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Baylor Offensive Player to Watch: WR Corey Coleman

Can the Frogs keep Coleman from seeing the end zone for the third week in a row?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It's Baylor week, y'all.  And I get to tell you all about Baylor's favorite wide receiver, Corey Coleman.  There are a lot of parts and pieces to Coleman, so I've broken it all down into three categories:

The Good

Corey Coleman grew up on the streets of Oak, literally.  He played football in the street amid gunshots and violence, with a caring mother and two sisters.  His father is now serving a sentence for drug possession until 2021, but Coleman still maintains a relationship with him through letters.  No one would've blamed him for making bad decisions and ending up in a very different place in life, given his circumstances.  Instead, he's a great example of someone who overcame what life dealt him and prospered.  So for that, I applaud him.  And his mother.  Mostly his mother.

Coleman has 66 receptions this season for 1,306 yards so far.  His longest reception was a crazy-long 81 yards, and he's also got 20 touchdowns.  He's already broken the Baylor season record for TDs this year, and he's aiming for the NCAA season record of 27 TDs.  He's worked himself into the Heisman conversation, though he claims he hasn't paid much attention to it, since WRs don't often win the award.

Coleman is quick.  He clocked a 4.38 40-yard dash, and his vertical jump of 45.1 inches doesn't hurt, either.  He prides himself on beating opposing players to the ball, whether through speed or jumping clear over their heads to make an outrageous catch.

In 7 of 10 games this season, Coleman totaled 100 yards or more per game (we'll talk about those other 3 games later).  He had 1,093 yards total, averaging more than 156 yards per game.  His highest was 11 receptions for 216 yards at Kansas State.

Coleman has been an All-America Candidate, and he's currently a Biletnikoff Award Candidate, along with our own Josh Docston.

The Bad

Iowa State, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State seem to have figured out how to corral Coleman.  In a 45-27 victory over Iowa State, the Cyclones were able to limit Coleman to 6 receptions for 85 yards, with his longest just 36 yards.  He managed 3 rush attempts for 17 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Oklahoma held him to just 3 receptions for 51 yards total, with a big, fat ZERO touchdowns in the 44-34 loss.  And even though the Bears turned the tables on the undefeated OSU Cowboys last weekend with a 45-35 win, the Pokes kept Coleman to just 5 receptions for 77 yards.  His longest was 48 yards, but he never got into the endzone.  But that reception did lead to a 5-yard TD by Shock Linwood.

So how did the Oklahoma teams tie up Coleman for an entire game?  Perfect coverage.  After the game, Coleman gave the OU defense credit, saying, "They game-planned well for me with coverages.  Some times, I was getting triple-teamed.  They had the linebacker running to the flat, a safety at 6 or 7 yards [off the ball] and then another safety over the top."

The Ugly

Coleman seems to have a temper.  While he's been touted for his "win at everything" spirit, he has quite a mouth on the field. He berates opposing players for trying to jam him up, and Baylor's athletic Director says Coleman tries to "destroy" players for believing they can beat him.  "If you act like you think he can, that's when the beast comes out," he told Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated.  Art Briles says, "He'll rip your heart out and watch you pass away."  He's so competitive that he demanded off-season team conditioning competitions be filmed to prove his own teammates weren't cheating when they beat him.  Coleman seems to take winning to an unhealthy level, calling out teammates he doesn't believe are working hard enough, and retreating to his room for the remainder of the day after he drops a couple of passes at practice.  While many use words like "competitiveness" and "personal standards" to describe this attitude, I see it as a weakness.  Yes, it may have gotten Coleman out of the projects, but it can be used against him.

Fire him up by keeping him out of the end zone, and he'll probably let his temper get the best of him, because he just doesn't seem to know when to quit.

Heck, he seems to run his mouth even after he beats you to the ball.  Bring on the personal foul calls and an extra 15 yards.

And then there was this.  After breaking Baylor's all-time receiving TD record against Iowa State, Coleman showed up to the press conference shirtless, leading to all kinds of social media commentsBriles said he "didn't know anything about it" until the day after, and that "it's not something that if I would have known would have happened."  Ummmm, huh?? OK, so I'm pretty sure Briles was saying that he wouldn't let Coleman go shirtless if he had known about it, but I'm not really sure how he made it past Baylor coaches, teammates, and staff, and walked into a press conference filled with professionals without someone noticing he lacked a certain piece of clothing.

It's clear that Coleman has talent coming out of his ears, and I applaud him for getting to where he is today.  He's a good example of how to overcome the hardships life puts in front of you and remain focused on your goals.  But as a classy representative of a private school with a good football program, he has a lot to learn.  The Bears' last two games have had very different endings, but the message is clear: Coleman can be defended.  I've said it all season, and I've never meant it more:  The Frogs cannot let him get behind them. If the defense wants to take some pressure off of our offense and not make it a game of catch-up, they need to:

block and tackle,

run faster,

and jump higher than him.

If the Sooners and Cowboys can do it, so can we.  I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Baylor Week, Frog Fans.  See you Friday.