Three Key Takeaways from Penn State Football’s Practice

posted August 27, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by Emma Holtz

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa -— Penn State football took to Beaver Stadium under the lights on Wednesday. Athletes and coaching personnel spread across the yard lines to focus on key areas of the game in a variety of drills.

Here are three takeaways from practice that are important to note ahead of the regular season kicking off on Saturday, Sept. 4 at 12 p.m.

Preparation, no matter how small, is key

Especially in football, being prepared for minor aspects of an upcoming game are crucial to a team’s mindset. Head Coach James Franklin touched upon this regarding the team’s scrimmage scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 28:

“We’ll scrimmage on Saturday at the exact time that we’ll play at Wisconsin to get ready for that because that’s going to be an early game based on our guys’ body clocks,” Franklin said.

The blue and white’s first game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison,Wisconsin, operates in Central Standard Time compared to Eastern Standard Time in State College, Pennsylvania.

Simulating a game-day experience provides an opportunity to acclimate the athletes to the high level of adrenaline and nerves experienced every game day. Subtle details such as time changes and travel times can make an impact on performance.

Repetition and scrimmaging are fundamental teaching tools

Penn State emphasized reps as a way to hone athletes’ field instincts. Franklin recognized scrimmage reps as a necessary tool in practice to adapt athletes to the highly electric atmosphere of college football. However, scrimmages mimic a situation in a controlled way.

“Until they get into a game, it’s a different story,” Franklin said.

In addition, students will be allowed to roar loud and proud in the stands once again. Senior safety Jaquan Brisker acknowledged the anticipation of having fans flock to Beaver Stadium after a 2020 season of empty stands and fake crowd noise pumped through the stereo.

“It’s good to have noise,” Brisker said. “But at the same time, you have to focus on what the offense is doing.”

Penn State ranks No. 2 in 247Sports’ top-10 list of college football stadium atmospheres. It remains to be seen just how impactful having fans return in 2021 will be.

Mentoring the next generation is a top priority

The class of 2025 received recognition from multiple Nittany Lions. In particular, freshman safety Jaylen Reed has made an impression throughout camp and in practices.

“Jaylen Reed is a guy we’ve been talking about here lately,” Franklin said about the Detroit, Michigan native.

During his time at Martin Luther King High School, Reed was a 2019 All-State selection and team captain. He recorded eight forced fumbles, one interception and 119 tackles according to Penn State Athletics.

When asked about Reed, Brisker mentioned how he became a mentor to Reed during his transition into a high-profile college football program.

On the offense side of the ball, expectations are high for the Nittany Lions’ tight end core. Franklin spoke highly about the young talent coming back to the position for the blue and white.

“It’s the best tight end group I’ve ever been around in 26 years or 25 years of college football,” Franklin said.

The tight end trio for the Nittany Lions includes athletes from the class of 2024 and class of 2025 in redshirt sophomore Brenton Strange, sophomore Theo Johnson and redshirt freshman Tyler Warren.

Strange and Johnson had a combined 21 receptions for 220 yards during the 2020 season. Warren seeks more opportunities to join the offense on the field this upcoming season after starting two games in 2020. In other words, the tight end triad is young and hungry.

The 2021 football roster is eager to harvest the fruits of its labor from spring 2021, which should bolster confidence with the Nittany Lion faithful.


Emma Holtz is a sophomore majoring in public relations. To contact her, email exh5337@psu.edu.