In his first media appearance today, redshirt freshman running back Lavon Coleman gave credit to the Huskies' offensive line for helping milk the clock on UW's final possession against Hawaii, and talked about his relationship with UW's all-time leading rusher, Napoleon Kaufman. Both players attended Lompoc (Calif.) High School.
Coleman rushed for 78 yards on 17 carries in the Huskies' 17-16 victory over Hawaii, and gained 37 of those yards on six carries on the final drive of the game.
(Relationship with Napoleon Kaufman?) “Me and Nip are pretty close. He kind of helped me as far as understanding in high school when I’m playing, different reads, he would help me on the sidelines. It’s more just understanding to appreciate things. Staying humble, always thanking God for the opportunities I have and just taking it day by day and understanding this is something earned and it’s not really just given to you.”
(Talk to him much?) “I haven’t seen Nip since last year because he came up here for the chapel thing. He’s usually down there. Sometimes I see him on Twitter.”
(How’d it feel to play?) “It felt good. I thought my heart was going to be racing, but when I got out there after my first carry, everything just slowed down and I got really focused in on everything. Panda (Colin Tanigawa) and them being older guys coming back really helped me calm down as far as understanding, just run, just run hard. That’s one thing Panda and James (Atoe) kept telling me, and trusting those guys with everything up front, I had no worries as soon as it came to running.”
(What changed on the last drive?) “I think just the guys’ intensity. Obviously the will to win was there the entire game, but everything being close made everything a lot more intense. The thing about it is like, throughout the season we’ve been on the whole unity thing, and at the end of the game when everything’s on the line, nobody’s pointing fingers, nobody’s yelling at each other. Everybody’s encouraging each other to get this drive going and everybody’s coming as one to try to get the game won.”
(On being the guy on the final drive) “I just appreciate it. I thank my linemen. Those dudes work their butts off the entire game and just to get that last surge in and get that defensive line moved out of the way and get up to the linebackers, when I know they’re tired and they don’t get to rotate like us, and to know they put their heart in it and moved everything that last drive, it felt pretty good.”
(What do you want to improve this week?) “Individually, I would say accelerating through the secondary. I understand when I get through the line, I kind of look through my peripherals too much. I just want to as soon as I get through there, as soon as I see the hole, accelerate through and just trust my speed and power.”
(On the competition at running back) “It’s been fun. I would say it’s been fun, because I love competition and those guys love competing and every day, someone has a slight edge. Someone tries to do something better. We all race to every drill. We race to every rep. we try to get in there. And it’s just been like a head-hunter competition.”