Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Injuries are to be expected in a game in
which athletes collide with one another for four quarters. Dealing with those
injuries before the season even begins can alter team goals.
That is the current plight of the Washington Huskies.
Junior Austin Seferian-Jenkins has had a tough offseason to say the least. The
Washington tight end plead guilty to a DUI charge in July and is still
awaiting disciplinary action.
This week things took another bad turn for the All-American candidate. During
the second practice of the day as part of Huskies' fall camp, Seferian-Jenkins
went to catch a pass from quarterback Keith Price. The sure-handed Seferian
Jenkins, considered an easy pick to be a Mackey Award finalist, came away from
that play with an injury to his right pinky finger.
The Huskies soon confirmed that their star tight end had a fracture in the
While such a small injury may be able to be covered up for a defensive
end or an offensive guard, a tight end obviously cannot hope to make
much of an impact with a cast on his hand. For Seferian-Jenkins, a
player who caught 69 passes for 852 yards and a team-high seven
touchdowns last season, making plays in the passing game is his most
Now it seems he will miss some time, and that's not including any possible
suspension as a result of his offseason transgressions.
As of now Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian has yet to reveal how
extensive the injury is or how long it could keep Seferian-Jenkins out.
Speculation is that recovery time could be anywhere from a week to a month.
"Austin's going to be out for quite a while," Sarkisian said. "He actually has
a small fracture in his pinkie there that's actually going to require surgery.
So he's going to be out for a little...some amount of time."
For a Washington squad that is considered by some to be a dark horse
contender in the Pac-12, such an injury could have the Huskies down and
out before things even get under way. Other than Seferian-Jenkins, only
Kasen Williams (77 receptions, 878 yards, 6 TDs) returns as a proven commodity
in the passing game. No other receiver on the roster had more than 16
receptions last season and the entire roster outside of Williams and Seferian-
Jenkins combined for just six touchdown catches.
That isn't exactly comforting news for quarterback Keith Price, who is trying
to recapture his 2011 form, when he threw for 33 touchdowns and 3,063 yards.
Last year those numbers dipped to 19 and 2,728. Losing a safety net like
Seferian-Jenkins will be detrimental to that goal, as well as any shot
the Huskies have of getting more than seven wins for the first time
since 2001, let alone competing in a stacked Pac-12 North.
Washington and the Pac-12 aren't the only ones feeling that type of
impact from a key injury.
Even though BYU is no longer a member of a conference, the Independent
Cougars lost a big piece of their talented defense earlier this week.
Returning starting cornerback Jordan Johnson, an important contributor
to the nation's third best defense (266.1 ypg) in 2012, will miss all of
2013 after tearing his ACL during practice.
Though All-American candidate linebacker Kyle Van Noy is the anchor of
the unit, losing an experienced player at such a key spot on a defense
that had only four returning starters as it is, could lead to a drop off
in production and wins. That is especially true considering BYU's schedule
as it faces a number of talented quarterbacks and heavy passing attacks in
Texas, Houston and Boise State.
Speaking of Texas, Mack Brown hired a new offensive coordinator in the
hopes of speeding up the Longhorns' offense this season. The job went to
Major Applewhite, who will have Texas working in a furious spread
formation. That type of game play requires a quarterback with experience
(David Ash) and a slew of weapons for to get the ball to. In that area
Applewhite is hitting a bit of a snag.
Though top returning receivers Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis, are
returning to health from injuries sustained before camp, they have been
limited thus far. That opened up an opportunity for sophomore Marcus Johnson
who had been running with the first team. Johnson's progress might be for
naught as he left practice on Monday with a knee injury. Texas has yet to
release the extent of the injury but losing any offensive weapon will make
life difficult for the Longhorns in the new system.
The Longhorns' lack of receiving depth will get them no sympathy from
Florida State. The Seminoles do have three of their top receivers from
last year back but there isn't much help beyond that. The pool of playmakers
was reduced by one when speedster Jarred Haggins suffered a stress fracture in
his knee that will force him to miss the season. Florida State moved back into
national title contention last year because of its defense and E.J. Manuel
carrying the offense. A new quarterback will be broken in this season while
the defense has just four starters returning. The ACC is considered a two-
horse race between Florida State and Clemson this season. If the Seminoles
hope to keep up with Clemson and its high-flying offense, losing depth on
offense isn't going to help.
These will be plenty of injuries this season for sure. No year goes by without
bumps and bruises, but its the type of injuries that can force players to miss
weeks at a time that can have such dramatic consequences, especially when
those injuries take place prior to the season-opener.
The silver lining, if there is one, is that it gives backups time to get into
gear. However, that is rarely the case. More often than not, the loss of key
personnel for an extended period of time takes its toll on a team and in turn
the win column.
The Sports Network