You can feel bad for Chico McClatcher.
But don’t feel sorry for him, said University of Washington football coach Chris Petersen.
McClatcher, the Huskies’ speedy slot receiver from Federal Way, will likely miss the rest of the season with a broken left ankle, suffered on a play late in the third quarter of the UW’s 37-10 victory at Colorado on Saturday.
“We think there’s going to be surgery and all that,” Petersen said Monday.
The injury happened on a run play with 31/2 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Myles Gaskin busted up the middle for a 5-yard gain.
Engaged in a block in the middle of the scrum, McClatcher got his left foot stuck underneath two players who fell on top of his leg. The junior immediately went down in extreme pain.
A medical cart was immediately called out on the field, but instead McClatcher limped off with the help of two teammates, not putting any weight on his left foot.
“It’s always rough to see anybody go down,” said Gaskin after the game Saturday. “But a guy like that is always trying to play hard, always trying to make plays, always fighting to the very last second, it just kind of hurts.”
McClatcher flew back with the team early Sunday morning, and saw a doctor Monday to figure out next steps.
“It is hard right now, but I think there are a lot of people here (who) play attention to our guys who are injured, and love them up as best as they can,” Petersen said. “But they are OK. They are strong guys.
“I mean, Chico had a really good demeanor after the game, he really did. I kind of shake my head and wish I could be that positive sometimes about things like they were. If it what it is, and it happens for a reason. I don’t know what the reason is — that is what Chico says to me.”
So, who will likely fill McClatcher’s snaps?
One option is the guy who opened the second half Saturday night with an acrobatic 43-yard touchdown catch from Jake Browning –redshirt sophomore Quinten Pounds.
“He can go up and get the ball,” Petersen said.
It also very well could open up more playing time for true freshman tailback Salvon Ahmed, if the Huskies move him more into a hybrid role.
On kickoff returns, the Huskies seem content with letting Austin Joyner and Sean McGrew, and mixing in Jomon Dotson as their returners.
Because it was just McClatcher’s fourth game of the season — and the injury happened before the midway point of the team’s 12-game season — he will be eligible to apply to the NCAA for a medical redshirt if he, indeed, misses the rest of the year.
“He still has a lot of football left to play,” Petersen said.
As far as the status of four players who did not play Saturday — tight end Drew Sample, running back Lavon Coleman, cornerback Byron Murphy and wide receiver Andre Baccellia — Petersen said what he always says about short-term injuries: All of them are week to week. ... As far as the status of placekicker Tristan Vizcaino, who missed two field goals and a PAT kick against Colorado, Petersen said the senior needs to get “back into a groove,” but is not in danger of losing his starting job — for now. ...
Petersen was asked if his players wanted to protest the social injustices going on around the country before kickoff, he said assuredly he would listen. “People care about what’s going on in this country, not alone just in sports. ... If it can help us change and grow and get better, awesome,” Petersen said. ...
The Huskies moved back up to No. 6 in the Associated Press media poll this week. ... Also, game time for their Oct. 7 game against California won’t be determined for another week, but it will either be at 5 p.m. (Fox Sports) or 7:45 p.m. (ESPN). Fox Sports will get the first choice between the UW-Cal game and the WSU-Oregon game.
UW HUSKIES OPPONENT THIS WEEK
Oregon State Beavers (1-3, 0-1 in Pac-12 North)
5 p.m. Saturday, Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon, Pac-12 Network, 1000-AM, 97.7-FM
Coach: Gary Andersen (6-21 in 3rd year at Oregon State; 55-59 overall with previous stops at Wisconsin, Utah State and Southern Utah.
Against the Beavers: UW leads, 63-34-4.
Scouting report: Last week’s bye came at a good time for the Beavers, who not only ended a brutal four-game stretch with a 52-23 loss at Washington State 10 days ago, they lost quarterback Jake Luton (spine) indefinitely after taking a brutal hit against the Cougars. The team has not ruled Luton out for the remainder of the season, but he won’t be back to face the Huskies. That means Darell Garretson will likely get his 18th career start. And Garretson knows a thing or two about serious injuries as his 2016 season ended because of a broken leg. It won’t matter what Garretson is able to do if the Beavers can’t fix one of the worst defenses in the nation.
WSU COUGARS OPPONENT THIS WEEK
USC Trojans (4-0, 2-0 in Pac-12 South)
7:30 p.m. Friday, Martin Stadium, Pullman, ESPN, 710-AM
Coach: Clay Helton (19-7 in 3rd year at USC).
Against the Trojans: USC leads, 58-9-4.
Scouting report: This is sort of a biggie between two ranked programs to close out September. The fifth-ranked Trojans not only come in with a high ranking, but also Heisman Trophy contender Sam Darnold (98 of 146, 1,225 yards, nine TDs), whose play has been up and down. He has thrown seven interceptions, but seems to find ways in the fourth quarter to get his team wins. Darnold has a good rapport with wide receiver Deonta Burnett (33 catches, 462 yards, five TDs). Teams have found holes in USC’s run defense, which gives up 153.5 yards per game.
– Todd Milles, staff writer