Backup TEs get playing time for Huskies

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SEATTLE — Michael Hartvigson broke free down the middle of the field and hauled in a well-thrown pass from backup quarterback Cyler Miles during a 7-on-7 drill midway through Washington’s practice Thursday afternoon.

It was indeed a productive day for Hartvigson, and for fellow backup tight end Josh Perkins. For the next two weeks, their continued emergence will take on new meaning for the Huskies with the status of injured star Austin Seferian-Jenkins unknown for UW’s Aug. 31 season opener against Boise State.

Seferian-Jenkins, a preseason All-American tight end, had surgery Thursday on his fractured right pinkie finger, UW coach Steve Sarkisian said.

Sarkisian said he wasn’t sure of a timeline for Seferian-Jenkins return; he was hoping to find out after talking with the media Thursday evening.

“We’ll find out,” he said.

The Huskies are also trying to find out how much of a workload Hartvigson and Perkins can handle in Seferian-Jenkins’ absence.

Sarkisian liked what he saw Thursday, when Hartvigson and Perkins spent considerable time with quarterback Keith Price and the No. 1 offense.

“Michael, this might’ve been his best practice at camp,” Sarkisian said. “He was effective in the passing game, which was good. I don’t know if he’d been playing great; he wasn’t playing up to his potential (earlier in camp).”

Between the two backups, Hartvigson, a 6-foot-6, 257-pound former standout at Bothell High, is considered the better blocker. He has 14 career catches and one touchdown as Seferian-Jenkins’ primary backup the past two seasons.

The 6-3, 224-pound Perkins, a converted receiver, is the more polished pass-catcher, though he appeared mostly on special teams as a redshirt freshman last season, registering one tackle.

“Josh has had a really good training camp,” Sarkisian said. “He’s blocking, he’s route-running, he’s physical when he’s asked to be. He’s a nice element (and) he’s a tough matchup on linebackers because he can really run. I’ve been impressed by him.”

Perkins said he doesn’t feel pressure with Seferian-Jenkins out.

“I’m not going to try to be ASJ. Austin’s his own person,” Perkins said. “I’m going to be Josh Perkins. That’s who I am and that’s who I’m going to be.

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