Will Penn State's New Turf Cut It For Saturday's Game vs. Illinois?

Nittany Lion coach James Franklin addresses the Beaver Stadium re-sod job that has taken place over the last two weeks.

When the late Joe Paterno would be asked when he intended to retire as head football coach at Penn State, he’d often use a specific example to make the point that he would not know what to do with himself without coaching.

“What am I gonna do, mow my lawn?” he’d say (or some such thing). Indeed, it was difficult to imagine a Brooklyn native who went to Brown and then immersed himself in college football coaching ever having done that particular chore.

If and when he is asked about retirement, current Nittany Lion coach James Franklin won’t be able to use the same excuse. At his weekly press conference Tuesday, Franklin reported that he actually has a fairly extensive landscaping background — included taking down trees and cutting grass — dating back to work he did in the summers growing up.

Despite that background, Franklin admitted he had no say in the decision to re-sod Beaver Stadium in advance of this week’s home game against Illinois.

Franklin explained that after PSU played five straight home games — four of them in rain — earlier in the season, the field became soft. With road games the last two weeks, the university’s turf management staff decided to re-sod the field.

So the old grass was skimmed off and replaced with new sod in a project that began Oct. 13. Despite what seems to be a quick turnaround before the Illini come calling, Franklin said he has no concerns about the readiness of the field.

“They felt like it needed to be done and obviously they felt like the turnaround and the amount of time was enough,” Franklin said. “So I have all the faith in the world that the field will be in great shape come Saturday.”

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