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Washington’s Recent Emergence no Surprise to Franklin

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Parker Washington

Parker Washington put up career-highs in both receptions and yards in Penn State’s 44-31 loss to Ohio State Saturday.

It was the second game in a row where Washington scored and racked up a chunk of yards.

This comes as no surprise to Penn State coach James Franklin.

“There’s gonna be some games where based on how they play coverage or how Sean (Clifford) goes through his progression where the ball goes to certain guys,” Franklin said after practice Wednesday. “We always game plan trying to put Parker in position to make plays, but obviously the defense knows that as well. So if he’s not open, we’re not just gonna force it to him.”

Not forcing it to Washington allows the offense to open up, whether it’s with the tight ends or running backs or feeding the ball to other receivers.

“There’s going to be some weeks where the tight ends catch 12 balls for 150 yards and three touchdowns,” Franklin said. “There’s gonna be other games where it’s the slot (receivers) or it’s the X or it’s the Z or it’s the running game. It just really depends on on how things play out.”

Having a receiver like Washington is nothing new to Penn State, which has produced wideouts such as Chris Godwin, KJ Hamler and Jahan Dotson since Franklin started his tenure in 2014.

Washington isn’t quite at the level of the aforementioned NFL players, but he’s on the right track.

He has the ball skills and athleticism:

And the brute strength:

“I was excited to make that play, Washington said after practice. “And the next thing I’ll say is just thanks to the strength staff for that, just having that strength to be able to stay up with those guys trying to make a big hit and being able to stay up was big,” Washington said.

Those plays are all moments Washington prepared for since arriving at Penn State as a freshman in 2020. He took what he learned on and off the field as well as what he was able to take from guys like Dotson and use them throughout his career so far.

“Getting those snaps early definitely helped with development and just seeing Big 10 opponents was big for me,” he said. “Being able to learn and not just learn on the field with the reps, learning routines. Off the field, being around those older guys that helped me to know my routine and what I need to do each and every day to get better and improve your confidence to sort of prove to yourself that you can do in those situations.”

Washington has a lot more football to play the rest of the season, but it seems as though Saturday’s performance was just the beginning for him as he continues his journey to playing on Sundays.

MORE FROM PRACTICE

  • Franklin on injuries: This is very clearly my favorite part of practice availability. The part where someone asks him for updates on injured players which he very clearly states each practice that there will be no such updates. On Wednesday, it looked and sounded very much like this scene from Austin Powers.

  • Franklin on naming a starting quarterback: “I don’t have any announcements to be made.”
  • Franklin on Bryce Effner: “He’s played a significant role all year long, and he’ll probably play more this week.”
  • Washington on Drew Allar: “Drew embraced that role coming in. He’s working hard just like the other QBs.”

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