Nittany Notes: Rattlin' Cages

It's Lift For Life week and "there's no better way to introduce the freshman to Penn State football than [Lift For Life]," on observer told us. Get an update on the event, who is expected to make an appearance, how the freshmen are reacting, a quick update on Joe Paterno and more.

With the annual Lift for Life event set for this Friday, the players are trying to rest as much as possible.

LFL, which is run by Penn State's chapter of Uplifting Athletes, puts the Nittany Lions through a grueling set of strength and conditioning drills. The event raises money to help in the fight against kidney cancer.

The actions kicks off Friday at 2 p.m. at Holuba Hall on campus, and fans are welcome to attend for a small donation.

"The guys still have to work out, but a lot of them are trying to conserve their energy and have been shifting their diets a bit," an observer said. "They are resting, too. This [past] weekend a lot of the players were trying to take it easy to conserve energy and save themselves for the event."

There's a buzz about Lift For Life every year, but the loudest rumbles seem to be coming from the Class of 2008 freshmen. "A lot of [the freshmen] are asking about what it's like," an observer said. "The upperclassmen have been talking about it, telling them to 'bring their A game' and 'be prepared' — that has them a bit concerned. A few were on [Fight On State] last week reading about the event and looking at pictures — they are trying to figure what's in store for them."

The photos seemed to focus for the freshmen. "Yeah, I think they are worried ," one observer said. "A few of the upperclassmen have rattled their cages a bit. But it's good that they come in focused."

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Here are some other news and notes from around the program:

  • Joe Paterno gave the coaching crew an early dismissal on Thursday afternoon and took advantage of the holiday to get a jump on an extended break himself. Paterno is "at the Jersey Shore" this week at the family vacation home in Avalon.

  • Several former players are expected to be in town for the Lift For Life event and "a few usually arrive a few days early to meet and workout with the team." As we reported last week Tamba Hali and Anthony Adams were in to work out with the linemen. Among the former players expected to be in Happy Valley are Matt Rice, Jay Alford and Levi Brown, among others.

  • Adams and Hali "really worked the [defensive] linemen," as one observer explained. "They came in and fired the guys up." They worked on some technique with Maurice Evans, Josh Gaines, Devon Still, Aaron Maybin, Abe Koroma, Ollie Ogbu and Jared Odrick. "The defensive line alums are very close and they really want to help perpetuate that success - for the line and [Larry Johnson].

  • Former players are expected to have their annual "Arts Fest gathering" this weekend, which "is an opportunity for the guys to get together and catch up — and have a little fun." The party is usually held in State College on Saturday of Arts Fest weekend but — for obvious reasons — the exact time and location are kept secret from the public.

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