Marvin Hall will be a primary option to replace Kasen Williams after impressing coaches in practice. Hall caught two passes last week against Cal but was subject to several key drops on deep balls.
Marvin Hall will be a primary option to replace Kasen Williams after impressing coaches in practice. Hall caught two passes last week against Cal but was subject to several key drops on deep balls.Photo by Joshua Bessex
Junior wide receiver Kasen Williams’ season ended last Saturday when his leg twisted beneath him in the second quarter of Washington’s win over California. The Huskies needed someone to step up in his place. The question was just who it would be.
Without a game this weekend, head coach Steve Sarkisian has worked to answer that question by giving a lot of young players reps during a short week of practice that ended Wednesday. He said he sees a chance for a young receiver to become a key component of the UW’s offense, but he said nobody has broken away from the pack yet.
“I think there’s some opportunities for some guys to step up,” Sarkisian said. “Damore’ea Stringfellow is a guy who has an opportunity to step up. Marvin Hall could get an expanded role. We’ve got a lot of weapons, and obviously Kasen will be sorely missed, but this is an opportunity for some other guys to step up and have a big role on our team.”
Sarkisian said Williams’ surgery Tuesday went well. The head coach said he expects Williams to need two to four months of recovery time, but the Huskies will be careful not to rush him back into action before he is ready.
In the meantime, Hall is one of the players expected to take on a bigger role. A 5-foot-10 sophomore from Los Angeles, Hall plays a similar role as his former high school and current UW teammate, Jaydon Mickens, does. As a speedy slot guy and a return specialist, Hall is not exactly a like-for-like replacement for Williams, who uses his size and strength to get position over defenders.
Hall has four receptions this season, two of which came last week against Cal when he was targeted five times. Whether in the slot or out wide, Hall will likely see more looks in the coming weeks with Williams out. He said that to keep those looks coming, he needs to be consistent.
“I have to catch every ball that comes my way and make something happen with it,” Hall said. “Having to step up is always a great thing. We’d love to have him back, but I’m going to just keep doing what I have to do to keep the team going.”
The receiving corps’ elder statesman, Kevin Smith, thinks the younger guys are ready to become key parts of the team. The senior said it’s his job to make sure those young guys are calm, cool, and collected when their numbers are called.
“We know we have other weapons, guys behind Kasen,” Smith said. “I know they’re ready to step up and take that position. You just have to lead them through and guide them through how to be comfortable out there.”
Mickens, whose role has expanded this year as a sophomore, believes his group’s depth will show itself in the next few weeks.
“We have a lot of depth and a lot of great players at receiver,” Mickens said. “Everybody is willing to step up, and everybody is going to step up because this is a university that is prized on being the best. We have to have guys willing to lead this program in the right direction. So we’re going to have someone fill in, it might not be Kasen Williams, but it’s going to be the best receiver we have on this field.”
Reach reporter Daniel Rubens at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @drubens12
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