Unlike regular-season road trips, the Nittany Lions do not fly en masse via chartered aircraft to bowl games, but rather book their own travel, usually from airports close to their hometowns. They are reimbursed for their travel costs.
So throughout the day Monday, Penn State players were showing up at the Dallas airports via any number of airlines and from any number of cities.
A late-morning flight from United Airlines hub Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., for instance, brought such PSU players as linebacker Nate Stupar and receiver Alex Kenney (both from State College), and defensive tackle DaQuan Jones and offensive guard John Urschel (both from Upstate New York), to name a few.
The Dec. 26 travel date marked a change of pace for the Lions. In previous years, the entire team would arrive at the bowl site during the week before Christmas. For fifth-year seniors like Stupar, this was their first chance to spend the holiday with family since arriving on campus.
It was awesome having time at home, Stupar said while waiting to pick up his bags at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport. Being with my family and my girlfriend -- it was our first Christmas together -- it was great to relax and not always have football on your mind. You could think about the real meaning of Christmas.
In the meantime, Penn State coaches and support staff did fly via charter Monday, leaving University Park Airport in the morning and arriving in Dallas around noon. That group showed at the team hotel (the Hyatt Regency in downtown Dallas) at about 12:30 p.m.
As of this writing, the TicketCity Bowl reps had yet to post a rundown of media opportunities for the week. However, Penn State has put out its schedule for the press, and there will be some form of Nittany Lion coach or player availability every day.
The Penn Staters were greeted with weather not much better than what most of them left in the Northeast. It was overcast and raining, with temperatures struggling to break 50 degrees. From here on out, though, the forecast is calling for no rain with high temperatures between the high 50s and mid 60s for most of the week.
The team will be practicing on the new turf field at Bishop Lynch High School. Here is the rundown of what's going on in Dallas this week.
Interim head coach Tom Bradley will be available to the media before Penn State's morning practice. The first 15-20 minutes of the practice will be open to photographers and videographers. This corresponds with Sunday of a typical game week.
Practice is closed. Select Nittany Lion players will be available for interviews early in the afternoon at the team hotel. Among the players scheduled to participate are Jack Crawford, Stephfon Green, Eric Latimore, D'Anton Lynn, Matt Stankewitch and Michael Zordich. This corresponds with Monday of a typical game week.
Practice is closed. Players and coaches will be available for interviews at the Team Welcome Party at Gilley's in the early evening. This corresponds with Tuesday of a typical game week.
Assistant coaches Galen Hall, Larry Johnson, Jay Paterno and Ron Vanderlinden will be available to the media before Penn State's morning practice. Selected players will be available, too. Among the Nittany Lions scheduled to participate are Quinn Barham, Justin Brown, Anthony Fera, Jordan Hill, Chaz Powell, Stupar and Joe Suhey. The first 15-20 minutes of practice will be open to photographers and videographers. This corresponds with Wednesday of a typical game week.
Practice is closed. However, select players will be available at Bishop Lynch after practice. Nittany Lions scheduled to participate are Gerald Hodges, Matt McGloin, Chima Okoli, Silas Redd, Devon Still and Nick Sukay. This corresponds with Thursday of a typical game week.
Sunday, Jan. 1
Walk-through practice at the Cotton Bowl is closed. However, selected players and coaches will be available after the walk-through. Scheduled to participate are Bradley, Drew Astorino and Derek Moye. There is a Penn State pep rally at the Cotton Bowl at 4:30 p.m. local time but there is no player or coach availability at the pep rally. This corresponds with Friday of a typical game week.
Monday, Jan. 2
Game day. Coaches and players are available to the media after the game. This corresponds with Saturday of a typical game week.
Tuesday, Jan. 3
There is NO season-wrap press conference scheduled for the morning after the bowl as has been the case at past bowls.