test of physical and mental strength.

The slightest shake or sign of weakness was pounced upon by the opposition right from the start, as aptly named junior safety Koa Farmer outlasted sophomore running back Saquon Barkley with help from some trash talk (in good fun) from his defensive teammates. Later, senior offensive lineman Derek Dowrey used a stone-faced glare to prevail by getting his opponent laughing before dropping the weights.

Barkley got his redemption later in the obstacle course relay, flipping an early deficit so quickly he coasted backwards over the finish line.

The defense held a narrow two-point lead after the first six events, but the offense prevailed in a back-and-forth battle in the tug of war. The offensive line grinded out a victory in the opening match, but the linebackers pulled the tight ends and running backs over the center line in mere seconds. A rematch was declared, but the linebackers still prevailed. The wide receivers edged the defensive backs and then the offensive freshmen clinched the victory after a promising start for the defensive freshmen was spoiled when they fell down.

The Nittany Lion offense won by one point with a tug of war victory at last year's event.

Following the workout, the Nittany Lions met with their loyal fans and signed autographs.

The 14th Lift for Life was again a tremendous success and fundraiser for rare diseases, largely thanks to countless hours of preparation from the Uplifting Athletes group led by Sickels. Although a lot has changed during the events' history, there has been at least one constant.

"The principles are the same, using the power of sport to impact the community around you," said Shirley.