Cougar Duo Loving Life as Future Huskies

Michael Hartvigson knows all about the wall that is Colin Porter. At 6-foot-4.5 and 295 pounds, Porter - who is Bothell's left tackle - is simply a mountain of a man. When Hartvigson, no small fry himself at 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds, lines up next to Porter as the Cougars' tight end, they provide a very nice caravan for running back Luke Proulx.

"That's probably (Bothell) coach (Tom) Bainter's favorite side, with us big guys," Hartvigson said Friday after the No. 2 Cougars upset No. 1 Skyline 25-20 in front of over 6,000 strong at Pop Keeney Stadium. The winning score came with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter, and it was a sweep around left end by Proulx. He found paydirt and the Spartans couldn't recover.

"We knew in our hearts that this was out time," Hartvigson said. He had three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown on the night. "Pop Keeney was rocking. There was no way we could send them home without a 'W'."

Hartvigson and Porter are great friend off the field. In fact, when Porter transferred to Bothell earlier this year from Redmond, Hartvigson was the first Cougar he met. Their friendship grew during a Washington junior day in the spring.

When the Cougars went to their team camp at UPS this fall, the two decided to share a room. Big mistake. Hartvigson was certainly aware of Porter's big game on the field, but was caught off-guard by Porter's equally large wall of sound when it came time to get some sleep.

"That was interesting," Porter said. "I was trying to get some sleep, and every time he rolled over, he had something to say."

What Porter didn't realize was that Hartvigson was trying to employ some strategy in order to get some rest. "I was trying to keep him awake so I could fall asleep first, because I knew if he fell asleep first, I'd be toast," Harvigson said with a chuckle. "By the second night, I had to get some earplugs.

"I thought I was going to die. Good times."

And then there was the night of the Arizona-Washington game, which happened to coincide with Redmond's Homecoming. Since Porter's girlfriend goes to Redmond, he was obliged to attend. "I was leaving the dinner table every five minutes to check the game on TV," Porter admitted. It didn't get any easier for him, as Hartvigson was texting him updates live from Husky Stadium as they pulled out a crazy 36-33 come-from-behind win.

Porter can handle the good-natured jabs from teammates, because he knows the move to Bothell was the best decision for him and his football career. "It's been nothing but positive for me," he said. "I'm being coached by the best coaching staff in the state. It's ridiculous the time and effort they put in."

Led by offensive line coach Rod Schaaf - who puts in a reported 50 hours of film study a week - the Cougars have as many as six different coaches watching the offensive line at one time or another during any given play in a game. Schaaf watches each game five times while grading each play from the previous week's game. "It's about details with our coaches," added Porter. "Every player has a grading sheet and comments. You call tell the time they put in. I feel like we're being coached by college coaches. The preparation is outstanding.

"All the parts of my game have gone up. It's like I'm a different person."

Hartvigson has made his own steady improvements as a two-way player. He's already accepted an invitation to play in the Team USA vs. The World game in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. January 30th. It's a game his head coach knows well; Bainter was an assistant coach for last year's team that hung a 41-3 defeat on Canada last July in Canton, Ohio.

And both have already made their verbal commitments to Washington known. Porter committed June 12th, and Hartvigson followed suit two days later. Porter, who is currently benching 355 pounds and squatting 525 pounds three times, has seen how the new Washington staff has not hesitated to use first-year players. They haven't at offensive line…yet.

"It's difficult, especially at the Pac-10 level," he said. "Early playing time was something that was brought up during the recruiting process. I'm taking it upon myself to get ready to come in and play if they need me. If they need me to redshirt a year to get bigger, stronger and faster, that's where they need me. But if they need me to step in and fill a role, that's what I'm getting ready to do.

"I've been talking to coach (Dan) Cozzetto, and he's been telling me there's no reason I couldn't play anywhere on that line. Everyone projects me as a guard because I'm not 6-foot-7, but he said the best offensive tackle he's had play for him was 6-2.5 or 6-2."

Lately Porter has been taking snaps before practice and has also been practicing snapping with his father at home. "I love it because the center is the anchor of the offensive line and you have the ball in your hands every play," he said. "The play starts with you."

Hartvigson is assuming he'll start his Husky career out at tight end. "Coach (Nick) Holt likes me at defensive end too," he said. "But I think they want me at tight end."

If Porter stays out at tackle, that 'left wall' could be a fixture at Husky Stadium for years to come.

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