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Franklin won’t say if or why Penn State’s John Lovett was disciplined

Penn State football coach James Franklin would neither confirm or deny Tuesday that running back John Lovett missed the first two games because of disciplinary reasons.

After Lovett ran for 6 yards in the third quarter of the Nittany Lions’ 28-20 win over Auburn last Saturday, ESPN/ABC play-by-play man Chris Fowler mentioned that he had served a two-game “disciplinary suspension.”

Franklin was asked during his weekly press conference why Lovett was disciplined.

“I didn’t know there was an announcement on TV like that,” he said, “and I don’t know where they would have gotten that from. I’m glad you mentioned that. We’re going to check to see if that was stated, because no one has stated that to me.

“First time I’m hearing that. So yeah, I’m not sure how to even address that, because I don’t know where that’s coming from. But we’re glad to have John playing. And I think his role will continue to grow, but I was not aware that that was said on TV.”

The 6-0, 209-pound Lovett, who’s from Burlington City, N.J., transferred to Penn State from Baylor last winter after leading the Bears in rushing in three seasons.

He made his first appearance for the Lions against Auburn, carrying twice for 9 yards, catching one pass for 18 yards and returning one kickoff for 15 yards.

Lovett might receive more playing time the rest of the season behind starter Noah Cain. Keyvone Lee, Penn State’s leading rusher last year as a freshman, has fumbled twice so far, but didn’t lose either one.

“We’ve been excited about him (Lovett) since we got him,” Franklin said. “We recruited him out of high school so there’s history there as well. You’re talking about a mature, productive football player.

“He’s an intelligent guy. He’s been able to learn the system and the protections. It was just finding the right time and place to use him and hopefully that role will continue to grow as the season goes on.”

Snubbed by Villanova >> Franklin played quarterback at Neshaminy High School in Bucks County, not too far from Villanova, Penn State’s opponent Saturday at noon at Beaver Stadium.

Although he enjoyed an outstanding career at East Stroudsburg, he was asked whether Villanova recruited him or not.

“Would I have liked to have been recruited by Villanova? Yes,” Franklin said. “Villanova gave me the stiff arm just like Penn State did. I wasn’t good enough. I had a really good experience where I played. But yeah,I was interested in all those types of schools.”

Franklin has several connections with Villanova. He knows former coach Andy Talley and current coach Mark Ferrante well. The late Dick Bedesem, who coached the Wildcats in the 1970s, guided Neshaminy, Franklin’s alma mater, before and after he was a high school student.

“I’ve watched them closely,” Franklin said of the Wildcats. “There’s a lot of guys that we recruit in the state that end up having an opportunity to go to Villanova. It’s a great school.”

Praise for Warren >> Theo Johnson caught one pass for 37 yards against Auburn, but he preferred talking about fellow tight end Tyler Warren.

Warren scored on a 2-yard touchdown run and caught a pass for 22 yards against the Tigers.

“I think he’s probably the best-kept secret that we have on our team,” Johnson said. “He’s as capable as anybody we have in the tight end room. It was just a matter of time until people started to see him make plays.”

Pennridge ties >> Penn State junior defensive end Nick Tarburton and Villanova freshman linebacker Shane Hartzell are both from Pennridge High School.

Tarburton started the first two games for the Lions and has five tackles in three games. Hartzell made his college debut against Bucknell and made two tackles.

Source: Berkshire mont

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