SEATTLE – Back in Los Angeles, Jaydon Mickens spent many of his Friday nights sprinting past opponents when playing for Dorsey High School. He was simply too fast, speedy enough to make technique irrelevant. Run your slant, here’s the ball, see you later.
Then Mickens arrived at the University of Washington where the hearty playbook was dropped into his arms, leaving him wide-eyed.
“It looked like Chinese writing,” Mickens said.
While Mickens was processing that, he headed to practice and often lined up across from cornerback Desmond Trufant, who is among the best corners in the country. Like most freshmen, Mickens quickly learned that what he did through convenience in high school wasn’t going to cut it in college.
“Just more details in college,” Mickens said. “In high school I could just run past people or drift routes. You can’t do that. You’ll get embarrassed.”
Mickens has the second-most catches on the team among wide receivers, with limited totals of 16 catches for 113 yards.
But, he may be known more for a big catch he made against Portland State that was called back because of a holding penalty or the pass he dropped Friday against Cal. Mickens was behind two Cal defenders and a long pass from Keith Price hit him in both hands and in stride, but Mickens dropped it. Had he pulled it in, Mickens would have been on his way to a 68-yard touchdown.
“I tried to catch the ball and run at the same time because I saw the safety coming at me,” Mickens said.
Still, Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said he believes the 5-foot-10, 170 pound Mickens will become a dynamic player for the Huskies.
“He’s got a lot to learn. He’s just a puppy. Just a puppy running around,” Sarkisian said. “He’s going to be a really good player for us. When it clicks in for him, look out.”
GETTING HIS KICKS
Travis Coons didn’t start kicking heavily until midway through his sophomore year at Mt. San Antonio College in the Los Angeles suburbs. A year later, he’s handling all kicking duties for the Huskies.
“Didn’t really expect it, (but) it’s what I wanted to do coming in from my JC,” Coons said. “For me to get the opportunity to do it, it’s awesome.”
Coons, a junior, was splitting duty earlier in the season with Gig Harbor freshman Korey Durkee before taking control of kickoffs, punts and field goal attempts.
Coons played soccer throughout his life, then began to play football in high school as a safety and wide receiver. He shifted into kicking more at junior college. He’s a solid 6-for-8 on field goals, averages 39 yards per punt and 59.6 yards per kickoff. He’s even completed a pass on a fake punt.
Kicking was an issue earlier in the season for the Huskies, but Coons has improved it. He’ll be important this week against dynamic Utah returner Reggie Dunn who has three 100-yard kick returns for touchdowns in the past two weeks.
The Apple Cup will be nationally televised on Fox at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 23. Prior to Wednesday, it was undetermined if the game would be on Fox or FX. … Austin Seferian-Jenkins was named the John Mackey tight end of the week after catching eight passes for 154 yards against Cal.firstname.lastname@example.org @Todd_Dybas blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports