Coleman Looking For More After First Picks

After finally getting his first two collegiate interceptions Sept. 20 against Troy, junior safety Kurt Coleman wants to keep up the pace – and stay ahead of teammate Malcolm Jenkins in their friendly competition.

Junior safety Kurt Coleman didn't need to be reminded that he did not have a collegiate interception heading into the Sept. 20 game against Troy.

Malcolm Jenkins was there to remind him. Constantly.

The two defenders are part of a season-long completion on who can get the most interceptions. Jenkins went into the game against Troy with a 1-0 lead thanks to a pick Sept. 6 against Ohio.

"Going into the week throughout practice, he kept letting me know he was winning the bet," Coleman said. "I was telling him, ‘You only have one. You only have one.' "

The Clayton Northmont product had a solid sophomore season as a first-year starter, posting the third-best team mark in tackles with 64. He also had 3.5 tackles for a loss and forced a fumble. However, he did not make a single interception.

That is until the Sun Belt's Trojans came to town. Coleman literally stole an interception away from a would-be Troy receiver in the second quarter. Later in the game, Coleman added another when he made an acrobatic catch of a Jamie Hampton pass at the OSU 7. Coleman leapt to catch the ball, but landed on his head when senior linebacker James Laurinaitis accidentally took Coleman's feet out from under him.

"I was seeing some things for a second," Coleman said. "After I realized that I was OK to stand up and get to the sideline, my headache went away and I was ready to go."

Coleman said he and the rest of the defense have put an emphasis on making plays and forcing turnovers.

"Going into the season we knew we had to get turnovers," Coleman said. "Once the ball's in the air, it has to be ours. Luckily I was able to get two.

"We have to stay with the same focus and mentality that we're going to get (turnovers). We have to get more. We have to."

Coleman admitted that he puts pressure on himself to force takeaways. Despite a solid '07 campaign, he felt he needed to do more in 2008.

"That was one of the biggest areas of concern for me because I felt like I could make some plays but I wasn't making them," Coleman said. "I went back and watched film and tried to figure out what I was doing wrong and what I needed to do right.

In addition to having coaches and teammates helping him improve, Coleman also had the ears of former Buckeyes Will Allen and Mike Doss. Coleman credited both for helping his progress, especially Doss, who has been at many Ohio State practices this season.

"I see him in the weight room, and it's always good to have him around," Coleman said. "I can go to him if I need to figure out what's going on. He'll help me break down film. He's made me a better player and I appreciate it."

Even though Coleman finally his first interception, the pressure is still on.

"I've got to approach (the next game) the same way I did last weekend," Coleman said. "I've still got to make big plays. Just because I did last week doesn't mean I can go easy this week. I'm going to put pressure on myself to make big plays."

Safeties coach Paul Haynes said that was the right attitude for Coleman to take.

"The big thing he needs to do is keep progressing," Haynes said. "He made two good plays last week and it's great to see him make those plays. He needs to keep pushing and keep going and keep getting better.

"When you get two, you've got to keep getting two. With that weight that he thinks he got off, he just put more on because people are going to expect it."

For now, Coleman is just happy to give Jenkins, a noted trash talker, a taste of his own medicine.

"I've been giving him some grief and saying, ‘Guess who's winning the competition?,' " Coleman said. "He said there's still a long season to go."

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