Lions Lighten The Mood With Return Auditions

To ease the grind of two-a-days, Penn State coach James Franklin tried some interesting punt return men at the end of a recent practice. Did any of them catch on?

Penn State is in the middle two-a-days this week, a time when the grind of preseason camp can start to wear on players and coaches. So head man James Franklin decided to lighten the mood at the end of Wednesday morning’s workout.

He had some unique characters fielding punts — four of them, in all. At least one of them had to actually catch the kicked ball to prevent the entire team from running.

The return men were:

Chasz Wright, aka “Big Bacon.” The offensive tackle stands 6-foot-7, 348 pounds.

• Immanuel Iyke (see photo below). The walk-on defensive lineman is so new to the team that the athletic communications office is still waiting to be told his official height and weight. But it is safe to say ol’ No. 96 is significantly larger than you’re typical punt return man.

Tim Banks. This appeared to be the ringer. The Nittany Lions’ first-year safeties coach player cornerback at Central Michigan back in the day.

• Jemal Griffin. Penn State’s chief of staff (aka Franklin’s right-hand man). The program’s lead administrator actually took the field in loafers, khakis, a polo shirt and watch.

How did it go? Well, let’s just say it was a lot of fun.

Check out the video above for details.

Harvey Levine/FOS


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