Penn State football program hires new defensive line coach, announces more staff changes

(Allentown) Morning Call (TNS)
John Scott

Penn State completed its coaching staff Saturday, announcing South Carolina assistant John Scott Jr. as its new defensive line coach.

Scott replaces Sean Spencer, who left Penn State after six seasons to join the New York Giants.

Scott, 44, brings a staff connection with him to Penn State. He has been at three programs with Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry, who was Scott’s position coach at Western Carolina. The two also worked together at Louisiana-Lafayette and Georgia Southern.

“John’s diverse accomplishments separated him from the rest of the candidates throughout the hiring process,” Penn State coach James Franklin said in a statement. “In addition, his long-standing relationship with Brent Pry at Georgia Southern, Louisiana-Lafayette and Western Carolina ensures he’ll hit the ground running as we enter spring ball. His attention to techniques, fundamentals and the appropriate mentality needed to guarantee we continue to compete at the highest levels of college football."

New titles: Penn State also announced three new titles among assistant coaches.

Tight ends coach Tyler Bowen, who called plays for the Cotton Bowl, is listed as co-offensive coordinator with Kirk Ciarrocca. Running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider takes over as run-game coordinator, a position held by former offensive line coach Matt Limegrover. And special teams coordinator Joe Lorig will coach outside linebackers as well.

Scott's background: Scott brings SEC and NFL experience to Penn State. He spent the past three seasons coaching defense in the SEC: one at South Carolina and two at Arkansas.

Prior to that, Scott was a defensive quality control assistant and defensive line assistant for two seasons with the New York Jets.

Scott also has coached at Texas Tech, Georgia Southern, Missouri State, Norfolk State and his alma mater, Western Carolina. A defensive end, Scott was named all-Southern Conference in 1998. Scott also was the special teams coordinator at Georgia Southern.

Lots of PSU turnover: Scott is the fourth new coach Penn State has hired following the 2019 season. Franklin addressed that turnover last week at a press conference to introduce his three new offensive assistants.

“My job as the head coach is to serve our players and serve the staff and help everybody achieve their dreams,” Franklin said. “Whether that is to graduate, whether that is to get a job on Wall Street, whether that is to go to the NFL, a combination of those things, whether that’s guys being able to have the opportunity to grow professionally. And it’s pretty cool when you look at it — obviously it’s challenging, and I’m not saying I love it — but also when it’s cool [that] we’ve had two assistants [Joe Moorhead and Ricky Rahne] leave to become head coaches. We’ve had two assistants [Josh Gattis and Gerad Parker] leave to be offensive coordinators and one assistant now at the NFL in Sean.”

PSU ties: Scott’s wife, Dr. Blakely Low-Scott, has Penn State ties as well. In 2015 she served as a predoctoral intern with the university’s Counseling & Psychological Services and was a member of the athletic department’s Mental Health Task Force.

Low-Scott also served as a sport psychologist at Lehigh University. She was a sport psychologist at South Carolina last year.