UNIVERSITY PARK - James Franklin doesn't want anyone on the Penn State football team to lose sight of the most important thing about playing this week's opener in Ireland.
"For us, this is a business trip to go play a football game, no different than if we were playing at State College High School," the coach said Tuesday.
Several of his players repeated that "business trip" phrase, something the coaches clearly have engrained into them to make sure they stay focused on the task at hand.
"It is not a vacation, it is a business trip," quarterback Christian Hackenberg said.
"That's the mentality the whole team and everybody that's coming with us has to have," defensive end C.J. Olaniyan said.
Olaniyan is right because, no matter how much fun the trip might be, the most important thing is the difference between coming back 1-0 or 0-1 and how that could affect the rest of the season.
"At the end of the day, winning is going to be the deciding factor where this is going to be a successful trip or not," linebacker Mike Hull said.
While fans heading overseas to the game may be viewing it as sort of a bowl game trip, filled with sightseeing and adventures, that's not the mentality of the football team.
"This trip is not about enjoying the countryside," Franklin said. "This is an opportunity to take a special trip. I think it's going to be great for the fans, but we're going to play a football game. There will be some activities we have, but very little of that."
The team left State College on Tuesday evening and bused to Harrisburg to catch an overnight flight to Dublin.
"It's going to be a lot longer of a plane ride than I'm used to," Hull said, "but we'll try to sleep and do everything they tell us to do as far as getting adjusted to the time zone differences (Ireland is 5 hours ahead)."
As much as everyone is talking about the business trip element, these are still college kids going to another country - most for the first time - so excitement is inevitable. More than 100 parents of players also are making the trip to Ireland, so for them it will be a vacation instead and not just a business trip.
The players have been cautious about expressing too much excitement yet, but that could change in a few days after they've been able to experience Dublin.
"You don't get to play in Ireland every day," Hackenberg said.
That doesn't mean, however, that this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip. Franklin shot down that idea in a hurry.
"It's not (that)," he said, "because we're going to work really hard to make sure all of our players graduate with a meaningful degree from Penn State so they can afford to go back at some point on vacation with their family or their friends and enjoy the countryside."
The depth chart was released Tuesday and included no surprises, although there are still two position battles that have yet to be decided.
The starting left guard spot is listed as redshirt sophomore Derek Dowrey or redshirt freshman Brendan Mahon. One cornerback spot also is still up for grabs as it's listed as junior Trevor Williams or junior Da'Quan Davis.
Bill Belton is the starting tailback, ahead of Zach Zwinak. True freshman Trace McSorley is the backup quarterback, ahead of true freshman Michael O'Connor, who could be in line for a redshirt.
Redshirt freshman Chris Gulla won the punting job. The punt returner is Jordan Lucas, and the kickoff returners are Akeel Lynch and Geno Lewis.
Franklin said he would like to redshirt speedy redshirt freshman receiver DeAndre Thompkins, although that plan could change.
It's always a balancing act for coaches at the beginning of the season to have the players fully prepared to play, but not so tired that they wear down during the first game.
"That's one of the big challenges," Franklin said.
He added that strength and conditioning coach Dwight Galt has been in the business for 30 years, so he has faith in the preseason workout regimen. Still, this trip to Ireland and all that it entails present a situation no one on the team has ever faced.
"We've probably done a little bit less running than we've done in the past to make sure that we are fresh for the game," Franklin said. "But you also don't want to run out of gas in the fourth quarter. That is the fine line."