- 54 tackles
- 2.5 tackles for loss
- 2 quarterback hits/hurries
- 9 passes defended
- 8 pass breakups
- 1 interception
The Cincinnati Bearcats were fortunate enough to have some excellent defenders in the secondary in 2019. Some of those contributors were newcomers but others were more established veterans. Coby Bryant falls into the second category as he provided solid play at cornerback in his second season as a full-time starter.
Bryant was in the starting lineup in all 14 games that the Bearcats played last season and for good reason. He showed significant improvement as a tackler, with a career-high 54 stops. In fact, he outpaced his previous best of 33 tackles with his output in solo tackles alone (37). Those 54 tackles were the most by any cornerback on the roster and the second-most among players in the secondary behind safety Darrick Forrest, who led the team with 106 stops. Included in Bryant’s leap forward as a tackler was his ability to create negative plays for opposing offenses. He tallied 2.5 tackles for loss, which might not be a stunningly impressive mark, but was quite a step forward considering he had never had one before 2019. Additionally, he was able to put a bit of pressure on opposing quarterbacks from time to time, although that was far from his primary objective.
All that tackling would mean very little if Bryant was constantly getting burned in coverage. Fortunately for the Bearcats, the junior cornerback made a numerous plays when defending against the pass. He broke up eight passes and tallied nine pass breakups, although that was two fewer than the year before. Even if his interception total also fell slightly from 2018, he still interrupted plenty of passes and that shows that he was able to stick with opposing pass catchers and read plays at a relatively high level. Plus, if you are in the market for some big-time plays, he scooped up a blocked extra point against Temple and ran it 98 yards to the end zone, providing what turned out to be the decisive two points in a 15-13 victory.
The Best of the Best
Aug. 29, 2019 vs. UCLA
Bryant made his presence felt in the season opener by producing six tackles, including a half a tackle for loss, and a pass breakup.
Oct. 4, 2019 vs. UCF
Although this win faded in its importance a bit by the end of the year, there’s no denying how much it meant in the moment. Bryant was one of the players leading the way, as he finished with six tackles (five solo) and two pass breakups.
Oct. 12, 2019 at Houston
Bryant had his lone interception of the season in this game and also found time to collect five tackles.
Nov. 2, 2019 at East Carolina
Bryant broke up three passes and matched his career-high with eight total tackles, including seven of the solo variety.
For Next Year
Bryant should have as much job security as anyone on the roster, although he will certainly be working with a number of talented players in the secondary. Continuing to provide leadership for the group will be critical but he could make an even bigger difference by continuing his upward trend as a tackler while turning a few more pass breakups into turnovers.