SEATTLE – Sixth-ranked Washington will be without starting wide receiver Chico McClatcher for the rest of the season after he broke his left ankle, taking away one of the most electric options in the Huskies’ offense.
Coach Chris Petersen said Monday that McClatcher was consulting with doctors but that surgery would likely be necessary to repair the injury he suffered in Saturday’s 37-10 victory over Colorado . McClatcher was the Huskies’ second-leading receiver with 10 receptions for 128 yards despite playing in only three of Washington’s four games. He has also been used in the running game and on kickoff returns.
Petersen knows there will be little sympathy for the Huskies after they lost their speedy playmaker.
“It’s next man up. It’s part of the philosophy. That is football. That’s how it goes,” Petersen said. “And nobody feels sorry for us at all outside of this building. You really feel for Chico but everyone else is throwing a party when they see Chico is not going to be out there. So the next guy had better step up.”
McClatcher’s loss is a big blow to Washington’s offense, which has sputtered at times in the Huskies’ first three victories before relying on a heavy dose of running back Myles Gaskin to dispatch the Buffaloes on Saturday.
A season ago, McClatcher had 34 receptions for 574 yards and five touchdowns. He also has five rushing touchdowns in his career.
More importantly, the junior was an experienced option on the outside that helped keep defenses from zeroing in on standout wide receiver Dante Pettis.
Now the Huskies’ focus will be on who can fill McClatcher’s role, likely from a group of sophomores including Andre Baccellia, Aaron Fuller and Quinten Pounds, who had a 43-yard touchdown catch against the Buffaloes. The Huskies do have a little time on their side to develop that secondary option. Washington faces Oregon State on Saturday, hosts California and travels to Arizona State prior to its bye week in mid-October.
“The next guy better step up, and that is going to come from multiple guys,” Petersen said. “That is how we do it anyways. It isn’t any one guy and that you are the guy – we move parts and pieces around and see who does certain roles well.”
McClatcher was injured in the third quarter when he was blocking downfield and got rolled up from behind. His left leg got caught in the pile.
Petersen said the school is hoping McClatcher can get a redshirt. McClatcher sat out Washington’s win over Fresno State so the fact he only appeared in three games should make him eligible for an extra season.
“Chico had a really good demeanor after the game – he really did. Sometimes I kind of shake my head and wish I could be that positive sometimes about things like they were,” Petersen said. “It is what it is, and it happens for a reason. I don’t know what the reason is – that is what Chico says to me. It is a good demeanor. He still has a lot of football left to play.”
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