James Franklin has to find a new defensive assistant with spring practice just around the corner.

Penn State defensive line coach and run game coordinator John Scott Jr. is reportedly leaving for a position with the Detroit Lions. He departs after 3 seasons with the Nittany Lions, producing a solid resume of All-B1G defenders and NFL Draft picks.

Scott joined the staff in 2020 after a season at South Carolina (2019). An assistant coach since 2001, he last coached in the NFL with the New York Jets in 2015 and ’16.

What to make of Scott’s departure

This is a tough time to be losing an assistant coach. Spring practice starts on March 14, 2 weeks from Tuesday. That’s enough time to install a good fit and avoid rushing a bad hire, but Franklin will have to move quickly to fill an important vacancy.

Scott is one of those coaches who is always on the move every few years. On the surface, there isn’t too much to read into his leaving Penn State after a successful 2022 season. The end of February is just unfortunate timing for Franklin.