Penn State strength coach Craig Fitzgerald ran his second public workout for the Nittany Lions Tuesday morning, this time under much different circumstances than Lift for Life three weeks ago.
With NCAA sanctions handed down more than a week ago, Fitzgerald led the Lions back out onto the Lasch fields for the first time since their public statement last Wednesday.
This time, they were surrounded by thousands of adoring Penn State football fans, clad in Blue and White and cheering their heads off for the embattled group of players.
"I think the players know, at a good time, that this place is unlike any other," he said. "They're not going to get this support and feeling of appreciation and love anywhere else."
Through all the positivity of the morning's event, Fitzgerald didn't sugar coat the challenges that are still enveloping Penn State's players as preseason camp nears.
With final decisions yet to be made for plenty of kids inside that locker room, Fitzgerald said that the benefits of working through this unique set of circumstances will pay off for everyone in the long run.
"This is a challenge for all the kids in that locker room," he said. They're fighting to stay together. They're fighting to be a great program this year. They don't just want to survive, they want to be a great program. This is a great growth experience.
"In the long run, I think it's going to be good for them. They'll be closer than any team that's played anywhere, to be honest with you."