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Penn State Football: John Scott Jr. Ready to Get Going as New Defensive Line Coach

by on May 01, 2020 1:50 PM

For new Penn State defensive line coach John Scott Jr., his job is both the best he has ever had and perhaps the most challenging.

There is nothing simple about coaching in the Big Ten, nothing easy about getting large men to push another group of large men backwards. Let alone against some of the best offensive lines in the country against some of the best teams in America.

Scott has signed up for this though, and his career has led him to a point where he can execute that particular task with no shortage of confidence or lack of know-how. It is difficult but it's not impossible, and more importantly, it's what he has been preparing for. It is, in essence, the challenge he has always wanted.

However, there is another wrinkle to this story, one that you can't ever really prepare for beyond simply being yourself. Scott will replace longtime defensive line coach Sean Spencer, a staple on James Franklin's coaching staff and as much a culture-driver as Penn State has had under Franklin's watch. 

Losing Spencer to the Giants is not a bad thing for the program to hang its hat on, but the void he leaves behind is that of a loud and gregarious man.

No small task.

“It’s been different than taking over at any other job that I’ve ever had in my life,” Scott said Thursday in a video call with reporters. “Normally, you get that time to bond with the guys and you’re there, you’ve been through spring ball. But, with what’s going on in the world right now, I had to adapt a little bit.”

The good news for Scott is that he has someone who can vouch for him. Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry and Scott were colleagues many moons ago at Georgia Southern where Pry, then defensive coordinator, hired Scott as his defensive line coach.

And certainly no one would question Penn State player's love and affection for Pry, equal in stature to Spencer.

“Coach Pry and I are like family,” Scott said. “I’ve known him for 21 years and he is a big reason why I decided to get into coaching.

Ultimately like anything in life Scott Jr can only be himself for his players. So while Spencer might leave a hole in the program, Scott Jr will try and fill it not the exact same way, simply his own way. It's what worked for Spencer who replaced longtime defensive line coach Larry Johnson and what will almost certainly work again as coaches replace coaches.

The existential obstacles aside, Scott will focus on the larger task at hand, getting his players ready for the grind of the season, whenever that might be.

“I’ve always thought that the Big Ten was one of the best two leagues in the country,” Scott said. “I felt like it was the Big Ten and SEC and if you look at those teams that come out of those leagues and the grind week-to-week in those leagues playing other teams, so I’m super excited.”



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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