Washington Huskies head football coach Steve Sarkisian confirmed the news that Husky fans did not want to hear on Monday. That news is that star junior wide receiver Kasen Williams would be lost for the rest of the season and bowl game due to a broken leg and injured foot suffered in Washington’s win over the University of California on Saturday night. He will have surgery on Tuesday.
Williams, out of Skyline High School in Sammamish, WA, had 29 catches for 421 yards and a touchdown this season before suffering this gruesome injury. His 421 yards ranked him at 16th in the Pac-12 Conference. His numbers may have been down, but Williams was always a threat that needed to be accounted for whenever he stepped onto the field. Along with Austin Seferian-Jenkins at tight end and the nation’s third leading rusher Bishop Sankey in the backfield, the Huskies were loaded with talent at all of the skill positions.
What this injury means for Washington is that they will need to depend more on senior Kevin Smith and sophomore Jaydon Mickens to make the big catches on the sidelines that Williams would make. This also opens the door for more touches to true freshman John Ross. The speedster Ross had been alternating with Williams on kick return duty; expect Ross to take over that spot full-time now as well as line up in the slot for more quick passes from Keith Price. Look for big freshman Damore’ea Stringfellow to be Price’s new favorite target for jump-ball throws into the end zone as well as short yard out-routes on third down.
Williams injury will have the biggest effect on All-American Austin Seferian-Jenkins. ASJ will become the new No. 1 target in the passing game and should expect to see more double-teams now that defenses will not need to worry about the threat of Williams on the outside.
Whether the Huskies succeed through this injury will be determined by whether the players filling in for Kasen Williams step their game up. Under Steve Sarkisian and the new high-tempo Huskies there is no reason to think they won’t.