Kalen DeBoer announces two season-ending injuries for Washington
Washington starting center Matteo Mele is done for the year.
Coach Kalen DeBoer confirmed Monday when he met with reporters that Mele is out with a season-ending upper-body injury. Earlier in the day, offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb revealed that Mele has already undergone surgery.
DeBoer also revealed that backup cornerback Davon Banks is out for the rest of the year with an injury as well.
“It’s really unfortunate,” DeBoer said of Banks, who has now seen back-to-back seasons cut short by injury. “Davon brought a lot of energy, plays with passion, and brought juice to our secondary those first couple games. (He) was playing really good football. You just feel really bad for the individuals.
“Davon, certainly, along with Matteo are guys who have poured a lot into their preparation to play not just this season, but Matteo’s been doing it for many years here. Feel super bad for the situation they have.”
He listed safety Asa Turner as doubtful to play in Week 4 against Cal and week-to-week going forward. In Turner’s absence at safety, UW has started Kamren Fabiculanan. However, he missed the Michigan State game over the weekend as well. DeBoer said the Huskies are hopeful he’ll be available against Cal.
Washington could have used defensive lineman Faatui Tuitele on Saturday against Michigan State, DeBoer said, but with the game getting out of hand so quickly, there was no urge to rush him back onto the field. DeBoer said they expect Tuitele to be “ready to go” for the Cal game.
Also in that category: guard Julius Buelow. Listed as a co-starter at left guard alongside Nate Kalepo on the Husky depth chart, Buelow getting back on the field will be important for UW. He exited Saturday’s win over Michigan State.
Without Mele, UW shuffled the offensive line a bit. Parker Brailsford moved from right guard to center, Nate Kalepo moved from left guard to right guard, and Buelow drew the start at left guard.
The Huskies are 3-0 to open the season. Keeping quarterback Michael Penix Jr. — who leads the nation in total QBR — upright and clean is priority No. 1 for the Huskies going forward. The Pac-12 title hopes, the College Football Playoff hopes, it all goes with Penix, who has been next-level to open the year.
UW (3-0) faces Cal (2-1) at home on Saturday, with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m. PT on ESPN.