A hurricane may be enough to cancel classes at Penn State, but it’s not enough to stop the football team from practicing.
For the past two days, the Nittany Lions have weathered Superstorm Sandy within Holuba Hall — the team’s indoor practice facility. The dangerous conditions on Monday and Tuesday prevented the Lions from practicing outside the Lasch Building as they usually do.
Coach Bill O’Brien said the rain and the wind didn’t interfere with Penn State’s mid-week routine, but he felt the Lions could get the most done inside.
“I don't like going inside, but because of the wind and the rain and the field conditions,” O’Brien said. “Again, at this point in the season, I would rather go inside and get productive work rather than risk having somebody get injured on a slippery field or something like that.”
The coach added that at least part of Wednesday’s practice would take place on the turf behind Lasch Building.
For the most part, the brunt of Superstorm Sandy missed State College as it passed over the eastern United States early this week. Few in Happy Valley were affected beyond a few light flickers and downed trees.
Still, the area remains damp and gray, but quarterback Matt McGloin said that’s exactly the type of weather in which Penn State should practice.
“We haven’t been able to practice outside, which is tough,” McGloin said. “At Purdue, it’s probably going to be cold out there. It’s probably going to be rainy. It seems like it’s going to be one of those environments. We haven’t been able to get that feeling of being outside.”
According to The Weather Channel, the forecast for Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind., is a high of 42 degrees with rain. McGloin added that he doesn’t like preparing for games in the confines of Holuba Hall.
“Any type of practice inside is not that great because you’re not getting comfortable with the atmosphere,” he said. “But it is what is, and you can’t control that.”
As a defensive back, Adrian Amos said he prefers practicing outside because the wet ground makes him more aware of his footing.
“You get a feel because you have to keep your legs underneath you coming downhill, breaking on balls,” he said. “It does help in that regard.
“That’s one of the things in practicing in Holuba is it gets hot and humid in there.”
Players affected by Superstorm Sandy
More than 20 players hail from New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and near or in New York City — all areas hit heavily by Superstorm Sandy.
McGloin, a Scranton native, said his family in eastern Pennsylvania is fine.
“Don’t worry about me,” he said.
O’Brien said he remembers being in a hurricane during the early 1990s, so he can empathize with those recovering from the superstorm.
“I think right now, all of our players’ families are doing OK,” he said. “Again, our thoughts and prayers go out to all those folks in New Jersey and everywhere that you're seeing on the news. It's a brutal deal.”