Here’s proof that the bond between Washington running backs Lavon Coleman and Myles Gaskin isn’t just lip service.
UW was minutes removed from a 33-30 win over Utah. Gaskin rushed for two touchdowns. His first made him UW’s all-time leader in rushing TDs. Gaskin’s second helped the Huskies tie the game with 58 seconds left before UW won the game on a field goal as time expired.
The night belonged to Gaskin. A reporter asked Gaskin to look back on his career and assess how he’s made it work while splitting time with Coleman.
“Hey Lavon!” Gaskin yelled to his running mate. “They got a question for us. Come here.”
From answering questions to taking on opposing defense, Coleman and Gaskin feel the need to do everything together.
It might sound a bit bizarre considering they’re jockeying for playing time at the same position.
But they don’t see it that way.
“We’re teammates and at the end of the day, the most important thing is we win,” Coleman said. “I don’t care how many carries I get.”
When Gaskin arrived in 2015, he made an immediate friend in Coleman. The older of the two, Coleman felt it was necessary to show Gaskin that he belonged at UW and that personal glory or statistics did not matter.
Gaskin, who is from Lynnwood, said his first conversations with Coleman went beyond football. Their relationship developed so quickly that Coleman, who is from Lompoc, Calif., became close with Gaskin’s family, too.
“My job was to teach him the playbook,” Coleman said. “Being the older dude in the room, you’re supposed to vibe with everybody. Nobody is supposed to feel like they can’t come talk to you or they feel intimidated by you.
“The connection was right off the bat.”
Huskies coach Chris Petersen and his staff know what they have in Coleman and Gaskin. At their best, they’re a one-two punch that’s hard to stop.
Coleman, who is 5-foot-11 and 235 pounds, is a bruising back who has agility and speed. He’s capable of getting the extra yard or two which can break a defense’s will. The 5-10 and 191-pound Gaskin is UW’s featured back who is an all-around talent capable of destroying an opponent over the course of a game.
A year ago, they helped the Huskies reach the College Football Playoff. UW (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) is a win away capturing a 10-win season for the 11th time in school history.
Gaskin will finish with his third straight season of more than 1,000 yards. Coleman, who ran for 852 yards in 2016, enters the final week of the regular season with 378 yards.
“It’s never about, ‘Oh, he’s got this many carries. Why did he get that?’ ” Gaskin said. “We’re always playing off each other and sometimes it works out where somebody gets a lot of carries and the other person doesn’t.
“We’re brothers. This is my dude. This is my big brother.”
Saturday wasn’t the first time this season Gaskin spoke about his admiration for Coleman.
Earlier in the year, UW cruised to a blowout win over UCLA. Gaskin led the team with 169 yards while Coleman scored three touchdowns.
The game also allowed freshman Savion Ahmed to rush for 40 yards. Afterward, Gaskin said he considered Coleman to be his big brother and Ahmed to be their little brother.
“They’ve been good. If you’re eyes are on the sidelines, watching those guys from the stand, they cheer each other on,” Huskies running back coach Keith Bhonapha said. “They are just excited any time they get a chance for guys in our group to touch the ball and get vertical with the football.
“They are excited and that’s what a true brotherhood is about.”
Ryan S. Clark: @ryan_s_clark