Seferian-Jenkins not yet cleared for Washington
The question remains unanswered over whether Washington star
tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be available for the
Huskies’ season opener against No. 19 Boise State. It may linger
right up until kickoff Saturday.
It’s now as much about Seferian-Jenkins’ health as it is any
possible team discipline for off-field troubles.
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday that
Seferian-Jenkins has not been cleared medically to play in
Saturday’s opener against the Broncos while recovering from a
broken right pinkie. Sarkisian gave no indication whether he
believed Seferian-Jenkins would be cleared this week in time to
play in Washington’s return to renovated Husky Stadium.
Seferian-Jenkins is listed as the starter on the depth chart
that was released over the weekend.
”He’s not cleared to play at all. If you read it properly this
is a post-training camp depth chart,” Sarkisian said. ”He was
limited in this morning’s practice. He has not been cleared to play
physically as of yet at all.”
Whether Seferian-Jenkins would take the field against the
Broncos has been up for debate since the spring, when he was
arrested on investigation of driving under the influence. Sarkisian
did not announce any team discipline beyond Seferian-Jenkins being
suspended from spring practice. The status of the big tight end was
thrown further into flux when he pleaded guilty in July to the DUI
charge and served one day in jail as part of his sentence.
Sarkisian has remained mum throughout and when asked if
Seferian-Jenkins would play Saturday should he be cleared,
referenced his statement made before fall camp started in early
August that he wouldn’t discuss any discipline.
”Come on dude. Were you at my preseason press conference?”
Seferian-Jenkins suffered the injury during practice Aug. 12 and
had surgery later in the week to insert a pin and stabilize the
Last season, Seferian-Jenkins caught 69 passes for 850 yards –
both single-season records for Washington tight ends – and seven
touchdowns. He was a third-team AP All-American. If
Seferian-Jenkins can’t go in the opener, the Huskies will lose one
of their biggest pass-catching options. In last December’s Las
Vegas Bowl against Boise State, Seferian-Jenkins had six catches
for 61 yards and a touchdown.
The doubt about Seferian-Jenkins could also hamper the Huskies’
new up-tempo offense, considering this is the first time Washington
is choosing to go no-huddle almost exclusively. Seferian-Jenkins
was the security quarterback Keith Price often turned to last
season. Price says he has more trust in the others around him going
into the season and should keep the Huskies pass game from being so
focused on either Seferian-Jenkins – when he returns – or wide
receiver Kasen Williams.
”We had a lot of youth last year. This year guys were making
plays in training camp,” Price said. ”Kevin Smith has had a
tremendous camp, one of the better camps out of the receivers and
we’ve had a couple of young guys, John Ross and DiAndre Campbell
making plays. When guys are making their plays it’s hard to throw
it to just one guy.”
The Huskies’ other concern is the distraction this week brings
with the spectacle of retuning to Husky Stadium for the first time
since November 2011. The $280 million renovation will finally be
shown off Saturday night, although the team has been able to enjoy
the facilities for the past couple of weeks.
”It makes for a special night. I think our staff and players
have done a really nice job with the move in because anytime there
is moving there are natural distractions,” Sarkisian said. ”I
think they’ve all handled it really well … and I think the team
is ready to go play.”