Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Column: KU WR Coleman breaking out this spring

Kansas receiver Rod Coleman cruises into the endzone past Baylor safety Orion Stewart during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.

Kansas receiver Rod Coleman cruises into the endzone past Baylor safety Orion Stewart during the fourth quarter on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.


Spring football is the season for blossoming and Rodriguez Coleman’s name has popped up so often among coaches and teammates that it’s obvious the junior-to-be wide receiver is catching more eyes now than he did footballs last season.

Coleman showed good potential, a nice blend of size (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) and speed (averaged 26 yards per catch), but had just eight receptions and one touchdown in 10 games, including three starts.

Still, his eight catches ranked him second to Tony Pierson among KU wide receivers. He shared the team lead for the position in TD catches with one and shared in a bad habit, sometimes dropping passes.

“Only two drops in the spring, so that’s pretty good,” Coleman said with a broad smile.

Receivers, Coleman said, are charted for “drops, catches, completion efficiency, explosive plays.”

Receptions of 15 yards or longer go down as explosive plays.

“I have a lot of explosive plays,” he said. “That’s the thing I like best on my chart, my big plays.”

Coleman looked to be on the verge of a breakthrough when he had two early catches in the Texas game totaling 85 yards and then suffered an injury early in the third quarter and didn’t appear again until the season finale.

First-year KU receivers coach Eric Kiesau said Coleman is “progressing very well. He has a ton of upside. He’s very long and lean. He can run. He’s been making plays for us. ... We just have to keep him on that upward trend as we go through camp. I’m excited about him. I want to continue to watch him grow and develop.”

Coleman has more tangible tools than most receivers Kansas has sent onto the field with fingers crossed in recent seasons. Provided he’s not dogged by drops, here’s guessing he has a big season and joins Nick Harwell and Pierson as a starter.

Coleman said his new receivers coach has identified the cause of the drops.

“Hand placement,” he said and repeated. “Hand placement. I didn’t have good hand placement. I was catching the ball inside, instead of extending my hands and my arms and catching the ball outside my perimeter.”

Coleman said he also has learned from Kiesau how to improve at the other end of the play.

“(Going against) press coverage, I usually just go off the line and don’t make a move,” Coleman said. “He’s teaching us how to do rips, swims, chops, just to get the defender off of me. We do a lot of (rapid) foot fire, chopping your feet at the line of scrimmage, get the DB thinking you’re releasing one way, but you actually release the other way.”

Rips, swims and chops are moves used by defensive lineman trying to get blockers’ hands off of them.

“Same thing we do when we’re trying to get the defender off of us,” Coleman said.

Coleman, who wears No. 1 on his jersey, is a talent becoming less raw by the day and having a blast turning into a football player.


John Randall 7 years, 6 months ago

"Turning into a football player" –– now isn't that a novel approach for one of our beloved Jayhawks? After five years of not having enough "football players" to fill a starting lineup, much less provide any depth, excuse me for waiting to be shown what we've been told so many times.

Titus Canby 7 years, 6 months ago

John, I thought the same thing. Where the heck do we recruit these guys lacking in the fundamentals they should have learned in grade school?

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 6 months ago

Someone at KU is having a good spring for football again? We are going to win the national championship this year!

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 6 months ago

I am not buying into the Kool-Aid this year. I want to see what happens when the games begin. I have been gung-ho the last two years and this year all the talk needs to produce. I don't call it being a hater, it is the reality of the program.

Chris Bailey 7 years, 6 months ago

Agreed Mark. Totally. Tired of sipping the Kool-aid. Last 4 years it slowly spoiled. It's pretty sour now so I poured mine out. I'll reserve judgement till game day. I pray we don't have to hear prediction wheels or people spewing bowl game or whatever. Yeah you say it for 20 straight years every once in awhile you hit but the reality is we haven't been good since 2007-2008,

Lance Cheney 7 years, 6 months ago

Well, maybe not the national championship, but the Big 12 for sure.

Brandon Pope 7 years, 6 months ago

It is incredible to me that our former WR coach was this bad. We have veteran players saying that they are just learning the basics of their position.

Jim Stauffer 7 years, 6 months ago

Well, all I can say is don't be upset when you are relegated to the back of the bandwagon when we win games this year.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 6 months ago

Coleman still only had 8 catches last season and this same basic article was written about Christian Matthews each of the past 3 offseasons. The signs are definitely more encouraging with the WR's, but until there's actually in game evidence the WR's applying these lessons, this is a hype article.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 6 months ago

You are basically saying what a lot of us are saying. I am not full-blown Eeyore, but I am not Tigger either lol. The last few years we have been hearing the optimism and now it is time to see it. If I was in Lawrence I would still attend games hoping for the best, but being in Colorado I will turn the tv on and cheer on our boys. I will be hopeful things get better, but until then I need more than what writers are telling me. I am glad to hear the updates because I am a KU sports junkie like the rest of us, but now actions need to do the talking.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 6 months ago

Has nothing to do with joining a bandwagon. I need more proof is all. When Saturday comes I'll cheer us on and yell when great stuff happens. I'll hope the offense scores a bunch and the defense causes turnovers. I've said it all along, at least 5 wins is progress for this season.

Glen Miller 7 years, 6 months ago

All of these articles say the same thing as the articles the last several years...... I need proof on the field, not what some writer says some coach said. I have learned that these articles are about as good to wipe my backside with as they are to actually get excited about. I'm sorry, but to those who say stop being a hater...... I'm not a hater, I am a realist. Some of you should try it.

David Lara 7 years, 6 months ago

Jeez, allow me to take your first sentence and swap "articles" for "whiners" and you will see that you and so many others are doing the exact same thing you are complaining about. Why does everyone think it necessary to say they are going to wait for the proof? Why don't you just wait to comment as well? So you aren't going to get sucked into the positive sentiments from a team doing all it can to improve. Fine. Good for you all. Maybe if you had done that the last few years you wouldn't be so bitter now. We don't need to hear from every single person that got their feelings hurt because they were incapable of tempering their expectations because of some articles. Take ownership of a tiny bit of responsibility for that, please. You want proof? There isn't any. For quite a while. What do you want a writer to do about it? Sorry, this is not aimed at one individual, let me be clear. It's just getting really old.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 6 months ago

So if we were negative the last few years we would be fine? We have had two regimes in the last four years disappoint so yeah now it's siding on caution. People can express their negativity if they want. I appreciate the writers giving us information and I hope we have a good season like I do this year, but like many now there is caution.

David Lara 7 years, 6 months ago

Yes. As I said, anyone who had not simply bought into speculation as if it were gospel would probably not be lashing out at an article. I didn't suggest against caution, I cautioned against the vitriol launched against the article. If you "know better this time" then maybe refrain from reading such articles, but denouncing them so fiercely is a bit silly. To only take the last 2 regimes into consideration is being a little short sighted, as if we never had any bad football before that. This is KU. If you're not skeptical about the football team then I would guess you haven't been paying attention.

Mark Lindrud 7 years, 6 months ago

Pay attention to what? Oh, I got distracted again, oh look cheerleaders! Talk about a way to keep me from being short sighted. Now that is something I won't be cautious about.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.