Playing behind Michael Clay and Kiko Alonso, Tyson Coleman had 34 tackles as a redshirt freshman. 3.5 of them were tackles for loss.
Toting up TFLs: In his redshirt freshman season Tyson Coleman was voted by teammates as the team's Most Improved Player. (Jonathan Ferrey, Getty Images North America)
In his redshirt year he overcame a disciplinary incident, and twice was named Scout Team Player of the Week.
While everybody questions whether the Oregon linebacking crew can replace Clay and Alonso, the former two-way All-State star from Lake Oswego has been quietly doing his work, racking up pounds in the Oregon weight room and hits on the practice field.
Coleman's been a beast in fall camp, showing up in Rob Moseley's practice reports almost daily. Coaches single him out for his progress and effort. He's smart and agressive, and has put on weight and muscle, preparing for a move inside after playing both outside and inside linebacker his first year.
At "Lake O," the 6-2, 222-lb. linebacker was a four-star recruit and one of the top gets in the Northwest. As a safety, he made 78 tackles and three interceptions on a team he led to the state semifinals. He was also a bruising prep tailback, toting the rock 214 times for 1,580 yards (7.4 yards per carry) with 24 total touchdowns, and adding 14 pass receptions for 183 yards.
#33 for the Ducks has rehabbed a broken foot he suffered in spring practice. Coleman, more than any other defender, seems ready for a larger role, more snaps and the responsibilty to deliver the hits in the heart of the Oregon defense. They need him: last season Clay and Alonso made 182 tackles between them, recovered 3 fumbles and forced 3, had four sacks, broke up 8 passes. Alonso intercepted four passes, a couple of them with a cast on his hand.
Coleman has great instincts and desire as a linebacker, but the one thing he must learn as the full-time starter and hub of the defense is to control his aggression, particularly with the new targeting rules that include the threat of an automatic ejection. Here's a clip from last season, the kind of stupid penalty that can be costly in a big game:
Filmed this spring, this profile by Erik Elken of KEZI television tells the story of Coleman's progress as a Duck:
I think the defining moment for refs on targeting this year will be exactly what we saw in the video of Coleman hitting Haliday: bringing the head down at the moment of contact, using the helmet as a weapon or the point of a spear. The hit was not that viscious, and seemed to hit the shoulderpad, rather than Haliday's helmet.
What Kiko Alonso did to Collin Klein in the Fiesta Bowl would draw an ejection... lol
Sounds like TC has been working on the mental part of the game. He's ready for the physical side but he has to conquer the mental side.
Actually, there's a better clip of Alonso after that play.
@duckified Pellum should be a great resource in continuing to refine that part of it for Coleman,
Coleman did look terrific in the 2012 Spring Game. Even had a pick six. I think Walker and Coleman will make an effective tandem in the middle. They sound like they're making great progress as I sift through practice reports and interviews with the coaches. Also, sometimes Dargan plays like a linebacker from the strong safety position. I think he is an up-and-comer too, another Duck who was a very positive leader in his community as a high school player.