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What We Learned from Penn State's Final Spring Football Practice

Coach James Franklin discussed standouts, concerns, and some changes after Friday's practice at Beaver Stadium.

Penn State concluded spring football practice Friday night at Beaver Stadium, something coach James Franklin said he would like to do more often in the future.

Franklin said the Lions had a productive 15-practice schedule, remained mostly healthy, and successfully installed most of its offense. Here are some of the top points Franklin made Friday night after practice, and what happens next.

New position for a captain?

Jesse Luketa has started 10 games the past two seasons at linebacker but could be in for a change. With Brandon Smith's shift to the outside spot known as Will, which Luketa played last year, and Curtis Jacobs' emergence at Sam, Luketa could shift inside with Ellis Brooks.

Or the 6-3, 255-pound Luketa could move to another position. Franklin didn't expand, but defensive end is a possibility.

"We view [Luketa] and Brooks as starters," Franklin said. "... There's also some discussions we've had with Jesse about playing some other positions that we think he has the ability to play, that will not only help our defense but also help Jesse and his future."

A running back to watch

John Lovett, a fourth-year running back who transferred from Baylor, could add the breakaway element Penn State's offense requires. Franklin said that Lovett not only is a veteran but also has "that extra gear that we need." Now, Franklin wants the 210-pound Lovett to add some summer weight and strength.

"We think he's going to be right there in the hunt for this thing during training camp," Franklin said.

Comfortable at quarterback?

Sean Clifford is the only quarterback who has thrown a pass in a college game, something that still concerns Franklin. The coach hasn't ruled out pursuing a quarterback from the NCAA Transfer Portal but still wants backups Ta'Quan Roberson and Christian Veilleux to close the gap.

"You're never completely comfortable, because you never know how guys are going to react when they get in," Franklin said. "The work those guys do between now and Game 1 is going to be really important. We'd like that gap to be closed between our 1s and our 2s."

Scouting reports

Who had a productive spring season? Franklin listed a few more players:

Cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields: "[He] had a really good spring, but he's also at a point in his career where you expect that from him."

Linebacker Tyler Elsdon: "The thing I thought he did this spring, which we questioned early on, was, he was running sideline to sideline and making plays. He looked quick, looked fast, looked explosive. He made as much strides as anybody."

Running back Keyvone Lee: "He's just so much more confident right now going into his second year."

Center Mike Miranda: "I think he has a chance to have a really good year for us."

What's next?

Franklin and defensive coordinator Brent Pry are headed to Cleveland next week to attend the NFL Draft with Micah Parsons. After that, Franklin will meet individually with each player on the roster, as he normally does, to discuss their futures.

Penn State also has a busy June scheduled, as high-school football camps and official visits with recruits return to the calendar. After that, vacation in July.

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