University of Washington

Freshmen bond in school, on field at UW

SEATTLE - In terms of normal college life, true freshmen Erik Kohler and Colin Porter have been two of a kind since they arrived at the University of Washington in August.

Same thing for the pair of Huskies offensive linemen in terms of the abnormal and sometimes-harrowing activity of NCAA Division I football.

With senior starters Ryan Tolar and Cody Habben, and key senior reserve Gregory Christine set to play their final game Dec. 30 in the Holiday Bowl against Nebraska, the future of the offensive line will be up to Kohler and Porter, who are expected to be Washington cornerstones for years to come.

“It’s been great knowing there is another guy that sometimes plays right next to me that is going through the same exact thing and feeling the same exact feelings that I’m having,” Kohler said. “He’s dealing with the same plays, the same issues – so it’s just great to know you’re not alone.”

Their backgrounds are similar, starting in high school where they both came from winning programs – Kohler at Oaks Christian in Westlake Village, Calif., and Porter at Bothell High.

They were immediately identified by the UW coaching staff as two newcomers who had the best chance to play right away – and did.

Kohler has played 10 of the Huskies’ 12 games, including five starts – four at left guard, one at right tackle.

Porter has played in nine games, with all five of his starts coming at right guard.

They’ve had their share of ups and downs, just in different ways.

For Kohler, it was coming down with mononucleosis in early October. He not only missed two games, but he didn’t feel completely healthy again until late in the season.

Porter, who played in the second game against Syracuse, has been in and out of the lineup because of inconsistent play.

“We have a special bond and friendship knowing we’ve gone through the same thing,” Porter said. “Maybe it’s been at different times we’ve gone through things, but we can always go to each other and talk to each other about what we’re going through.”

Subsequently, they hang out a lot – in position meetings, on team flights and buses, and over dinner.

“We know the good and bad habits of each other,” Porter said.

So, who is the bigger eater?

“Probably me. I weigh a little bit more than him,” said Porter who is listed at 307 pounds, while Kohler’s official weight is 306.

More outgoing?

“(Kohler) is a social butterfly, I’d have to say,” Porter said. “I just have a close-knit group of friends I hang out with. He’s more of a guy who hangs out with anyone.”

Similar personalities?

“I’d say we’re a little bit different,” Porter said.

But alike in football thinking.

“We’ve definitely built a strong relationship,” Kohler said, “and it will definitely carry through the rest of college what we’ve been able to go through.”

EXTRA POINTS

The team was indoors at the Dempsey Center on Friday for the first full-pad practice since Apple Cup week. UW coach Steve Sarkisian mixed the starters and backups to get the players plenty of repetitions. Safety Sean Parker (shoulder) was in the no-contact red jersey. Curtis High star Rahmel Dockery was in a sizable contingent of recruits in attendance for practice.

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports

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