By Gregg Bell
UW Director of Writing
SEATTLE – As bad as it was, it could have been worse for Kasen Williams.
Coach Steve Sarkisian said following Wednesday morning’s final practice of the Huskies’ bye week that Williams, the physical, junior wide receiver, had successful surgery Tuesday for a broken leg and displaced ligaments in the middle of his left foot.
"The surgery went well," Sarkisian said of UW’s leading receiver in 2012. "He’s in good spirits. He’s at home with his parents (in the eastern Seattle suburbs), which is a great place; we all like to be there. It’s a little more comforting that way."
Sarkisian added: “He’ll be out probably a few months, between two and four months roughly.
"We won’t rush him back. He’ll have plenty of time," the coach said, referring to the run-up to Williams’ senior season of 2014. "When he comes back he’ll be fresh and ready to go and he’ll play great football for us."
Turns out, Williams’ more major injury from California defensive back Kameron Jackson landing on his lower left leg after a leap towards a deep Keith Price pass last Saturday is a broken fibula. While a surgeon repaired that Tuesday, he also secured the displaced foot ligaments with a pin.
There were initial fears Williams had a Lisfranc, mid-foot displacement similar to the major one former quarterback Isaiah Stanback had end his 2006 Huskies season. But Williams’ foot injury is not as bad as that; Stanback did not get back to running for six months after his injury.
Jaydon Mickens (45 catches) and Kevin Smith (30 receptions), Price’s two top targets through eight games, will have an even more prominent role over the final four regular-season games beginning Nov. 9 against Colorado.
Speed freshman John Ross (13 catches) will also gain prominence.
Plus, Sarkisian said “This is a great opportunity for a Damore’ea Stringfellow, for a Marvin Hall to step up and take advantage of an opportunity that is there in front of them.”
At a hulk-like 6 feet 3 and 215 pounds Stringfellow, a freshman, has a similar body type to Williams. And Sarkisian mentioned how Hall’s speed gives the offense “a little different spunk.” The sophomore has been getting more deep-ball chances the last two games. He had a 21-yard catch against Cal, his fourth reception of the season. And Price overthrew Hall when he was wide open for what would have been a touchdown on a deep post route in the first half two weeks ago at Arizona State.
"You start putting Marvin, Jaydon, John Ross out there, that’s a lot of speed on the field at the same time," Sarkisian said. "That can pose a little bit of a different threat to a defense as opposed to a Kasen, a Stringfellow (and) Austin (Seferian-Jenkins) provide."
The Huskies now get three full days off before reconvening Sunday. Sarkisian and his staff are heading out to recruit. Many players are heading home, to refresh for the final four games of the regular season.
Mickens is headed back to his native Los Angeles, to see family. His mom may have a gripe with him when he gets there.
Mickens isn’t just the Huskies’ leading receiver this season. The outgoing, big-play sophomore is also UW football’s on-field fashion leader.
He has been tucking the bottom of his game jersey under the lower edge of his shoulder pads, bringing back a look that was something of a fad decades ago.
"It makes me keep working on my abs," he said with a laugh.
Mickens said he started making his fashion statement this season after he saw a picture from 1996 of running back Corey Dillon romping for the Huskies with his jersey tucked way under his huge shoulder pads.
"I wanted to bring the style back," said Mickens, whose 45 receptions and 542 yards receiving lead the Huskies. "Be different."
He said he’s had former Huskies who have been on the sidelines before home games come up to him with praise for restoring the 1990s look. Even some referees love it. Mickens said one Pac-12 linesman was telling him during a recent game “Man, that’s great! That’s the way I used to wear my jersey” — as Mickens was trying to line up for the next play in UW’s fast, no-huddle offense.
"I was trying to get the (play) call, and the referee wanted to talk about my jersey!" Mickens said, laughing again.
The only one who disapproves of his look? His mom.
As she watches games she has a problem: Mickens’ tucked under No. 4 looks like No. 1.
"She doesn’t like it at all,” Mickens said. “She said she’s been cheering for me — then come to find out after the play it is John Ross.
"She’s always telling me, ‘How come you can’t be like the rest of them?’
"And now I’m going home to her this weekend. Oh, boy."
INSIDE THE DAWGS: This is only the second time in the last 35 seasons the Huskies have had two full bye weeks inside a regular season. The other time was when UW had three weeks off inside an elongated 2008 schedule. This season’s first bye, in the first week of September, came after UW moved its opener versus Boise State up one week.