Penn State Football hosts first-ever open practice and autograph session

Penn State Football hosts first-ever open practice and autograph session

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) — Penn State Football’s Saturday practice looked more like an NFL training camp, as hundreds of fans lined the sidelines to get their first look at the 2023 Nittany Lions.

In just three weeks time, thousands will pack Beaver Stadium for the team’s season opener against West Virginia on Saturday, September 2, 2023.

“Oh, I never miss my Penn State guys,” said Judy Hoffman, a Penn State fan from Harrisburg. “I am so looking forward to this season. I miss football when it’s not around. Penn State takes care of our fans and I love being around the Penn State guys. They really take care of us.”

For the first time in James Frankin’s 10 seasons as head coach, Penn State opened up practice to allow fans to attend.

“I’ve always wanted to do it,” said Penn State Head Coach James Franklin ahead of the open practice. “It’s one of those discussions we have as a staff and maybe one year one coordinator doesn’t want to do it because he’s got a new wrinkle he doesn’t want out there or another coordinator doesn’t want to do it. I [do] think there’s value playing in front of a crowd to see how some of those young players are going to respond to that. I just think it creates some excitement in the town and in the city and in the state. So I think there’s a lot of positives to it.”

Before the open practice, a select group of fans got to meet the players they’ll watch on the field this fall.

“I came to see Abdul Carter, and I’ve got his jersey on,” said Penn State fan Gus Snyder. “Nick Singleton, I’m pretty excited to watch him this season. I think [Olu Fashanu] is a big name out there.”

This special meet and greet session was made possible by the group Happy Valley United, the NIL collective designed to support Penn State athletes and bring fans closer to the team they love.

“I think for so long in college athletics, fans didn’t have the access NIL now allows them to,” said Happy Valley United’s Brandon McCladdie. “The [players] really love the personal and professional relationship they create with these donors and these fans. We want to do more of that.”

Anticipation is building for the 2023 season in Happy Valley with just three weeks until Penn State’s season opener against West Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 2 inside Beaver Stadium.

Penn State Football fans will get closer than ever to the team this fall, as abc27 launches Nittany Insiders. Every Saturday, the preview show will break down Penn State’s matchup, feature player’s stories off the field, and focus on NIL progress.

The weekly preview show will be co-hosted by former NFL linebacker and Penn State All-American Michael Mauti and abc27 Sports Director Allie Berube.

Each week Allie and Michael will break down the week’s upcoming game and share what the Nittany Lions will need to focus on for a win. Michael will be able to provide a unique expert analysis from the perspective of a former player.

The show will also feature a player spotlight, features on Lettermen, and content highlighting the program’s NIL efforts to create the most comprehensive Penn State show in the state each and every week.

Nittany Insiders will air every Saturday at 11:30 a.m. starting Saturday, August 26th. The 30-minute shows will feature interviews and insight you can only see on abc27.

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