Penn State kicks two players off team; Ricky Rahne’s first game as OC will be from box at Fiesta Bowl
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Two gone from Penn State roster
Manny Bowen missed the last month of the regular season for an unspecified reason. Now, Bowen is officially a former Penn State football player.
Bowen and wide receiver Irvin Charles were kicked off the Penn State team ahead of the Fiesta Bowl against Washington, write Andrew Rubin and Jack Hirsh of the Daily Collegian.
Charles had a limited impact in 2017, catching one pass for four yards. Bowen started the first nine games of the season on the Nittany Lions’ defense, and missed the Rose Bowl last season due to a violation of team rules as well.
Pennlive’s Bob Flounders takes a look at the linebacker depth for Penn State headed into 2018, without Bowen in the mix.
Deja vu to you, too
When the Nittany Lions and Huskies hook up in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, it will be a return to the past of sorts.
As Fox Sports points out, each program pulled off one of the biggest wins in their respective histories at the Fiesta Bowl. Penn State won its second national title against Miami in 1987 (when the game was in Tempe), and Washington head coach Chris Petersen returns to the site of Boise State’s incredible upset of Oklahoma in 2007.
Coach in a box
Ricky Rahne took over as offensive coordinator for the departed Joe Moorhead, but he will not switch up his routine.
Rahne coached from the press box all season long and as Mark Brennan from Fight On State writes, the new offensive coordinator will do the same against Washington.
While Moorhead worked from the sideline, he did not signal in the plays — that job went to backup QBs. Rahne will have headset communications with them, as well as [coach James] Franklin, receivers coach Josh Gattis, offensive line coach Matt Limegrover and new tight ends coach Tyler Bowen.
Even when Moorhead was on the sideline, the play call still came in from one of the backup quarterbacks.
Washington will break in a new offensive play-caller of its own on Saturday, as wide receivers coach Matt Lubick is taking over for Jonathan Smith, who left to become the head coach at Oregon State.
Adam Jude of the Seattle Times writes that Lubick will rely on a heavy influence from Huskies quarterback Jake Browning.
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We love the ’80s
Penn State has a rich history in the Fiesta Bowl, and not just the 1987 national title victory. The Nittany Lions also beat USC in January 1982 and Ohio State in December 1980 in the desert.
Harrisburg NBC Affiliate WGAL 8 revisited the win against the Buckeyes to cap a 1980 season in which Penn State finished 10-2. But the 31-19 bowl win also set the stage for what was to come.
Two key members of that 1980 team? Quarterback Todd Blackledge and running back Curt Warner, who were essential to the Nittany Lions’ victory against Georgia for the program’s first national title two seasons later.
Life in the desert
It’s starting to hit some of the Penn State players that this will be their final week of practice together.
Frank Bodani of the York Daily Record says this group of Nittany Lions is savoring the time spent together in the week leading up to the Fiesta Bowl.
The Nittany Lions were ripping through their second workout in preparation for Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl against Washington. A beginning and end of sorts in about the best place possible.
They were surrounded by mountains and desert scrub, cacti and Russian olive trees and 70-degree sun.
Considering pockets of the Northeast have seen in excess of 54 inches of snow since Christmas Eve, Russian olive trees don’t sound all that bad this time of year.
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