Coleman returns home

first_imgBEN CLASSON/Herald photoAs Marcus Coleman walks through the tunnel at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome Saturday, emotions will be running high. Not only will Wisconsin be playing rival Minnesota in the battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe, but it will also be Coleman’s final regular season game.The game will be one of the last chances for Coleman to showcase his leadership on the offensive line. “Marcus is the center, he makes all the calls, he’s been a leader for the whole team offensively,” junior left guard Andy Kemp said.Although Coleman is the clear leader for the offensive line, it was not until this season that he started to receive the recognition he deserved. Despite receiving All-Big Ten honors last year, Coleman’s achievement was overshadowed by the All-American honors and first-round draft selection of Joe Thomas.Even though Coleman may not have always received the fame or recognition Thomas did, the fifth-year senior has been a contributor to the team since his redshirt freshman season when he played in five games.Through hard work and patience, Coleman has improved every season.”I kind of sat back for a couple of years behind a good player in Donovan Railoa, and kind of learned from him, and he left, I just took the opportunity and took advantage of it,” Coleman said.In his sophomore season, he played in all 12 games, and started against Iowa. However, it wasn’t until his junior season that Coleman became a standout on the offensive line. Before that season started, Coleman was moved from left guard to center.This year, Coleman filled the position of leader on the offensive line in Thomas’ absence. He is the only starting senior on the offensive line and one of only three regular starting seniors on the entire offense.This year, with all the attention and focus on Coleman, he was placed on the Rimington Award Watch List, and he ranked as the fourth-best center in the country by The Sporting News.Coleman has shown his leadership not just through the experience he brings to the team, but through how he approaches the game as well.”He speaks his mind whenever he thinks things need to be improved or [we] need to pump it up during practice,” Kemp said.Although it will be emotional enough for Coleman to play in his last regular season game against a rival, the Minnesota native will also have to deal with the emotions of playing in his home state.”To be able to play his last game in Minneapolis, in front of his relatives and friends, just adds to the emotion of playing your last game,” offensive line coach Bob Palcic said.Although Coleman was not raised a Gopher fan, he was heavily recruited by Minnesota.”Going right back up to Minnesota for him, it’s going to be an emotional game for all the seniors, and for a lot of the younger guys too,” Kemp said.In addition, Coleman’s Minnesota roots are still there. Although Coleman did not move to Minnesota until seventh grade, he knows some of the players on the Minnesota team from high school and still has many friends who live in Minnesota.With most of Coleman’s family in attendance, the game will have extra meaning to him.”It does me a lot to go in there and keep the Axe,” Coleman said.Despite any emotions Coleman might feel, he will be focused completely on the game.”They’re going to play extremely hard, they always do against us,” Coleman said.Despite the fact that Minnesota has only one win on the year, the Badgers will be sure not to overlook their rival.”They have good coaches, and they have pride, and they’re going to come into this game giving it their very best shot,” Palcic said. “I won’t allow my players to overlook this game, and they wouldn’t anyway.”Coleman has been an example of the way players are supposed to show leadership, and it will be hard for his teammates to see him go.”This is his last regular season game, and I’ve been here for three years, and he’s been a great friend, a great teammate to play with and a great guy to play next to,” Kemp said.last_img

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