Razorbacks Hold Practice in Tampa Before Outback Bowl

FAYETTEVILLE – Penn State’s men’s basketball program remains in covid shutdown but the Nittany Lions football team is numerically intact and arrived in Tampa, Fla. in time Sunday for its first practice in Tampa preparing for Saturday’s Outback Bowl game against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

Coach James Franklin’s Nittany Lions, 7-5, held a closed practice Sunday.

Coach Sam Pittman’s 9-4 Razorbacks were scheduled to fly into Tampa Sunday night and hold their first practice Monday in Tampa.

The Razorbacks in Fayetteville and the Nittany Lions in State College, Pa. have held weeks of bowl practices on campus prior to their arrival in Tampa.

Penn State’s defense, the strength of the Nittany Lions’ team, has lost starting linebackers Brandon Smith and Ellis Brooks both declaring their intentions to skip the bowl and prepare for the NFL Combine and draft

It would seem the Penn State equivalent of the Razorbacks losing two of any three of Grant Morgan, Bumper Pool and Hayden Henry, Arkansas’ super senior linebacker trio.

On the the other hand the Razorbacks’ best player,Treylon Burks, the  first-team All-SEC junior receiver, 66 catches, 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns, and projected late first round draft choice, has declared he’s turning pro and also skipping the bowl game to prepare for the NFL Combine and draft.

Also Arkansas kickoff man Vito Calvaruso, about Mr. Automatic booming nonreturnable kickoffs to and through the end zone, has put his name in the transfer portal looking also to kick field goals.

Freshman Cam Little has that job locked kicking 19 of 23 field goals, including a 51-yarder against Mississippi State and an overtime game-winner against LSU.

Either Little or Sam Loy will kick off for Arkansas against Penn State.

Arkansas and Penn State kick off at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN2.

Meanwhile in Fayetteville, men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman and his Razorbacks regrouped on last Saturday’s  Christmas night for their first practice since taking a holiday break after last Tuesday’s 81-55 victory at Walton Arena over Elon University.

The  10-2 Razorbacks practiced Christmas night because of their urgency opening their SEC season Wednesday night against the 9-3 Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville, Miss.

Wednesday’s tip-off at the Bulldogs’ Humphrey Coliseum is 8 p.m. and televised by the SEC Network.

The SEC men don’t play their usual Saturday basketball games in deference to various SEC  football teams competing in New Year’s Day Bowl games or in the case of SEC national semifinalists Alabama, playing Cincinnati, and Georgia, playing Michigan, playing their Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl national championship games on Friday’s New Year’s Eve.

Coach Mike Neighbors’ 10-3 Razorbacks women’s basketball team has a full week beginning SEC play.

The Razorbacks women open their SEC season at 6 p.m.  internet video available on SEC Network+ against the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford, Miss.  

At noon next Sunday at Walton Arena they will host  nationally  No. 7 Tennessee currently listed as an either-or for ESPN2 or the SEC Network.

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