Around the Horn at LFL

Penn State's annual Lift For Life Challenge, which was held July 15 this year, is staged to help raise money and awareness for the fight against kidney cancer. It also gives the media a chance to get up to speed with the summer progress of a host of Nittany Lions. Scott Cole balanced both topics in his thorough report, which is part of our continuing coverage of the event.

DE Tamba Hali

FOS: Was there any thought in your mind to not participate today because, as a senior starter, you didn't want to take any chances of getting hurt?

Hali: It's for the team. We raise a lot of money for the cause, so every year that you come out and do it, you get enthusiastic about doing it because you come out here and show much you've worked in the weight room.

FOS: Do your strength and conditioning workouts prepare you for this or is it just beyond anything you can prepare for?

Hali: If you're not working out, there's no way you're going to go through this. Last year, I threw up when I went through it. But staying here all summer and just working out...we do the same machines, but it's just very intensive when we get in here. But you do get prepared through the conditioning and the lifting.

FOS VIDEO: Tamba Hali in action.

FOS: Is any one event harder than the others or is it just the cumulative effect of the whole thing?

Hali: Well, some things are easier than others. Some things are much harder. For guys like [Hali, Lavon Chisley, BranDon Snow and Tim Shaw], doing pull-ups is harder but it's easier for the smaller guys. On the bench might be a little bit easier, but I still think it's harder for me.

FOS: This is kind of like the light at the end of the tunnel. You can see preseason camp just over the horizon. What's your feeling going into preseason camp?

Hali: We're very excited right now. We're really happy with the work that the freshmen guys who came in have done. This is the first time ever we've had a lot of freshmen up so early during the summer so they can get prepared. Some of them are going to play.

FOS: You know who's going to be starting on the defensive line. What about the guys behind you? Do you feel pretty comfortable with the guys who are going to come in and give you a breather?

Hali: I mean, with our defensive linemen, everybody has to play. Feeling comfortable about it is more about how hard they work, if they feel comfortable playing. Some of the guys, they won't do what they have to do. Some of the guys aren't focused and won't do what they have to do.

It all comes down to how well you do in the conditioning and the lifting so that when the preseason comes, you'll be able to work through the work that the coaches will put us through. So, we have to see how hard the guys behind us are going to work through the preseason.

RB Rodney Kinlaw

FOS: Obviously, Lift For Life is a difficult event but worthwhile given the cause, right?

Kinlaw: It's all about the cause. We have fun doing it even though it's hard.

FOS: It looked like you had really prepared well for Lift For Life. Your conditioning looked like it held up all day.

Kinlaw: Yeah, it was pretty good.

FOS: What about the upcoming season? Are you looking to get more carries? Are you still in the running back mix?

Kinlaw: Yes, I'm just going to go into camp and be the best I can be and hopefully be like I was when I first came here.

FOS: Are you expecting to return kicks again this year?

Kinlaw: I hope so. I think I did pretty well last year. I'm a lot more experienced now, so I hope to have a lot more long runs.

RB Tony Hunt

FOS: How are you feeling after finishing the competition?

Hunt: It's pretty tiring. It's pretty tough, but it's kind of fun. You get to watch how everybody does. You've got your teammates with you, so it's pretty fun.

FOS: And it's for a good cause obviously.

Hunt: Yeah the cause helps out a lot to keep you motivated.

FOS: What about your summer workouts? How have those gone? Are you ready to go into camp and fight for the starting tailback spot?

Hunt: Yeah, we're working out very hard getting ready for preseason camp. Everybody should be ready with the tough workouts we're doing.

FOS: What about the dynamic between you, Austin Scott and Rodney? Are you expecting one guy to be the man or running back by committee or don't you have any idea yet?

Hunt: We don't have any idea yet. We just work and go out and compete and whatever happens…

FOS: But you're all ready to go though?

Hunt: Yeah, we're all ready to go.

WR Mark Rubin

FOS: It seems like the entire team is behind this event and the cause. What are your thoughts about competing here for a good cause?

Rubin: I'm just happy to be a part of it. Last year, I was a freshman coming in, so I got up here after they already did the event. I was saddened that I couldn't take part in it. It's just a great event you know?

Come out and do it for the fans and work together. Get a group of teammates going and just push for each other because that's what it's going to be like during the season. I mean, it's going to be tough. You're going to be tired. You just have to keep pushing, keep working and do your best every single day.

FOS: Do you feel like you really accomplished something by finishing this since it's your first time going through it?

Rubin: Yeah, it was fun. It was definitely a great experience. I look forward to doing it for the next two or three years.

FOS: Let's look ahead to the season. You've got a very different wide receiver corps than you did last year, a lot more speed with the new guys coming in. How has everyone looked during summer workouts?

Rubin: I'm just here for Lift For Life. You'll all see what happens. We've got a great group of young guys who are working hard every practice. We'll definitely have a lot of effort and a lot of success come this season.

OL Levi Brown

Pat Boland: How do you feel?

Brown: Tired. It seemed a lot harder than last year. I don't know what it was. I got tired after about 30 minutes.

FOS: You do most of these events as part of your summer workouts, although not in rapid succession. Does that prepare you to be able to do this?

Brown: Nothing can prepare you for this. We do everything except for the tire flip, but nothing can prepare you for how quick and how much energy you have to put into each station.

FOS VIDEO: Levi Brown in action.

Pat Boland: You guys are killing yourselves day in and day out with conditioning. How much conditioning are you doing this summer? What goes into getting ready for the season?

Brown: This year has been a lot different. The coaches have stepped up. Everybody's been pushing us harder. We've been running more than we ever have before. I don't even know how to explain it. It's been so tough. You've just got to give it all you can.

Pat Boland: This is kind of like a benchmark in the summer. You build up to Lift For Life, and then from here on out, you're just focusing on the season. How eager are you to get into camp and strap on the pads?

Brown: I've got to say, this summer's been so tough, I'm looking forward to camp. I don't know what happened this summer, but I'm ready for camp to start. I'm ready for the season to get going.

FOS: The offensive line has taken some heat from the media and the fans in recent years. What does the line have to do better to be able to impose your will on defenses?

Brown: Pretty much, we just have to be more consistent, be a little tougher when the going gets tough. We've been slacking up a little bit, not going to our assignments like we're supposed to be. We need to learn the plays better and just focus on taking off and hitting people in the mouth.


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