Tiger Kickoff: What it feels like to hurdle a defender

MU tight end Chase Coffman describes how he goes over, rather than around or through, a defender .
Friday, September 5, 2008 | 12:15 p.m. CDT
MU tight end Chase Coffman drags Illinois defensive back Nate Bussey during the first half of the Tigers' game against the Illini in St. Louis.

Missouri tight end Chase Coffman wowed the crowd with what has become his signature move after he leapt over an Illinois defender Saturday night at the Edward Jones Dome.

Coffman, who is 6 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 255 pounds, caught a pass near the 40-yard line, avoiding a defender who dove and missed, then cut left past another. Illini defensive back Dere Hicks was in position to tackle Coffman, but made the mistake of crouching too low.

"You see somebody start to come at you and you got to do something to get out of there," Coffman said.

Coffman chose to go over. He ran straight at the 5-foot-10 player and jumped leapfrog-style over him as Hicks lunged forward.

"I just try to do whatever it takes to get past somebody," Coffamn said. "You got to try to keep the play going as long as possible."

It worked. Coffman landed on his feet and started to dash. A fourth defender clipped him, but Coffman regained his footing and moved ahead about 15 more yards before three Illini took hold and all fell across the sidelines.

"To have a guy do that and stay on his feet and drag the defenders out of bounds," quarterback Chase Daniel said, "that's something special."

Coffman said the move was just instinct and he could not help but think, "Thank god it worked."

"Everybody says they hold their breath when I try it," Coffman said.

The tight end has hurdled players before and even tried it again in the fourth quarter.

"The second time a guy got me from behind before I could do it," Coffman said. "Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't."

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is impressed when it does.

"They're good replay shots," Pinkel said. "You just shake your head."

Coffman did not catch the replay on the big screen, but knew the fans liked it.

"It's pretty fun," he said. "After it's over you hear the crowd going. It's great."


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