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Tuesdays With James: Being at Peace, Young Receivers, More

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin November 12, 2022 David Hague/NSN

No. 11 Penn State improved to 9-2 with its 55-10 win over Rutgers this past Saturday. As the team tunes up for its final regular-season game this comingSaturday, coach James Franklin embarks on his next opportunity to go “1-0” this Saturday against Michigan State.

Penn State has been dominant in its last three games, outscoring Indiana, Maryland and Rutgers a combined 130-24.

Franklin had his weekly press conference Tuesday in Beaver Stadium’s media room. “Tuesdays With James” will highlight the season thus far heading into Senior Day.

JAMES ON KEY INJURIES

Parker Washington has been ruled out for the season with an undisclosed injury. Joey Porter Jr. and Olu Fashanu have been out due to injury, with Porter missing the last two games and Fashanu the past three. Franklin first discussed Washington’s  injury situation with his mother to make everyone feel comfortable and involved in the situation.

Franklin also expressed optimism that Porter Jr. and Fashanu will be back before the end of the season.

“Parker will be done for the season,” Franklin said. “I did have that conversation with his mom. So, I wanted to make sure I covered that with them first and make sure everyone was comfortable with it.”

“Olu Fashanu, we expect back. When that is we’ll see. Hopefully this weekens. We’ll see how that plays out. And the same thing with Joey Porter.”

JAMES ON YOUNG RECEIVERS

With Washington’s injury, there are opportunities for the young receivers to make a step forward with more first-team reps. When asked about young receivers such as Omari Evans, Liam Clifford, and Trey Wallace will get a chance to see more game action. Franklin shared that while he is happy with the young receiver’s process, all of the players will need to step up in the passing game in Washington’s absence.

“Yeah, I’m excited for them. That’s kind of the nature of our game and the sport. When the opportunity comes you’ve got to be ready.” Franklin said.

“To me, it’s always kind of an interesting situation because some guys are ready when their number is called, and some guys aren’t. It’s always interesting to see how it all plays out. But I’ve been impressed with those guys and how they’ve handled the opportunities that they had this season and some of the roles have grown without some of the bumps and bruises. But obviously last week and this week and moving forward that’s going to be more important to us.”

Franklin went on to say, “So between our tight end stepping up and running back stepping up, in the passing game specifically I’m talking about, were also going to need KeAndre (Lambert-Smith) and Mitch (Tinsley) to take on more responsibility. Also going to need those other guys that you just mentioned to take a bigger role as well.”

JAMES ON BEING AT PEACE

Over the past few seasons before this current one, Franklin has been involved in rumors for other head coaching jobs across the country. Penn State and Franklin put an end to these rumors to an end with him signing his massive contract last December. Franklin said in his news conference it wasn’t the contract that put him at peace, but the fact that Franklin feels that he is more in tune with university administration and new athletic director Patrick Kraft that has allowed him to focus more on running his program.

“Yeah, I would say the one thing, you would say about my name, that is outside my control. You know, you guys could be coming in here and asking me some crazy questions right now. But the other stuff yeah. I think the biggest factor that is the alignment. You know that has been phenomenal. I think you guys know that I have been happy with the leadership, but I did feel that we needed more alignment, especially when it came to football.”

Franklin went on to say “So that has probably been the biggest thing. I feel like I can focus more of my time and energy on our players and program right now than I probably ever had in 12 years. All the way back to Vanderbilt.”

Twitter: @bwalkerdadon

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