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Football: Two-minute drill with UL DT Lanier Coleman

Joshua Parrott • jparrott@theadvertiser.com • August 16, 2008

Sitting on the sideline due to injury hurt Lanier Coleman the most. After playing in six of the first seven games for UL’s football team last season, the senior defensive tackle missed the final five games with a shoulder injury.

Coleman, who earned another season of eligibility after completing 80 percent of his degree requirements before the end of the 2007-08 academic year, has the work ethic the Ragin’ Cajuns need to bounce back from a 3-9 record.

The New Orleans native recently talked with The Daily Advertiser about his love for football, his academic successes and his plans for the future.

Question: What do you love the most about the game of football and why?

Answer: My coaches in high school and even here (at UL) always explained to me how much football correlates to life. Sometimes you’re going to move the ball forward. Sometimes you’re going to take some losses. But the important thing is to keep moving forward to reach your ultimate goal.

Q: We already mentioned that you’re a New Orleans native. What’s your favorite Cajun food and why?

A: My favorite food would have to be jambalaya because you have chicken and sausage. As you can see I’m a big dude, and I like to eat.

Q: Last season you recorded seven tackles but tore a shoulder muscle that knocked you out for the last half of the year and required surgery. What did you work on improving the most during the offseason?

A: After the injury, all my focus was on getting back on the field and getting my strength back. My biggest task now is shaking off the rust.

Q: You sat out your freshman season at UL to become academically eligible. You then completed 80 percent of your degree requirements to gain that year back. How challenging was that situation for you?

A: It was one of the things that made me stronger in this journey. There was always someone helping me through the situation. It’s made me a much better person. I’m grateful for the struggles.

Q: At UL you wear No. 98. Why did you pick that jersey number?

A: I came out of high school as a defensive lineman and wore 98. But when I got here there was a shortage of offensive linemen, so moved to the offensive line and changed my number to 77. After my sophomore year there was a shortage of defensive linemen so I moved back. I thought it was fitting to end my career wearing the same number I started with so I changed my number to 98.

Q: You arrived at UL as a walk-on before earning a scholarship before your sophomore season. How much did it mean to you to finally get that scholarship?

A: I think my mom was more excited than I was. I was more shocked. I thought I was in trouble when (head) coach (Rickey) Bustle wanted to see me in his office.

Q: Everybody has something that you wouldn’t know by just looking at them. What is something most people don’t know about you?

A: I’m only 21 years old, and I’m pretty sure I’m the youngest senior. My walk-on status might have been another thing people did not know.

Q: After first playing football as a sophomore, you spent time as a defensive lineman at Brother Martin High in New Orleans. How did you end up playing at UL?

A: After my senior year, I had one scholarship offer from Mississippi State. After Mississippi State changed their coaching staff, (new coach) Sylvester Croom revoked my scholarship. I had a lot of letters from a lot of schools, but most were scared off because of my grades. My plans were not to play football again. I was just going to go to either Southeastern Louisiana or UL to get my grades up and be a regular student. When I got here I was in the academic program, and (assistant) coach (Brian) Jenkins saw me and said he knew I played football. My mom decided to let me give football a try.

Q: Most athletes pattern their game after their favorite players. Which players do you admire and why?

A: I’m a huge Saints fan, and in my late high school years they had a crew of players – Norman Hand, Grady Jackson and La’Roi Glover – called "The Heavy Lunch Bunch." I was really impressed with how strong and quick they were.

Q: At some point you will have to give up football. How has the adversity you’ve faced in your life helped prepare you for the future?

A: After football, I plan on being a personal trainer. Physical fitness and training have always been my passions. Sometime down the line I might go into coaching.