SEATTLE – The good news for the Washington Huskies is that the top two running backs on the depth chart seem on track to play Saturday, despite suffering injuries in a loss at Oregon.
The encouraging news is the starting quarterback may be available, even after dealing with concussion-like symptoms.
The bad news? This is no time for a letdown with No. 14 Arizona State visiting. The Sun Devils are fresh off back-to-back wins over ranked Pac-12 rivals USC and Stanford.
Starting running back Dwayne Washington “was out there today running around there with us,” football coach Chris Petersen said Monday.
Petersen said Washington was still dealing with soreness from a chest injury suffered in the 45-20 loss at No. 6 Oregon on Saturday, but he is hopeful the sophomore would be ready to play Saturday.
The Huskies entered the season with plenty of depth at tailback but left Oregon with more question marks than answers after redshirt freshman Lavon Coleman also left the game with an apparent injury. Petersen was more optimistic about Coleman’s status.
If those two are limited in any way, senior Deontae Cooper will be ready to step in. The fifth-year senior has had three knee injuries while at UW, but was able to find the end zone for the first time this season against the Ducks.
“We thought we were deep at it, but we know that it’s a long season and guys go down,” Cooper said. “Next man up and you got to be ready to go.”
Even with a full complement of running backs, the Huskies have plenty to prove. They have struggled with the ground game, with the problems coming to a head against Oregon, which limited them to 133 yards rushing.
“They are recurring,” Petersen said of the issues. “Guys just have to play better. That’s the bottom line.”
Those issues pale to those that could arise if there are lingering problems at quarterback. Cyler Miles left near the end of the Oregon game due to concussion-like symptoms, and while the plan is for the sophomore to start against Arizona State, Petersen said the team will take it one day at a time.
Troy Williams and Jeff Lindquist are vying for the backup role.
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