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Penn State Football: (Some) Sleep Till Dublin For Nittany Lions

by on August 18, 2014 4:00 PM

If you've done any traveling across timezones you're already acquainted with the uncomfortable feeling of your sleep cycle getting all out of whack.

But chances are you haven't played football while you're still dealing with jet lag.

For Penn State and UCF it's going to be a battle of preparation in the days leading up to the game as much as it will be a test of skills on the field. The fresher, more awake team is going to have an advantage as their opponents shake out the still lingering cobwebs.

it's a five hour difference between the United States and Ireland meaning an 8:30 AM wakeup is still in the dead of night for all the traveling parties' minds and bodies.

So there is a plan to deal with that. A simple one. Stay awake.

"What you want to try and do is sleep as much as you can on the plane flight overnight," Kevin Threlkel, Director of Football Administration told StateCollege.com "And then on Wednesday we'll basically keep them going all day and then let them crash at night."

Penn State won't just be facing an odd body clock, getting the practice fields in shape, the locker rooms ready, even getting equipment over to Dublin provides the entire football staff with challenges.

"It has really just been a lot of planning,"  Threlkel said. "They started some of the passport stuff before we got here. A few of us went over there to check out the site side of things this spring. The hotel, the game site, the logistics side of things as well. We had a conference call about once a week for about an hour with some people from Ireland just to keep the process going."

"How many rolls of tape, how many scissors, how many this, how many that. To get through customs, every single piece of information has to be logged. So there's a lot that goes into it, there's no doubt about it," Penn State coach James Franklin says.

The Nittany Lions' equipment and essentials will make its way to Dublin a few days prior to the team's departure on August 26. From there it will be a long flight to Dublin with practice the next day at the College of Dublin. The practice site is a 20 minute drive south of Croke Park on several expansive fields normally used for Rugby, Gaelic Football and Soccer.

While the entire exercise has been and will continue to be a huge undertaking it can bring with it plenty of positives. For players it's a chance to get a road game under the belt that can prepare them for the road later in the season. For Franklin, his staff and assistants it's a chance to prep for a long week leading up to a bowl game.

Because at the end of the day it's simply a business trip.

"I think it's going to be a real unique experience but the hard part is everybody keeps talks about what a great cultural experience for the players but it's not like we are going to be touring the countryside," Franklin said.

"We have got a tight schedule. What we have got to do is we have to make sure our guys have an unbelievable experience at Penn State and get their degrees, and a degree that means something so that once they graduate, they can afford to go on a vacation back to Ireland and enjoy the countryside. But this trip really isn't for that."

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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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