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College GameDay Hosts Share Feelings On Penn State, Saquon Barkley Ahead Of Saturday

College GameDay returns to Happy Valley for the first time in more than eight years, and the crew couldn’t be happier to be back. But don’t take our word for it — we asked them ourselves!

Kirk Herbstreit, Rece Davis, and Desmond Howard all took time to talk to the media ahead of Saturday’s highly-anticipated GameDay broadcast from Old Main. Though their answers differed slightly, the consensus remained the same: everybody’s excited beyond measure to be at Penn State.

“It’s just one of those places where people are so passionate about the sport,” Herbstreit said. “When you have passionate fans and a great team, it just makes for a chaotic scene around the set. No matter where we go, we just hope people have a great time.”

Herbstreit didn’t hold back when asked about his feelings on being located at Old Main rather than GameDay’s 2009 location at the Bryce Jordan Center.

“I was fired up when I learned we’d be at [Old Main],” Herbstreit said. “The place that we’d been — you know, when we go to Columbus, there’s different places we’d been — I felt that the other place that we were, it was okay, but it was a little bit outdated. We’ve tried to go to a more traditional campus feel, and this is a perfect setting. The backdrop here will be phenomenal.”

Herbstreit’s feelings on Penn State are well documented, but the rest of the crew shared similar sentiments. Rece Davis lauded the campus’ iconic scenery and vibrant college feel, but shared some personal opinions on Penn State’s miraculous turnaround — specifically the past year.

“I didn’t think all of this was possible, to be honest with you,” Davis said. “When the sanctions were eased, that certainly helped the recovery process — and you’ve got a coach who’s a great recruiter — but this has been fast given where the program was, given the cloud that they’ve had to deal with over it. This is remarkable. It’s a tribute to Bill O’Brien, and a tribute to James Franklin. It’s a tribute mostly to the players who stuck it out and stayed with Penn State football.

The sentiment was shared by all three GameDay members — including Michigan man Desmond Howard — but Howard had something different to discuss.

See, Howard knows a thing or two about the Heisman Trophy after winning the award in 1991. He had a few words of advice to Penn State’s own Heisman contender, Saquon Barkley.

“Don’t change, just do what you do,” Howard said. “That’s the most important part right now. Obviously, the quarterback out west who came in as the frontrunner, and he’s not the frontrunner anymore — that’s because of the play on the field. I think sometimes that type of pressure can get to a player and can affect him on the field. My advice to him would be to focus on the task at hand.”

I can speak for everybody at Penn State when I say we’re just as happy to have GameDay here as the GameDay crew is to be here.

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About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected].

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