BY Todd Dybas 04:01AM 09/09/2010

Suddenly Huskies have major special teams issue

Starting punter Will Mahan is done for the year, leaving the kicking duties to a player who wasn’t even on the team when fall camp started.

Washington punter Will Mahan is out for the season following knee surgery. (Drew Sellers/Sports Press Northwest)

Washington punter Will Mahan gently crutched around Huskies practice on Wednesday. He had a large black brace on his left leg. It looked ominous. Turns out, it was.

After being initially assessed as a sprained knee on Tuesday, Mahan’s prognosis turned to disaster on Wednesday. He’s out for the year with a torn ACL and MCL. Mahan, a senior, will have surgery in the next week or two. Washington will pursue a medical redshirt for him.

Mahan was hurt when a scout team player rolled up the backside of his non-kicking leg at the start of Tuesday’s practice.

“It was actually the last punt of the day for him,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. “Kind of a freak accident. It’s unfortunate. But we’ll be OK.”

To determines the accuracy of that statement will be up to junior Kiel (pronounced “Kyle) Rasp. He wasn’t made available to speak with reporters on Wednesday.

Rasp left the team in the spring because he had problems in the classroom. But Washington needed a second punter during the summer, so it decided to call Rasp in for some work. He obliged, and eventually rejoined the team for fall camp after another punter, Sean Halligan from Puyallup High, fell through.

“He’s getting better every day,” special teams coach Johnny Nansen said.

Punting in practice versus in front of a full Husky Stadium are different things. Nansen said he does not think Rasp will have issues with nerves.

“Kiel is a different kid,” Nansen said. “He won’t even know he’s kicking in front of 75,000 people. I’m pretty sure he’ll be fine.”

How’s that for a vote of confidence?

Sarkisian said the Huskies have “a couple other options. Contingency planning.” When asked if the backup play involved place kickers Erik Folk or Eric Guttorp, Sarkisian chose not to comment. He did elaborate that the contingency plan did not involve a kicker.

So, we’ll see if Jake Locker can really do it all …


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