Penn State football practice starts this week

STATE?COLLEGE?- The Penn State football team resumes preparations for its 127th season today when it hits the practice field for the start of training camp.

Led by head coach Bill O’Brien, 16 starters and 37 letterwinners return for the Nittany Lions, who open the season Aug. 31 vs. Syracuse at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Syracuse is the first of eight Penn State opponents this season who played in a bowl game last year, with five of the contests in Beaver Stadium. Three teams that finished in the 2012 BCS Top 25 will visit Happy Valley: Michigan (Oct. 12), Nebraska (Nov. 23) and Kent State (Sept. 21).

Twenty-five players with starting experience return for the Nittany Lions. O’Brien and the coaching staff will schedule the opening week of the 29 allotted practices around the last five days of classes and final exams for Penn State’s second summer academic session. Final exams are Aug. 9 and the initial two-a-day practices begin Aug. 10, which is the first day the team can practice in full pads.

A maximum of 105 players at NCAA colleges and universities are permitted to participate in football training camp. Additional players can begin practice with the team on the first day of classes for the fall semester on Aug. 26.

The Nittany Lions return 19 letterwinners on offense, including eight starters, and have six additional players with starting experience.

The Penn State defense returns 16 letterwinners and six starters.

Fans will get an inside look at the Nittany Lions’ preparations through a series of All-Access specials across ESPN platforms later this month. ESPN All-Access: Penn State Training Days will showcase behind-the-scenes access to on- and off-field activities, team meetings and campus facilities and culminate in a one-hour ESPN special on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 7. A five-part series consisting of 30-minute specials on ESPNU will begin Aug. 21, at 6.