Penn State Football: Parsons Ready to Return and Ready for Something Normal
Don't get him wrong, Micah Parsons is very excited to be heading back to campus and very excited to get back to some form of football.
But as Penn State begins to welcome student-athletes back to campus this week, Parsons will be part of Phase Two, which means one more weekend and another father's day with his son.
“It was like a mutual thing,” Parsons said on Monday afternoon during a Zoom call with reporters. "If you said you wanted to come back in phase one, you could. They’re only a week apart. They tried to bring most of the scholarship guys back. Some decided to stay [at home] depending on your situation.”
Of course coming back to campus also means lifting and running and working out again. Parsons has spent a good portion of his time at home taking care of his body, but there's nothing quite like a strength and conditioning coach pushing you for one more rep.
Then again, Parsons has been running and wrestling with former Nittany Lion wrestler Bo Nickal, a longtime bromance that has lasted well after Nickal's graduation. So is Parsons in shape? Most likely, but then again he'll have to knock the rust off.
"I didn’t have the same workload I would have working with Coach [Dwight Galt],” Parsons said with a laugh. "He’s one of the best strength coaches around, for years, but, as of right now, I think my body feels good. I’m weighing what I want to weigh. I think I’m moving the way I want to move; I’ve been working on my transitions.
"I feel like, I’m not at Coach [Galt] shape, because his shape is completely different from mine, but I’m in the kind of shape that, when I come back, I won’t die, and I think my body feels good going back.”
The excitement is tangible in Parsons' voice, even if he opted to wait an extra week before returning to campus. It's hard to deny a sense of normalcy as players filing in Holuba Hall, even if that normalcy included masks, COVID-19 testing and symptom checks. Things are normal-ish, a small step toward even more normal.
And after the past few months, it's hard to blame anyone feeling a sliver of optimism towards things feeling a bit more familiar.
"Just hearing that we’re coming back, that’s like a relief because you want to play in front of fans, and you want to do all those types of things, and you want to have that type of environment,” Parsons said.
"It’s not as fun taking these classes over Zoom meetings online; you kind of want to be interactive. It’s harder to get your one-on-ones with the teachers and communicate things that you don’t understand, so hearing that news is a relief. I hope that things can go back to normal, and we’re just taking the next step forward to go back to normal. I don’t think no one likes this pandemic and, you know, we’re going to keep moving in the right direction hopefully, and hopefully by the time the season comes Beaver Stadium is going to be full and packed.”
Beaver Stadium might not be full this season, but even some fans is better than nothing.