PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



PlayStation, Feasts, And Cactus Curiosity — Free Time Fun In Penn State Football’s Fiesta Bowl Camp

The Nittany Lions swapped Happy Valley snow for Valley of the Sun sand when they touched down in Phoenix Sunday.

James Franklin’s team arrived early in Arizona for a week of extensive practice and preparation ahead of Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl showdown with Washington. But in the downtime between training and film sessions, the Nittany Lions have relaxed and celebrated the holidays in style with a Fogo de Chão feast, luxury accommodations, and cactus experimentation. They also made time for a community kickball game with local children’s foundation and welcomed several guests to their practice facilities.

“Obviously it’s not the best being away from your family,” senior linebacker Jason Cabinda said, “but we always make the most of it.”

Games Before The Game

Lodged at the five-star Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort, the team has access to an arcade-style PlayStation Lounge, equipped with video games, air hockey tables, and mini basketball.

The players spent Christmas together at the resort. “I think we did a great job of being together as a team and eating breakfast together and having an amazing dinner that the hotel put together for us,” running back Saquon Barkley said.

Football Feasts

A Tuesday trip to Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão, and the bacon-wrapped chicken and steak on the menu, were player favorites. Senior safety Marcus Allen was impressed by the restaurant’s continuous serving system.

“They had, like, a card. One side of it was green, the other side was red. So like whenever you were done, like, I’m full, you flip it to the red side…But I had it on green for a while, and I held strong,” he said.

“I’m sure the offensive and defensive linemen probably ate to their heart’s content,” Cabinda said.

The team also enjoyed a meal at west-coast fast food staple In-N-Out, and a night at Topgolf, a climate-controlled driving range and sports bar restaurant equipped with self-scoring golf balls.

Climate And Cacti

The Nittany Lions have practiced in consistent 70-80 degree temperatures throughout their week of training — a welcome change from 15-25 degree State College weather.

“[It’s] nice to go to practice and not see your own breath,” senior defensive tackle Curtis Cothran said.

The warmer temperatures and dry conditions of the Valley of the Sun support a host of plants that aren’t found in State College, including an extensive list of cacti. Several players found and experimented with the prickly plants while exploring the new environment.

“Me and Cam Brown were kind of messing around outside. We heard from somebody that some cactuses, I guess, they can, like, not throw their needles at you, but they’re jumping cactuses. So we were trying to throw rocks at some of the cactuses to see if the spikes would move,” Cabinda said.

“The scenery is great,” Allen said. “When I see a cactus, it doesn’t look real, but it is. That’s something that’s interesting to me.”

After a few nights of fun and exploration, the Nittany Lions turned their full attention to this weekend’s crucial matchup.

“We’re able to give the guys the first couple of nights to go out and have fun, but now it’s business,” offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne said Tuesday. “We’re ready to go and get through the normal game week.”

Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl Kicks off at 4 p.m. at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

About the Author

Jim Davidson

Jim is your classic confused and undecided sophomore in Penn State's Division of Undergraduate studies and a staff writer for Onward State. He, like most of the Penn State undergraduate population, is from 'just outside Philadelphia,' and grew up in Spring City, Pennsylvania. He covers a variety of Penn State topics, but spends nine months of every year waiting for the start of soccer season. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @messijim.


More by Jim

Dr. David C. Han Recommended For Second Term As Academic Trustee

Dr. David C. Han’s selection for a second term as academic trustee will be confirmed by a full-Board vote Friday.

OS Reviews: UR Pizza

UR Pizza Now Open In State College


North Dakota Interested In Playing Against Penn State Hockey In Nashville

North Dakota is working towards an agreement that will see its hockey team play against Penn State in Nashville during the 2020-21 season.

Former Cal Swimmer Says She Emailed Sandy Barbour About Sexual Harassment Claims

Max Sauve Commits To Penn State Hockey

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Student Life

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

State Theatre Recognized As A State College Historic Site

As it approaches the 80th anniversary of its opening, the State Theatre has been recognized as a State College historic site.

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Send this to a friend