Q&A: Tyson Coleman had to mature physically before contributing on defense
Tyson Coleman enrolled at the University of Oregon in 2010 after graduating early from Lake Oswego High School.
Coleman was a 199-pound teenager without any tattoos. Things changed when he arrived on Oregon’s campus. His first tattoo was the name of his grandmother, Marie, right over his heart.
Today, Coleman is a 235-pound senior outside linebacker. His torso is covered in tattoos — so many that he can’t keep track.
Coleman said that during his redshirt year, he needed to physically mature in order to contribute on the field. He ate Panko chicken tenders, spinach raviolis from Costco and barbecued his own chicken to keep his body fat down and his weight gain consistent. But it was playing the game that matured him on the field.
“I think it came through trial and tribulation,” Coleman said. “I needed to grow up a little bit during my redshirt season.”
Coleman sat down with the Emerald to discuss his time at Oregon and playing through two bulging discs in his back for the majority of last season.
Emerald: Your first year you redshirted. In your second year, as a freshman, you stepped in and had an impact. How was that transition?
Tyson Coleman: It was wild. It took a few games to get used to it. I remember my first play was on a kickoff and I got knocked three, four lanes over into another teammate, I got hit so hard.
E: What did you do during your redshirt year that helped you jump right in?
TC: I had a lot of maturing to do. I think, through trial and tribulation … playing behind Dion Jordan and Boseko Lokombo and guys like that gave a really good example of what I had to do if I wanted to come in and contribute.
E: I know you have the Oregonian tattoo on your arm. Not a lot of prospects have come out of the state of Oregon to the University of Oregon recently. Do you feel like you carry the state of Oregon with you, even though you still play here?
TC: Absolutely. There are not too many guys on our team from Oregon. Throughout the past few successful years there haven’t been that many guys that have contributed from the state of Oregon … To only have four or five guys on the entire team from Oregon, you have to have some pride in that.
E: What do you think the difference is in you as a player from last year to this year?
TC: Well, last year I was hurt pretty much the whole year. I had two bulging discs on my back that kind of slowed me down a little bit.
E: Obviously it hurt, but what does it feel like to play with two bulging discs in your back?
TC: You feel a step slower. I felt like someone was on my back, honestly. I couldn’t run nearly as fast. I was probably running half speed, maybe three-quarters. It was frustrating.
E: So this year, what was it like to be able to play free from that kind of injury?
TC: It’s nice. Being able to play at full speed and be flexible – it was nice and I feel blessed right now to be healthy.
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