Nittany Lions Open Training Camp on Monday
Aug. 5, 2012
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State football team resumes preparations for its 126th season on Monday, August 6 when it hits the practice field for the start of training camp. Led by first-year head coach Bill O'Brien, 30 letterwinners return for the Nittany Lions, who open the campaign Sept. 1 vs. Ohio at Beaver Stadium in a 12 p.m. kick.
The Bobcats are the pre-season favorites to win the Mid-American Conference and are the first of 10 Penn State opponents this year who played in a bowl game last season, with five of the contests in Beaver Stadium and five on the road. Wisconsin, Ohio State, Northwestern and Temple are the other 2011 bowl teams the Nittany Lions will host this fall.
Nineteen players with starting experience return for the Nittany Lions. O'Brien and the coaching staff will schedule the opening week of the 29 allotted practices around the last five days of classes and final exams for Penn State's second summer academic session. Final exams are Aug. 10 and two-a-days begin Aug. 11, which is the first day the team can practice in full pads.
A maximum of 105 players at NCAA colleges and universities are permitted to participate in football training camp. Additional players can begin practice with the team on the first day of classes for the fall semester (August 27 at Penn State).
"I cannot wait to get started on Monday," O'Brien stated. "We have a fantastic group of players who have bonded together during some difficult times and will be a tough, smart football team. I really like the chemistry of the players and our staff and the open lines of communication. The players have had a great summer and they will be challenged during training camp in order to be ready for Ohio on September 1."
The Penn State defense returns 17 letterwinners and will be led by a trio of seniors who are pre-season candidates for Big Ten and national honors. Senior outside linebacker Gerald Hodges (Paulsboro, N.J.) was selected by Lindy's as a pre-season first-team All-American and was a 2011 first-team All-Big Ten honoree. Hodges, who led Penn State with 106 tackles last year, has been named to 2012 watch lists for Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award and Rotary Lombardi Award.
Senior defensive tackle Jordan Hill (Steelton) has been named a candidate for the 2012 Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award after leading the defensive line last year with 59 tackles, including eight tackles for loss. A 2011 pre-season first-team All-Big Ten choice, senior linebacker Michael Mauti (Mandeville, La.) joins Hodges on the Butkus Award watch list. Mauti is returning to the field after missing the final nine games last year with a knee injury.
Joining Hill and Hodges as returning defensive starters are junior middle linebacker Glenn Carson (Manahawkin, N.J.) and senior defensive end Sean Stanley (Rockville, Md.). Carson started every game last season. Senior defensive end Pete Massaro (Newtown Square) is another former starter who is returning to the field after missing last year with a knee injury. Senior cornerback Stephon Morris (Greenbelt, Md.) has 13 career starts and will lead a secondary that graduated four seniors. Junior safety Malcolm Willis (Marbury, Md.) also has seen extensive action in the secondary.
The Nittany Lion offense returns 13 letterwinners, including nine players with starting experience. Quarterback Matt McGloin (Scranton) and center Matt Stankiewitch (Orwigsburg) are seniors who were 2011 starters. McGloin has 10 career starts and completed 54.1 percent of his passes (125-of-231) for 1,571 yards and eight touchdowns, last season, with five interceptions. McGloin has seven career 200-yard passing games, good for No. 10 on the Penn State list.
A candidate for the 2012 Rimington Trophy, Stankiewitch is the lone returning starter from an offensive line that led the Big Ten in fewest sacks allowed last year (14 in 13 games). Junior guard John Urschel (Williamsville, N.Y.) is a probable starter and CoSIDA Academic All-America candidate, having graduated in three years last May with a 4.0 grade-point average.
Four lettermen return at receiver, including juniors Shawney Kersey (Woodbury, N.J.) and Brandon Moseby-Felder (Fort Washington, Md.) and sophomore Allen Robinson (Southfield, Mich.). Senior running backs Derek Day (Bellefonte) and Michael Zordich (Youngstown, Ohio) and senior tackle Mike Farrell (Pittsburgh) also are among the returning letterwinners on offense. The offense also will welcome the return of junior tight end Garry Gilliam (Carlisle), who missed last season with a knee injury.
Penn State Football Eve will launch the season on Friday, Aug. 31 at 7:00 p.m. in Beaver Stadium, with gates opening at 6:30 p.m. Admission and parking are free for the festive event that kicks off a big Penn State sports weekend, with the football season opener the following day at 12 p.m. Also on Aug. 31, the men's soccer team hosts Duquesne at 8:00 p.m. at Jeffrey Field and the women's volleyball team faces perennial power Stanford at 8:00 p.m. in the Nike Big Four Tournament at Rec Hall.
O'Brien's Lions also will host Navy (Sept. 15, 3:30 p.m.), Temple (Sept. 22, TBA), Northwestern (Oct. 6, 12 p.m.-Homecoming), Ohio State (Oct. 27, 6 p.m.), Indiana (Nov. 17, TBA) and Wisconsin (Nov. 24, TBA-Senior Day) this season.
Penn State football season and single tickets are available. Ticket purchases and information is available at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets or fans can call Penn State athletics Customer Relations at 1-800-NITTANY (648-8269) weekdays from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Pre-paid single game parking passes for the general parking lots are also available at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets. The pricing of 2012 Penn State football season tickets and accompanying donation levels is the same as in 2011.
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