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Penn State Football: Players Headed Home for the Holidays

by on December 21, 2011 2:33 PM

With Penn State’s Jan. 2 bowl game against Houston less than two weeks away, interim Coach Tom Bradley will be giving the team the chance to travel home for the holidays.

Unlike in many of the previous years, players will be free to travel home for Christmas and will be required to rejoin the team in Dallas by Dec. 26. Traditionally the team has stayed on campus or traveled early to the bowl site, having some sort of team gathering around Christmas Eve and Christmas.

However, this year with turmoil on and off the field, Bradley is giving the team a little extra rest.

“I would’ve given them off, anyway, the 24th, 25th, 26th. I’m letting them go home those days to spend time with their families and re-energize the batteries,” Bradley said.

While some of the team’s time off has to do with the events of the past month, Bradley also believes that Penn State already has on campus everything it needs to prepare for the bowl game, he said.

“A lot of it had a lot to do with the weather; not sure what weather we’re going to get down there. We’re concerned with having to potentially go to an indoor complex. If we have to go to an indoor complex, it will be 28 miles away,” Bradley said. “I’ve heard stories where Northwestern went down 28 miles and then the sun was shining. That’s a lot of time on the bus. We’ve got everything we need right here; we can get good practice in here.”

Despite the recent altercation between Matt McGloin and Curtis Drake, Bradley said he feels that the team has practiced well since the end of the regular season. 

“As I’ve said, we’ve had some great practices in pads,” Bradley said. “We’ve been getting after each other pretty good ... a lot of one-on-ones, a lot of team, a lot of hitting. It’s been good to have this facility available and be able to practice.”

Even though the team will not be on campus together for the holidays, that didn’t stop Bradley from arranging a little surprise for the team after Wednesday’s practice. An equipment cart carrying Santa Claus stopped by Wednesday morning to wish the team members well before their travels home.

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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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