Changes Good For Young Auburn Defender

Redshirt freshman defensive end Antonio Coleman has been playing well in practice lately and is making a strong push for playing time and possibly a starting role.

Auburn, Ala.--A year ago Antonio Coleman reported to preseason practice as a true freshman weighing 210 pounds.

Now as a redshirt freshman, Coleman is unrecognizable to his old self. Not only has he changed jersey numbers from 46 to 52, he has also gained what looks like a ton of weight.

"About 46 pounds," he says. "I got up to 256. In two-a-days you lose a couple of pounds though. The heat is whooping me, but I've just got to keep my head up and keep going."

Now wearing a "prettier number," Coleman has been tough to block through the first week of practice.

"I just didn't like it," he says of his old number 46, which is now worn by freshman linebacker Craig Stevens. "It didn't have good feel. It wasn't pretty and it didn't have a good feel. I love 52."

The new number and added weight have worked out well for Coleman, who has made his way up the depth chart and earned him playing time with the first unit.

"I ran first team because the coaches switched up the depth charts," he notes. "The depth charts are all based on production and I think I've produced a lot so they had me running first team. Realistically, I'm running second team and we (Coleman and Quentin Groves) are switching out. I just have to keep on working."

Coleman is one of the tougher defenders when the Tigers work on one on one pass rush because of his quickness. "I've put on 46 pounds so I thought I might have lost it," he says. "Working out all summer with Coach Yox and staying loose I haven't lost a step. I can still get after it."

With Will Muschamp's new defensive scheme, Coleman has to drop into pass coverage from time to time as well as his duties in pass rush and run stop.

"We're blitzing and dropping and giving them a different look," he says. "It's tough, but I've got to do it. It's a hard position to learn."

Coleman figured to be a pass rushing specialist just last year, but if he continues to play with the same intensity and develop his all-around game he will be able to help the team in many ways.

The Tigers were off on Monday and return to practice at 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday for the first two-a-days practice of preseason.

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