Physical Play Needed, Coleman Says

Auburn defensive end Antonio Coleman and his teammates have a major challenge in their first road game.

Gainesville, Fla.--The Auburn defense faces the challenge of slowing a potent Florida offense on Saturday at 7 p.m CDT at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Gators' offense features versatility from quarterback Tim Tebow, a running and passing threat, and a plethora of skill players who are a threat to break the long play at any time.

With the Gators' speed off the corners and the power rushing attack from Tebow and Kestahn Moore, the Auburn defensive line will have to be disruptive for the Tigers, heavy underdogs, to have a chance.

"Like the coaches have said, we've got to out-hit them," says defensive end Antonio Coleman. "That's what we did last year. Our main focus this week is to be real physical. If we out-hit them we'll win the game. That's an important key to the game."

Coleman has been one of the more productive players on the Auburn defense this year with 34, 17, 14 and 16 production points through the first four games. He'll have the dual role of putting pressure on Tebow and also preventing the big play in space as the Gators have a habit of turning a small gain into a big one.

"They have Percy Harvin and he's an east and west threat all of the time," he explains. "One of our main focuses is to tackle well in space. The key to beat these guys is to out-hit them and tackle in space. We don't want to give up any big plays.

"We've just got to tackle in space. We've got the players to do it. We've just got to be in position to make the tackle and don't give them yards after contact."

Coleman is having a solid start to the 2007 in his role as a hybrid defensive end and outside linebacker. He says it's because of the weight he dropped in the off season after gaining more than 40 pounds during his redshirt freshman season.

"I'm like 243 or 244 right now," he explains. "Last spring I was at about 260. I've got my weight back down and I feel like my old self again. Whatever the coaches say to do, I'm just going out there and trying to get it.

"I can tell overall that I've gotten a lot stronger working out with Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall) all summer," Coleman adds. "I'm just manhandling some of these linemen. I've dropped some of the weight and I've got a quicker step off the ball and I've just got a nose for the ball right now."

The game will be telesived by ESPN as the Tigers look to upset the Gators, who are ranked third and fourth in the major polls this week.


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