PRESSING QUESTIONS: Bowl Bound

Get answers to questions being asked as Penn State deals with finals and bowl prep. Included are personnel and schedule updates.

As Penn State prepares for the Outback Bowl, there are several questions surrounding the squad. Here are the answers.

What is the schedule like for Penn State right now?

"It's a trimmed schedule right now with Friday and Saturday practices last week," one observer explained. The team has 15 allotted practice session to prepare for the bowl game.

The Lions practiced the past two Fridays and Saturdays and are off this week for finals.

During the week the team still has run and lifting sessions scheduled to "keep in shape."

Joe Paterno initially said that the Lions would spend their entire time in Florida at the official team hotel in Tampa.

But that plan has now changed, as Penn State was able to work out a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies to use their training facilities in Clearwater for a week or so. The team is scheduled to arrive in Clearwater this weekend.

Most players will head home for a day or so after finals before flying from wherever they may live to Tampa. Each player is given a stipend to pay for his flight to Florida.

The squad will move to the official team hotel in Tampa Dec. 26.

What was the squad's reaction to playing Florida in the Outback?

The consensus is that the players are excited to face Florida for "another SEC test." As one observer said, "Alabama left a bad taste for the guys. OK, the Gators are not up to the level of the Tide this year, but being able to get a win over the home team to close out the season would be sweet."

This is the fourth bowl in six years where Penn State will face a team located in the same state as the bowl. Previously PSU faced Florida State in the Orange Bowl, Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl and USC in the Rose Bowl.

"The guys were joking about this home-team advantage, saying it's time for a bowl in Philly or Pittsburgh," one observer said.

What has the focus of practice been?

The practices have been "pretty light" since the coaches will tend to ease the squad into things and the put the real focus on the playbook and any personnel or scheme changes when they are in Florida.

The team took in extra fundamental work on snaps and blocks, tackling and some basic drill six and 1v1 work.

The squad has been inside Holuba Hall for the sessions which is tradition this time of year.

The first two practices this month saw the coaches focus on working with younger players.

The Lions have not spent a lot of time preparing specifically for Florida yet. That will start with the workouts in Clearwater.

What is the quarterback situation?

As Paterno said last week, "Matt is our quarterback." Matt McGloin continues to see the bulk of first-team snaps with a limited set going to Rob Bolden, who has remained as the backup passer.

"Barring an unforeseen issue like an injury, the coaches are going to stick with McGloin. There's no reason to change things up at this late stage," according to one observer.

What is Bolden's frame of mind?

"He's working; pushing hard and knows he could easily be called upon," one observer said. "He's disappointed, but I think it pushing him — driving him to up him play. I don't get that he's bitter."

Bolden has been taking in extra passing work with receivers like Derek Moye and Justin Brown and putting in extra film time, which "has not gone unnoticed."

Sidenotes

  • Penn State held it's Senior Banquet Dec. 5. Curt Warner spoke and gave an "awesome speech on what Penn State did for him."

  • One player who was "giddy" to meet Warner was running back Silas Redd. "He was so excited to meet a legend."

  • The buzz growing around the program is about the Outback "swag bag" the players will get, including a $150 Best Buy gift card, a Fossil watch, a Jostens ring and $25 Outback Steakhouse gift card.

    -30-


Fight On State Top Stories