UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State football team will begin on-field preparations for the 2014 campaign on Monday, March 17, with the opening of spring practice.
First-year head coach James Franklin and his staff will direct the Nittany Lions through 15 spring practices in preparation for Penn State’s 128th campaign, which begins Aug. 30 vs. UCF in the Croke Park Classic in Dublin, Ireland.
Since classes resumed in mid-January, the Lasch Football Building and Holuba Hall have been hubs of activity, with the Nittany Lions hard at work with off-season strength training and conditioning. Squad members have participated in 5:30 a.m. conditioning sessions twice a week and lifted three times a week under the guidance of Dwight Galt, the new director of performance enhancement.
Penn State will culminate spring practice with the highly anticipated Blue-White Game presented by AAA on Saturday, April 12. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. in Beaver Stadium. The popular autograph session with the players will return and begin in the late morning (time TBA). The contest will air on the Penn State Sports Network and www.GoPSUsports.com.
Admission and parking for the Blue-White Game presented by AAA are free as in previous years. Stadium parking lots will open at 8 a.m. April 12.
A little less than four months after the Blue-White tilt, the Nittany Lions will resume on-field preparations for the 2014 campaign, which includes a trio of Top 10 teams from last season. Penn State will host Rose Bowl Champion Michigan State (Nov. 29), Ohio State (Oct. 25), Northwestern (Sept. 27-Homecoming) and conference newcomer Maryland (Nov. 1) during its 2014 Big Ten home schedule.
Penn State returns 41 letterwinners and 15 starters for the 2013 season (seven offense, seven defense, one specialist), and nine additional players that have starting experience (32 starts). Among the returnees are seven players who earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten recognition last season: safety Adrian Amos (Baltimore), kicker Sam Ficken (Valparaiso, Ind.), quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va.), tight end Jesse James (Glassport), cornerback Jordan Lucas (New Rochelle, N.Y.), defensive end C.J. Olaniyan (Warren, Mich.) and tackle Donovan Smith (Owings Mills, Md.).
Hackenberg broke 11 Penn State freshman records last season and was selected a first-team 247 Sports True Freshman All-American. Tight end Adam Breneman (Mechanicsburg) earned second-team True Freshman All-America accolades from 247 Sports.
Franklin was named the Nittany Lions' 16th head football coach on Jan. 11. A product of Langhorne, Pa., Franklin led Vanderbilt University to unprecedented success the past three years as head coach, including consecutive nine-win seasons and bowl victories the past two years, as well as back-to-back Top 25 finishes, all for the first time in VU history. In his 20th year of coaching, Franklin was a two-time All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference quarterback at East Stroudsburg University.
Beaver Stadium seat selections began March 13 for the 2014 campaign. Season ticket renewals are under way online at www.GoPSUsports.com/accountmanager. There again was no increase in season tickets prices for Penn State football for the 2014 season. New season tickets are available by calling 800-NITTANY from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.
Penn State announced two new football ticket initiatives in January.
-- The Recent Graduate program gives Penn State graduates who earned an undergraduate degree from 2010-14 at any campus the opportunity to purchase up to two season tickets for $300 per ticket for the seven-game home schedule this fall. The cost includes a $50 donation to the Nittany Lion Club and is a savings of 35 percent from the regular $460 season ticket price ($360 + $100 NLC donation).
A total of 2,500 seats are available for the Recent Graduate program on a first-come, first-served basis. The seats will be located in the North Upper Deck, in Sections NAU-NLU. Interested recent graduates can call 800-NITTANY from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.
-- Penn State is implementing a variable pricing structure for its single game public football tickets during the 2014 season. Single game tickets will go on sale to the general public in July, with tickets being available for as low as $40 for some games. For a full list of prices by section for the 2014 football season, fans can log onto http://www.gopsusports.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/011414aab.html.