Like any football team, Texas Tech has several players whose performance will be particularly critical to the squad's success. These players, whether by virtue of experience, leadership, importance of the position played, depth concerns, or sheer talent, are especially crucial. They may or not be the best players on the club, but they would be very conspicuous were they absent.
It is the easiest thing in the world to wale away on Texas Tech’s defense, and we’ve certainly done our fair share of that in these pages. But in the name of fairness we should also point out certain positives when they appear. And toward that end, let us here note that, for the first time in recent memory, Tech’s defense should have not one but two bona fide playmakers in the secondary.
Obviously, the first player who comes to mind in that context is junior safety Jah’Shawn Johnson. But as many big plays as Johnson has made during his collegiate career, he cannot lift Tech’s defense out of the mire with his playmaking alone. He has to have some help.
Enter stage right sophomore nickel back Douglas Coleman. As a freshman he earned Big 12 All Freshman honors after recording 26 tackles, breaking up six passes and seven defending others. What’s more, Coleman was the only Red Raider other than Johnson to scratch statistically in all of the following categories: tackles for loss, sacks, interceptions, pass breakups, passes defended, fumble recoveries and forced fumbles. For a true freshman who started only three games to make such a broad-based impact is a fairly rare thing, and it certainly augurs well for his future.
A perfect illustration of that impact came when he stripped Texas running back D’Onta Foreman of the football as the big back was bulling his way into the end zone, and returned the pill 100 yards for a touchdown. Coleman provided a spark that could have and probably should have lifted the Red Raiders to their second straight victory over the Longhorns. Instead, Tech spit the bit losing 45-37. But Coleman certainly did his part to protect The Jones from the ambling bovines.
With a year of college ball under his belt, and further immersion in David Gibbs’ defensive scheme, it is logical to expect Coleman to become an even greater force than he was last season. Barring something unforeseen, Coleman will be a fixture in the starting lineup, and will have ample opportunity to make game-changing plays. In fact, he should combine with Johnson to comprise one of the better defensive playmaking duos in this part of the college football world.
How’s that for a defensive positive?