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Williams prepares for surgery, Sankey chases rushing record

Kasen

Kasen -

Junior wide receiver Kasen Williams gets carted off after injuring his leg in the second quarter of the UW’s game against California last Saturday. Williams will have surgery to Tuesday on a break in his leg and another injury in his foot.

Photo by Joshua Bessex

After getting tangled with Kameron Jackson on the Washington football team’s first offensive possession of the second quarter last Saturday, Kasen Williams was face down on the Husky Stadium turf.

After getting tangled with Kameron Jackson on the Washington football team’s first offensive possession of the second quarter last Saturday, Kasen Williams was face down on the Husky Stadium turf. His left leg was motionless and his arms clawed at the ground as he tried to crawl off the field. Williams’ left leg injury deflated the UW offense and sent them into a second-quarter fog in which they only got 69 yards on four combined drives before getting a 91-yard drive to finish the quarter. The junior wide receiver did not return to the game and likely will not return for much longer than that.

Head coach Steve Sarkisian told reporters Monday at his weekly press conference that the Sammamish, Wash., native will have surgery Tuesday on his injured leg. During the game, Jackson landed on the back of Williams’ leg which “caused the break in the leg and then the injury to the foot,” Sarkisian said. The head coach wasn’t sure when Williams would return to the field, and didn’t rule out the possibility of his return before the end of the season, but said he will know more after he consults with doctors following surgery.

“To Kasen’s credit, he’s in good spirits,” Sarkisian said. “He’ll take it like a champion and he’ll do whatever we need him to do to get healthy and be back.”

With Williams’ prolonged absence, Sarkisian sees an opportunity to expand several roles for his many receivers, including John Ross, Jaydon Mickens, Marvin Hall, and Damore’ea Stringfellow. The Huskies have more depth at the skill positions than they’ve ever had under Sarkisian, and that will be put to the test now that Williams, the team’s leading receiver last year, is sidelined.

Mickens had an especially big day Saturday after Williams was injured, finishing with a career-high 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Hall saw significant time in the punt return game, a position where Williams also filled in for the Huskies at times. Hall returned two punts against California for 33 yards and had several good looks in the passing game, but dropped some deep balls that could have gone for big gains. Stringfellow, part of the UW’s three-headed wide-receiving monster of a recruiting class this season, compares to Williams in terms of size (the freshman Stringfellow being 6-foot-3 and Williams being 6-foot-2) but has only three receptions this year for a total of five yards.

As has been the case almost every week, Sarkisian was asked if tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins would get more looks in the offense in the coming weeks, especially now considering Williams’ injury. For an answer, Sarkisian simply said, “We’re going to run our offense.”

If that’s the case, then UW fans will be seeing a healthy dose of running back Bishop Sankey in the final weeks of the season. With the Huskies entering their bye week, Sankey is at 1,162 rushing yards on the season, which is 533 yards off of Corey Dillon’s UW single-season rushing record of 1,695. Potentially, Sankey has five games (including a bowl game) left to chase the record, and is on pace to demolish the record with 1,888.25 total rushing yards.

“Bishop has been a pro since the day he’s gotten here,” Sarkisian said. “I think back to the dropped kickoff against Nebraska, and they got the ball at the one-yard line. We didn’t give up on him and he didn’t give up on himself and now we have a guy who arguably might be the MVP of our conference, or at least in the discussion for it, and deservedly so.”

Notes:

— Sarkisian said his team is “banged up” going into the bye week with several players who have nagging injuries, like calf strains and quad contusions. He’s reluctant to call them injuries because he believes most of those players could suit up for a game Saturday if the Huskies had one.

— The UW’s Nov. 9 game against Colorado has been scheduled for a 5 p.m. kickoff and will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.

— Specialist Travis Coons was named Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week after the senior handled all three kicking phases of the game for the Huskies against California. Coons pinned three of his eight punts inside the 20-yard line, was a perfect 2-of-2 on field goals, and had three of his eight kickoffs go for touchbacks. He took over kickoff duties for injured freshman kicker Cameron Van Winkle, who has been out since the Oregon game.

Reach Sports Editor Thuc Nhi Nguyen at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @thucnhi21

 

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