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Rest, Recovery, & Recruiting: Penn State Football Makes Most Of Second Bye Week

Penn State football’s players and coaches made great use out of the team’s second bye week of the 2019 season.

The Nittany Lions were idle following their 28-7 victory over Michigan State on October 26. Thanks to a quirk in the team’s schedule, Penn State got to enjoy a second bye week after getting another break back in September.

As ever, the bye week was an opportunity for head coach James Franklin and his staff to get out on the road and put in work on the recruiting trail. Franklin himself was in Philadelphia on Thursday before heading to Jacksonville, Florida later in the weekend.

The head coach said he wasn’t a fan of stepping off the plane into Florida’s 90-degree heat while wearing a button-down shirt and vest. Thankfully, the colder temperatures up north are much more to his liking.

While you might think that the lack of a game to prepare for would give Franklin ample family time, that didn’t seem to be the case.

“I wish. The biggest thing is we come in late in the mornings to allow coaches to take their kids to school and things like that, but not as much time as you would think,” Franklin said when asked if he spends more time with his family. “It’s funny how many times family or friends text me and say, ‘Hey, what are you doing for your off-week?’ But it’s not really like that for us.”

Some of the Nittany Lions’ assistant coaches weren’t out on the recruiting trail over the weekend, so they got to spend Saturday with their wives and children. However, the lack of a game doesn’t change the intense workload that comes with being a Power 5 head coach.

Elsewhere, players didn’t necessarily need to utilize the first bye week as much as possible simply because of the fact that, at the time, they only had three game-weeks’ worth of wear-and-tear on their body. Now that they’ve played eight games, however, a week away from the grind of a game-week is very much appreciated.

“I just spent a lot more time in the film room with my teammates and the recovery beds — taking advantage of having that chance to get some rest,” defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos said.

Unlike some of his teammates, Gross-Matos stuck around Happy Valley over the weekend. Running back Journey Brown spent his weekend at home, and he said he got a chance to visit his mom, younger sister, and a bunch of his friends while he was there.

On top of the “good-on-good” work during practices that Franklin alluded to, Brown used the bye week for a lot of rest and recovery.

“I did a lot of regen and got in the tubs and got massages and stuff, took care of my body,” Brown said. “Got in the sauna and sweated a little bit. I did a lot of preparing my body.”

The running back said that he’s feeling fresher than usual thanks to the Nittany Lions’ by-committee approach at the position. He, Noah Cain, Ricky Slade, and Devyn Ford all have at least 35 carries and have rotated in and out of the Nittany Lions’ first eight games of the season.

At any rate, No. 4 Penn State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) will travel to Minneapolis to take on No. 18 Minnesota (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten). The game is set to kick off at noon Saturday, and it’ll be broadcast nationally on ABC.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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