· The Mike Tolleson File
Last season, senior Lamarr Houston continued to excel at tackle after moving from defensive end before the 2008 season. After the departure of third-round draft pick Roy Miller to Tampa Bay, Houston emerged and tied for the team lead in TFL with 22, while adding eight sacks and 28 pressures. Houston achored the unit that helped the defense lead the nation in rushing defense (72.4 ypg) with senior Ben Alexander and sophomore Kheeston Randall combining to add 10 TFL.
First-team All-Big 12 selection Roy Miller anchored the position in 2008 following the departure of Frank Okam and Derek Lokey to graduation and the NFL. Miller amassed 49 tackles, 11 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 28 pressures, four PBD and a fumble recovery. Houston started at the other tackle spot and recorded 22 tackles, seven TFL and 11 pressures, while senior Aaron Lewis split time at tackle and end and earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors.
In 2007, Tolleson's unit was anchored by Okam, a third-team All-America selection, and Lokey, a first-team Academic All-America honoree. The senior duo started all 13 games and combined with Miller for 28 TFL, 37 pressures and seven sacks. Lokey also earned second-team All-Big 12 honors, while Miller was named honorable mention All-Big 12.
The 2006 season saw Texas set a school record by holding opponents to just 61.2 yards rushing per game (third NCAA) despite losing starting defensive tackle Lokey midway through the season. Lokey's replacement, Roy Miller, ended up leading the group in tackles with 39, while posting 3.5 sacks and six TFL. Frank Okam notched 38 tackles, two sacks and six TFL, while earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors.
In 2005, Tolleson's defensive tackle unit helped hold opposing teams to 130.9 yards per game (33rd NCAA) on their way to a No. 10 ranking in total defense (302.9 ypg). Rodrique Wright earned consensus first-team All-America honors along with first-team All-Big 12 honors. Meanwhile, Frank Okam earned second-team All-Big 12 and Larry Dibbles was named honorable mention All-Big 12. Overall, the defensive tackles produced 156 tackles, 26 TFL and 6.5 sacks.
In 2004, Tolleson needed to replace Marcus Tubbs, a first-round NFL draft pick, and he relied on junior Larry Dibbles to team with Rodrique Wright. He also mentored two true freshmen who ended up contributing in Frank Okam and Derek Lokey. The group produced 117 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and five sacks while helping the defense rank 16th nationally (107.4 ypg) against the run. Both Dibbles and Wright were named second-team All-Big 12 and Okam earned first-team Freshman All-America from The Sporting News.
Tolleson helped Tubbs earn first team All-Big 12 honors in 2003. Tubbs and Wright, who was a consensus second-team All-Big 12 pick, combined to produce 148 tackles, 24 TFLs, 13 sacks and 53 pressures on the year.
A number of injuries faced the unit in 2002, but Tolleson honed the skills of Wright, who was a true freshman at the time and posted 13 TFL (No. 3 on UT's freshman list) and 4.5 sacks (No. 4 on UT's freshman list) en route to Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors.
In 2000, UT's tackles helped Texas improve on its defensive numbers once again, limiting foes to just 94.0 rushing yards per game (12th/NCAA). That was the lowest opponent rushing total at UT since 1983. Leading the way once again was Hampton, who earned consensus first-team All-America honors and was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. With Rogers limited for part of the season due to an ankle injury, Tolleson guided Tubbs through a freshman season that saw him post 5.5 sacks (No. 3 on UT's freshman list) and 10 TFL (No. 5 on UT's frosh chart).
Hampton (54/third) and Rogers (53/fourth) both finished their careers ranked among UT's Top 5 in career TFL. In the 2001 NFL Draft, Hampton was selected in the first round (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Rogers in the second (Detroit Lions).
In 1999, Tolleson's defensive tackle unit not only helped UT rank 17th nationally in run defense (105.7 ypg) as compared to 104th in 1997, but it also produced the first defensive tackle tandem to earn first-team all-conference honors (Casey Hampton/Shaun Rogers) since 1971. Hampton also garnered first-team All-America honors and was selected as one of seven semifinalists for the Outland Trophy. Rogers posted a team-best 27 TFL in 1999 (No. 2 on the school's season list).
Prior to joining UT's staff, Tolleson guided both of his LSU starting tackles (Chuck Wiley, a two-time first-team All-SEC performer, and Anthony McFarland) to All-SEC honors over three seasons. He also helped LSU top the SEC and rank 11th nationally in scoring defense (16.3 ppg) and 26th in rushing defense (115.8 ypg) in 1997.
A 1970 graduate of Delta State, Tolleson began his coaching career at his alma mater as a student assistant after graduation. He then spent a year as an assistant coach at Lineville (Ala.) High School before returning to college coaching as a grad assistant at Livingston University (now the University of West Alabama) in 1972.
Tolleson earned a master's degree from Livingston in 1973 and returned to the high school ranks as an assistant at Guntersville (Ala.) High in 1973 and Minor High (Birmingham, Ala.) from 1974-75.
The native of Anniston, Ala., returned to Livingston and served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator from 1976-78. He was defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech in `79. After one season, Tolleson became linebackers and defensive line coach at Arkansas from 1980-83. He helped mold an Arkansas defense that ranked first in the nation in scoring defense in `82.
Following four seasons with the Razorbacks, Tolleson entered the professional ranks in 1984 and spent two seasons as defensive line coach with the Birmingham Stallions (USFL). Birmingham led the USFL in total and rushing defense.
After his professional football coaching career, Tolleson became the inside linebackers coach at Stanford from 1989-91 and helped lead the Cardinal to the 1991 Aloha Bowl. He then moved on to the state of Texas, serving as an assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at UTEP in 1992. Tolleson spent two years as defensive ends coach at Southern Miss (1993-94) moving to LSU in 1995.
Tolleson was a two-year letterman at Tampa University before transferring to Delta State, where he lettered in football and track.
Tolleson and his wife, Wilda Sue, have three daughters, Michelle, Shannon and Heather. Michelle and her husband, Scott, have two children, a son, Caden, and a daughter, Devin. Shannon has a husband, Todd.
THE MIKE TOLLESON FILE
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