Publish date:

Husky Sideline of Inactive Players Was Star-Studded

Among the UW missing for the Cal game were Trent McDuffie, Zion Tupuola-Fetui and Cade Otton.
Author:

Trent McDuffie wore jeans and had a white towel in his hands at all times. Zion Tupuola-Fetui stood on a sideline bench and had a towel around his neck. Cade Otton presumably watched the game at home with his wife. 

On Saturday night, the University of Washington football team in some ways had nearly as much firepower sidelined or inactive as did on the field against California, forcing it to dig deep for a 31-24 overtime win.

No fewer than 15 players were missing with assorted injuries or simply didn't dress for the Pac-12 opener. Husky personnel moves become evident only when the UW takes the field for games because coach Jimmy Lake feels no obligation to share this news.

"This is part of football," Lake said after the Cal game. "We're going to miss guys next week, as well, and the week after that. That's why you make sure you coach up your depth and get them ready for primetime."

McDuffie, ZTF and Otton are all returning first- or second-team All-Pac-12 players respectively at cornerback, edge rusher and tight end, which is a substantial loss.

Otton's absence was a big surprise, with the 6-foot-5, 250-pound junior now in pandemic protocols and, according to Lake, not expected back for next weekend's game at Oregon State.

McDuffie limped off the field against Arkansas State the week before with an injury and his return is unclear.

ZTF is still in recovery from his Achilles tendon tear suffered in spring practice and his subsequent surgery, with the best guess on his accelerated rehab that he returns to play sometime in October. 

Just one player, elusive freshman wide receiver Rome Odunze, made an injury return for the Cal game. His presence was felt when he caught 3 passes for 56 yards. As pictured above, Odunze later headed for the stands to thank the students for being there. 

Newly enrolled Texas running back Emeka Megwa wore jersey No. 21 and street clothes, and watched the game from the sideline. He made news last week by passing up his high school senior year in Fort Worth and coming straight to the UW.

Defensive tackles Kuao Peihopa and Voi Tunuufi were the true freshman who had made the most inroads in their class and played the most frequently, yet each was out for the Cal game. Peihopa had his right foot in a boot and moved around on a scooter. Tunuufi stood next to his linemate in street clothes.

Jack Westover, a sophomore who carries a big load for the Huskies as an H-back and tight end, was in street clothes because of an injury and wasn't available.

Freshman running backs Sam Adams and Caleb Berry often stood side by side during the Cal game, either out of action or too far down the depth chart to suit up.

Sophomore running back Cappasio Cherry, a JC transfer, likewise was in street clothes.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Alphonzo Tuputala has been out with a leg injury since spring practice and nothing changed on his status for Saturday. 

Ja'Lynn Polk, the Texas Tech transfer wide receiver who lasted one play and caught a pass against Montana before suffering a chest injury and having surgery, was a visible spectator.

Carson Smith and Wilson Schwartz, redshirt freshmen tight ends, likewise were not in game uniforms.

Reserve offensive lineman Chase Skuza, who's injured, wore his jersey top and black shorts, looking casual as he roamed the Husky sideline.

Find Husky Maven on Facebook by searching: Husky Maven/Sports Illustrated

Follow Dan Raley of Husky Maven on Twitter: @DanRaley1 and @HuskyMaven