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This is your Penn State Wake-Up Call for Thursday, Oct. 6. Let’s get started.
‘Chaos’ in practice for Nittany Lions
In an attempt to get his team off to quicker starts in games, Penn State coach James Franklin has instituted what he calls “chaos periods” at the beginning of this week’s practices.
As he explained Tuesday:
“We go out on the field, and there is a block of time for it, but none of the coaches know what it is. So I have it scheduled ahead of time, whatever it may be. Whether it’s third down, ones vs. ones. Whether it’s the opening drive of the game. Whether it’s red zone. Whatever it may be.”
The Lions, 3-2 heading into Saturday’s homecoming matchup against 4-0 Maryland, have been outscored 92-54 in the first half of their games to date, while outscoring opponents 85-62 in second half.
Franklin told reporters after practice Wednesday that Tuesday’s chaos period — featuring plays the offense would run in an opening drive — went well, but Wednesday’s session was not as productive.
“Today we did a third-down period, which is a little difficult because the offense is running plays that are designed to go against Maryland, and our defense is obviously running different things. So that wasn’t as clean as I’d like it to be and I think there are some things we can do, and not run game-specific plays and kind of run all-purpose plays.”
He added that the idea is more to get the coaches used to making adjustments on the fly than getting the players moving quickly. The latter nonetheless seems to be the case.
As Penn State cornerback John Reid told reporters:
“It’s like, as soon as you’re done stretching, boom, we’re right into it. It’s simulating coming out for that first quarter. You’re getting out of warm-ups. … It’s boom — fast paced. You know our offense is fresh … they’re running tempo, so they’re gonna be quick, they’re gonna be fast. So it speeds your processing up. You’ve got to get warmed up fast. I think it’s been a good thing for us.”
The best Mahon
Pro Football Focus rated Lions left tackle Brendan Mahon the best in the nation at his position last Saturday, when Penn State outlasted Minnesota 29-26 in overtime.
Per Pro Football Focus:
Mahon simply didn’t lose in the run game on his way to the best game of his three-year career. He allowed one hit on his 49 attempts in pass protection.
Mahon, a 6-foot-4, 315-pound redshirt junior, made one of the key blocks on Saquon Barkley’s game-winning 25-yard touchdown run against the Gophers. He has played two other positions since arriving in 2013 from Randolph (N.J.) High School, starting 13 games at left guard and seven at right tackle before moving to left tackle this season.
More about Joey Julius
Esquire.com offered some perspective about eating disorders like the one Penn State kicker Joey Julius has battled:
Binge eating disorder causes someone to compulsively over-eat, and it can lead to anxiety and depression. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, binge eating is the most common eating disorder in the U.S., affecting 2 percent of men and 3.5 percent of women.
Julius, listed at 5-foot-10 and 258 pounds, wrote Monday in a Facebook post that he has been suffering from his disorder for 11 years, and finally sought help at a facility in Missouri this past spring. He remained there for nearly three months.
This season he has achieved cult-hero status for making big hits on kickoff returners in games against Kent State and Michigan.
Rare upset for women’s volleyball team
The Penn State women’s volleyball team has won seven NCAA championships, all since 1999, so it is rare that the Lions upset anyone. Yet that was the case Wednesday night in Rec Hall, when they took down top-ranked Minnesota in five sets.
— Penn State On BTN (@PennStateOnBTN) October 6, 2016