The big move

Harry Coleman returns to the Tigers as the team's leading tackler. Yet, with the spring game looming, the senior arrived back from the break to some surprising news about his future with the LSU program.

Despite the LSU defense's down 2008 campaign, Harry Coleman’s team-high 71 tackles carried a bit of merit.

The third-year Tiger had appeared in 39 straight games by the close of the season, mixing in a heavy dose of special teams play in his freshman campaign and safety play as of late.

With his final spring game five days away, the Baldwin native’s future with the Tigers took an unexpected turn Monday afternoon.

“Coach Cooper called me after class and said that he wanted me to get looks at linebacker,” Coleman said. “With the packages we are playing we could use a safety like me at the position.

“Right now it is an experiment, but it could be permanent.”

With 42 solo tackles in his junior campaign, Coleman said that the move should play to his strengths.

“I am physical enough to take on the run and play the pass,” he said. “I like to tackle, and now I am closer to the line.

“The first thing I thought was that I would have more tackles. I think I might can get to triple digits.”

A monster of the midway at West St. Mary High in 2003, Coleman recorded 170 tackles at linebacker, tagging him with the label of one of the best defensive prospects in the state.

Four years later, whether he prefers it or not, the senior is back where he started.

“Today was my first day working at SAM linebacker, and it felt good,” he said. “We go with some man [coverage], but really our packages are more zone.

“It is a lot better scheme because there is more of a chance for turnovers to be made.”

Despite moving from a starting safety spot to a backup linebacker role, Coleman said that the move is for the best.

Karnell Hatcher and Ron Brooks are working at my old position,” he said. “They look good, and I think my adjustment will be easy. Whatever is best for the team, because I just want to win.”

Whether the move is permanent or not, Coleman is confident that not much will change for him next season.

“I am 215 pounds right now, and the coaches like me the way I am,” he said. “At the end of the day, all that changes is that now it is run first pass second.”

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