University of Washington

Key to UW tailback Lavon Coleman’s newfound burst? Discarding the ‘Tiger Roll’

Washington tailback Lavon Coleman smiles during a drill at the team’s first official practice of the year Monday, July 31, 2017, in Seattle.
Washington tailback Lavon Coleman smiles during a drill at the team’s first official practice of the year Monday, July 31, 2017, in Seattle. AP

Lavon Coleman wants to set the record straight.

He is not a hulking 235 pounds.

The redshirt senior running back at the University of Washington is a lithe 223 pounds.

This qualifies as the biggest controversy you are ever going to see during a Chris Petersen-coached preseason football camp.

But at the outset of fall ball last month, Petersen glanced at his roster when asked about the 7-pound increase in Coleman’s weight (5-11, 228) from last season.

“Yeah, he’s a big back,” Petersen said. “I hope he can move.”

And just like that, the number “235” became talked about often — much to Coleman’s chagrin.

“You should have seen my face,” Coleman said. “I was sitting in the weight room, and I asked (Petersen), ‘Who is telling people I am 235?’ He said that is what I weighed in at (before fall camp). And I said, ‘You have to change that, ASAP.’”

After last season, Coleman made it a goal to lower his body-fat percentage. So he met with Ema Thake, the university’s sports dietitian.

The two of them came up with a plan: Control food intake while altering the diet.

“I added more protein, and now eat less fatty foods, fried foods, bread and heavy pasta,” Coleman said. “And now when I eat meals, it is in moderate portions.”

Were the changes difficult?

“It is hard,” Coleman said. “I mean, everyone loves fried food. ... Every time I am about to go eat something bad, I think about Ema, and I just go straight home.”

Of all things, Coleman said the most challenging food to give up was sushi.

“I love my ‘Tiger Roll,’ and it is fried,” Coleman said. “When I eat it, I have at least 12 of them. But I cannot eat it now.”

The sacrifices have paid off: Coleman’s body fat has dropped from 7 percent to 4 percent.

And since the start of fall camp, with all the running around he’s done, he has dropped weight, too — to 223.

“This is the best I’ve felt, honestly. I feel very hyperactive energy-wise,” Coleman said. “I don’t feel a lot of burn in my legs after a couple of carries, or after a couple of drives. I thank (Thake and UW strength and conditioning staffers) for pushing me to this primal form.”


Petersen revealed the team held its closed practice Wednesday at Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell, which it had done in the past as well. “It seems to be a little bit hotter (in Bothell). We have no music, no nothing, no people — it is just stale. And it is a really good environment for those guys to have to bring their own energy, and power through some things,” Petersen said. ... If the Huskies passing game ruled the day Thursday, the secondary bit back in a hard way Friday. Redshirt freshman Byron Murphy had two interceptions, including one off starting quarterback Jake Browning. Myles Bryant also picked off Browning. ... The two-hour session at Husky Stadium was the final practice open to the public.