TTU Football 2019: How Douglas Coleman’s Receiver Skills Has Helped Him

Colema’s experience as a receiver in high school has helped him lead the nation in interceptions.

Going into the season, we weren’t sure Douglas Coleman was even going to start. Justus Parker, a second team Big 12 selection in 2017, and Adrian Frye, a first team Big 12 selection in 2018, were slated to be the starting safeties.

However, with Parker’s Red Raider career ending abruptly, Coleman was given an opportunity. Safe to say that he has made the most of it. He is currently leading the NCAA with eight interceptions (Only one other player has more than five) and has a good shot to be a Big 12 first team safety.

Despite this being Coleman’s lone year as a starter, he’s always had a knack for the football. It started back when he was in high school, when quarterbacks were purposely trying to get him the ball. Even though Coleman is a defensive back in college, he started off as a receiver in a small town in Louisiana.

During his senior year, he caught 62 passes for 1,482 yards and 15 touchdowns, 16 if you include a kickoff return touchdown. He also played some defense (and had an interception in his career), but was thought of more of a returner. Only four schools offered him, with the Red Raiders being the one Power 5 school to do so.

Once we got on campus, he just kept on making plays. His freshman year, he stripped Texas running game D’Onta Foreman at the goal line and ran back 97 yards before he stepped out of bounds 100 yards for the score. It instantly flipped the game and almost was the difference maker in the outcome.

A year later, against Baylor at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, he stripped Tony Nicholson and took it to the house to put the Red Raiders up 21 in the fourth quarter and stopped any thought of a comeback.

Coleman had three interceptions, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns over his first three years. Those stats are even more impressive considering he’s never been a starter. The fact that he’s been creating turnovers his whole career should’ve told us he was going to do exactly that this season. (Music NSFW).

But even with that knowledge of his ability to find the football, it’s hard to believe he would be leading the nation in interceptions.

Sure, some of them have to do with being at the right place at the right time, that’s always going to be the case with high interceptions, but a lot of it has to do with Coleman knowing where he has to be and using his skills he learned as a wide receiver.

Let’s take the Arizona game for example. The first interception, he was tracking the ball like a receiver. Since Khalil Tate overthrows the receiver, Coleman is in perfect position for the turnover. On the second interception (at the 2:25 mark), Coleman is basically undercuts the route and runs an out pattern. The ball goes right to Coleman’s hands.

In the Oklahoma State game, literally the first of two interceptions for Coleman is him running his receiver’s route better than his receiver. He uses his burst to undercut the route and take the ball away.

Finally again Baylor, Coleman runs the same route as the receiver, but in front on him. Whenever Charlie Brewer throws the ball a little short, Coleman is right there to receive it.

Sometimes it’s good to play both sides of the ball in high school, or to coach both sides of the ball at some point. That way, you can think like your opponent and therefore to become better at your position. I’m not sure why more players or coaches do this.

Coleman surely has benefited this season from his receiving days in high school. It might just earn him a Big 12 selection and a check from a professional football team.


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