Jordan Hill could only shake his head.
Silas Redd and the offense had a strong showing at Penn State's Lift For Life.
"They beat us," Penn State's senior defensive tackle said. "It doesn't happen often, but they beat our butt today."
Hill and his defensive mates were edged out by Penn State's offensive players at nearly every turn during Friday's revamped Lift For Life challenge at Penn State's outdoor lacrosse field. Spurred on by a dominant performance in the tug-of-war finale, the offense beat the defense 176-136.
In past years, LFL events included a sled push, leg press, and the iron cross. New strength coach Craig Fitzgerald and his staff implemented a number of new events that put contestants head-to-head, including two players tossing 20-pound medicine balls behind their heads and over goal posts, a sandbag moving drill and two-man teams pushing a pair of 6,400-pound vans across a line.
"The events that we changed are more fan-oriented," said offensive lineman Eric Shrive, the vice-president of Penn State's Uplifting Athletes chapter. "We want the parents to bring the kids out and have fun."
Was the new course tougher than the old one, which often left players in a sweaty puddle on the ground?
"I wouldn't have said that until we got to the vans," Hill said. "Once we got to the vans, it was over."
Fans pushed LFL's 2012 fundraising total above $100,000 (the money goes to the Kidney Cancer Association) for the second year in a row and brought the chapter's 10-year total to above $700,000. Shrive once again led the individual fundraising effort with more than $31,000.
Fans who watched from the bleachers or the hills surrounding the complex endured light raindrops and seemed to enjoy the changes in the event. So did the players -- even the ones on defense.
"I'm ready to compete against them every day now," Hill said. "They're going to be talking about that every day in workouts.
"It was fun. This was just a little taste of what it's going to be like during camp."
Notes: Tight end Garry Gilliam said he had only read part of the Freeh report. But he, like the rest of the Nittany Lions, didn't seem preoccupied with it Friday. "There's not much I can do about it," Gilliam said. "I wasn't involved in it, my teammates weren't involved in it, my coaches weren't involved in it. … A lot of my friends will message me on Facebook or text me and ask me how I'm doing, say they're thinking about me. We're focused on what we're doing. You can't control what's going on outside of our building." … Penn State's freshmen competed in a separate event earlier in the day (the defense beat the offense 45-23) but merely assisted the strength coaches during the main event and were not made available to media. … Center/long snapper Ty Howle did not compete after tearing a pectoral muscle earlier in the summer. He had surgery and will miss about four months. … Defensive lineman Anthony Zettel suffered some cramping in his calf during the final tug-of-war, and offensive lineman Frank Figueroa had his right knee wrapped in ice (the result of a mild sprain he'd suffered earlier in the summer, he said) after the event, but there were no major injuries to report.