CouGreat safety Erik Coleman’s 5 takeaways from the WSU spring game

COUGREAT SAFETY ERIK COLEMAN was the color analyst on the Pac-12 Networks for the Washington State spring game and we wanted to find out what stood out to him most. Here are Coleman's top five takeaways.

1. The Cougs have DB depth
“They have more depth than was thought,” Coleman said. “I thought Chuck (Charleston White) did a good job of plugging in at all three positions – nickel, corner and safety.  Shalom Luani also obviously did a great job, getting that turnover and doing what he does best and tackling in space. Jalen Thompson continues to impress, he was all over the field. His upside is very big… I think the safety position is going to be in good hands.”

2. The defense has bought in all the way
“You can see it in how they were playing, the defense has really bought into Alex Grinch’s philosophy, how they were flying around and tackling, not giving up big plays and how they were getting to the quarterback,” said Coleman. “I think you are going to see a lot less explosive plays this season and a lot of turnovers generated by those safeties and corners ... the defense, they’re not thinking, it’s just reacting and flying around to the football. I thought they did a great job pursuing the short passes …"

3. Running back James Williams
“I don’t know if he separated himself but he did a great job in putting himself in position to get a lot of reps this season,” said Coleman. “He does a great job in open space - he –an make you miss or he can run through tackles. And he does a great job of catching the ball out of the backfield. The more things you can do, especially in that offense, that gives you more opportunities to play. I know once concern was probably picking up the playbook, getting down the pass protections and the route running, but he did a great job on Saturday.”

4. The Lines
“The defensive line did a great job with some of the younger guys showing they can play, obviously Hercules Mata’afa played well,” said Coleman. “Robert Barber played well.  And Nick Begg is a work in progress but he did well coming in late in the game… The defense, they were just winning matchups.  I thought the offensive line was solid – Andre Dillard did a good job playing left tackle. Cody O’Connell had a little trouble at left tackle but when he was in there at guard he did well... Once you get into conference play you start scheming for different guys, putting in difference blitzes and creating matchups to expose weaknesses and obviously the offensive line will have to continue to grow as a unit.”

5. The individuals
I was impressed by Tavares Martin, in how he went and got the football. I was impressed by how Darrien Molton competed on the outside, he did a great job in coverage. One thing that did surprise me, how well the two backup quarterbacks played -- Peyton Bender and Tyler Hilinski.  They were confident with their throws, made some plays on the run and did an excellent job running the two-minute drill.”

Nothing is settled just yet but Cougar fans may have the opportunity to hear more of Coleman this year. He is talking with the Pac-12 Networks about calling games this this season. Stay tuned. The WSU spring game was Coleman's first game as a color TV analyst but he is no stranger to TV work.  During the season, he provides analysis on several NY Jets shows during the week on SNY. He also recently signed with Sirius NFL Radio.


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