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Washington redshirt freshman running back Lavon Coleman led the Huskies with 17 carries for 78 yards in his UW debut against Hawaii — including six consecutive carries, for 37 yards, to ice the game on the final drive.
Coleman, mentored by UW great Napoleon Kaufman in high school, spoke with the local media for the first time after Wednesday’s practice. Here’s some of what he had to say:
(on relationship with Napoleon Kaufman) “Me and Nap are pretty close. He kind of helped me as far as understanding different reads in high school. He’ll talk to me on the sidelines, or it was more understanding and appreciating things and staying humble and thanking God for all the opportunities that I have. And just taking it day by day and understanding that this is something earned, it isn’t given to you.”
(How did it feel to get out there for the first time Saturday?) “I felt good. I thought my heart was going to be racing, but when I got out there (for) my first carry, everything kind of slowed down and I really focused on in everything. ‘Panda’ (Colin Tanigawa) and the older guys really helped me calm down, as far as just understanding — just run, just run hard. And that’s what Panda and James (Atoe) kept telling me and trusting everything with those guys up front, I had no worries.”
(What changed on the final series for you guys to milk the clock out?) “I think just the guys’ intensity. Obviously, the will to win was there the entire game, but everything being close made things a lot more (tight). Throughout the season, we’ve been on this whole unity thing and at the end of the game, when everything’s on the line, no one’s pointing fingers, no one’s yelling at each other — everyone’s encouraging each other to get this drive going and everybody’s coming (together) as one.”
(How much of a confidence boost was that final drive for you?) “I just appreciate it. I thank my linemen. Those dudes work their butt off the entire game and just to get that last surge 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. They put their heart in it and moved everything that last drive, it felt pretty good.”