Indiana junior tailback Tevin Coleman is a money player; just listen to Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson.
"He takes a lot of nickels and he'll get you some quarters and 50 cents and dollar bills out of it because he can make some guys miss and go the distance," Wilson said Monday during his weekly news conference.
Coleman has rushed for 1,906 yards and is trying to become the 18th FBS player in history -- and second this season -- to reach the 2,000-yard plateau. He finishes his season Saturday against Purdue, and assuming he remains healthy through the game, he should not only get to 2,000 yards but blow right past it. Purdue surrenders 190.0 rushing yards per game; Coleman averages 173.3.
As for blowing right past it, it would be fitting if Coleman reaches 2,000 yards on a big play.
"His ability for the home-run play is legit," Wilson said Monday. "It's week after week; it's a couple years' worth."
Coleman has 15 rushing touchdowns this season, and they have covered an average of 40 yards; six have covered at least 50 yards, including a 90-yarder in this past Saturday's loss to Ohio State. In addition, cfbstats.com shows that he has 16 carries of at least 30 yards (second nationally), 13 of at least 40 (second), nine of at least 50 (tied for national lead), eight of at least 60 (national leader) and four of at least 70 (national leader).
"He's fast," Purdue coach Darrell Hazell said during his weekly news conference. "When the hole is developed for him, he hits it."
Sometimes, he hits it before his linemen have done what they are supposed to do.
"Sometimes you'll get out there and he'll beat you to the block," senior guard Collin Rahrig told the Fort Wayne (Ind.) News-Sentinel. "He's that quick.
"We ran an outside play against Ohio State and I pushed my guy out and (fellow guard Dan) Feeney sealed his guy in, and Tevin was already gone. He was 15 yards ahead. I was like, 'OK, not much I can do from here, so I'll run down and celebrate.' "
Coleman hasn't said if he will turn pro after this season. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer might have been speaking for all Big Ten coaches when he told reporters after his team beat the Hoosiers, "I wish him well in the NFL, if that's his desire, because he's a really good back."
Coleman's production is all the more impressive because of IU's lack of surrounding skill-position talent; the Hoosiers are down to their third-string quarterback -- a true freshman who was expected to redshirt -- and opposing defenses load the box in an attempt to stop Coleman. He still manages to put up big numbers, and NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks wrote that "so much production against a variety of loaded boxes suggests that he has the stuff needed to be a feature back at the next level." Brooks also wrote that Coleman has "spectacular skills."
The Big Ten already has one player, Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, who has hit the 2,000-yard mark this season, and Coleman is attempting to become just the third Big Ten runner to reach the plateau; the first was Penn State's Larry Johnson in 2002. This would mark the first time a conference has had two 2,000-yard rushers in the same season.