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Penn State Football: Headsets And Buying Airhorns Some Of Challenges For Ireland Trip

by on August 21, 2014 2:00 PM

UPDATE:

During Penn State's contest against UCF the Nittany Lion sideline experienced severe issues in the headset system. These issues resulted in the loss of headsets for the entire coaching staff in the early stages of the game. Here is a bit more insight into what exactly happened according to  Jim Weaver, Manager of Transmission Services Group at Penn State.

"The biggest issue we had in Ireland was power to PSU sideline went out less then one minute before game time and it took most of the quarter to get it back. Also just after second half started the sideline took another spike and it took a while to get the units back up. Both UCF and PSU had cut outs of frequencies through out the game but that was expected. The power issues on the other hand were not."

ORIGINAL STORY:

It comes a no surprise that bringing a few hundred people to Ireland as part of a major college football game requires a lot of planning.

Traveling overseas as a single person can often be a nerve-wracking experience let alone being responsible for the success of an entire football program's ability to operate an ocean away from home.

But as the days tick down it is nearly time for the Nittany Lions to take their Tuesday flight across an ocean, past a volcano and to Ireland. They'll be embarking on an action-packed adventure with little sleep, lots of travel and a season opening football game.

"There have been an enormous amount of challenges that we've had to face over the past couple of months just trying to get everything planned in terms of the equipment and the cargo," Jay Takach, Penn State's recently hired equipment manager said Wednesday during a conference call. "Right now we're still kind of finalizing the plans for that."

"We're working through United. We've got some hurdles that we have to overcome with the customs authorities in Ireland, said Takach, who officially has been on the job as equipment manager for two weeks. "Once we get that done, we'll have a better plan in place in terms of getting it set up in the locker room."

The planning doesn't stop there. Setting up an office-like atmosphere at the team hotel so coaches can work like a normal week requires a whole different kind of preparation. Every little detail has to be cataloged and remembered. Some things, like air horns used during practice, are forbidden on international flights and have to be purchased when the team lands in Ireland. 

Even the headsets that the coaches use have to be tweaked.

"We have been told we can not use the 900Mhz range in Ireland," Jim Weaver, Manager of Transmission Services Group at Penn State told StateCollege.com. The usual frequency that the headsets operate on fall under what is a government-only frequency. Weaver and his team will head to Dublin days before the game to get things properly set for the coaching staff in a way that won't violate any local regulations. The flexibility of headset systems means Penn State and UCF don't have to purchase new headsets, but it does mean that it will take a few technical adjustments.

"Both UCF and Penn State have been in contact multiple times with each other, Croke Park and a contracted frequency coordinator they have," Weaver said. "The plan is for both team headset guys to meet Thursday with them to get frequencies for the headsets. They require two frequencies for each radio and we could use up to 10 radios as could UCF. They need to be matched so they do not interfere with the other teams unit as well as anything else that maybe used in the stadium (ESPN uses some of this range for its equipment)."

"We have also worked with them to provide cable between the Pitch and the coaches box to tie those locations together. (Units are only wireless for the coaches on the field. Everything else is wired.) As well there has been multiple discussions on electrical needs since US and Ireland use different electrical set ups. My guess is we will be doing some testing multiple days to assure we have what we need."

So if you're going to Ireland in the next week or so and thought your packing was getting hectic, just remember -- and be glad -- you don't have to do it for an entire football program.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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