Coleman and Friends: Physical in Fayetteville

Auburn sophomore defensive end Antonio Coleman talks about the job the Tigers did against the powerful Arkansas running game.

Fayetteville, Ark.--Defense can sometimes be a simple thing. For Auburn sophomore defensive end Antonio Coleman, Saturday's victory over the explosive Arkansas Razorbacks was all about one word. That word is physical.

"We knew what we had to do," Coleman says. "The coaches harped on it all week. We had to stop the run and be physical. We had to come out like we came out in the Florida game. We just got it in our minds. We knew he was up for the Heisman, but not in this game. He's not going to win it in our game. We just had that mindset coming into the game to play physical."

Coming into Saturday night's contest, tthe duo of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones were averaging over 400 yards of all-purpose yards per game and a combined 282 rushing yards. Last season the Razorbacks ran through the Tigers for 279 yards in a 27-10 victory on the Plains, something Coleman says defensive coordinator Will Muschamp didn't let them forget this week.

"It was a big challenge," Coleman says. "We harped on it all week. As soon as we won that game against Vanderbilt last week our mind was on Arkansas. The coaches talked about how they ran the ball at us last year. I guess when we saw the picture of their coach in the stands leading the band that gave us that physical mindset. We came out and did what we had to do.

"We started off kind of slow at the beginning of the season, but that's our mindset now," he adds. "That's how we practice. It's how we live. Everything we do is physical."

Physical is the word that has been used to describe Auburn sophomore linebacker Tray Blackmon since he was one of the most highly recruited players coming out of the state of Georgia three years ago. Saturday night the "little ball of hate" lived up to his nickname with nine tackles and several big hits. Even though the Tigers are still banged up with Quentin Groves, Aairon Savage and Merrill Johnson all still out of action on defense, Coleman says it was big to get number 10 back out there.

"He had a great game," Coleman says of Blackmon. "We had missed him. Hopefully we'll get Q (Groves) back next week. We're just coming together as a unit. That makes it even more fun that we're still not full strength. We've got Q coming back and Savo (Aairon Savage) is still hurt. It's was just great to have Tray back."

In the end Auburn's defense wasn't perfect as the Tigers gave up a late touchdown that could have sealed their fate after playing such a great game, but just like good teams do the offense came through to win the game at the end with a field goal. Coleman says that's just a mark of what this team has at the moment and it says something for the growth of the Tigers.

"Coming down to that last drive on a call I was supposed to fit a play and I fit the wrong way," Coleman says. "I take the blame for that. They gashed us for a big run. We had confidence in our offense all day. They kept on chopping and kept on chopping. We knew they were going to come through for us. We gave up the touchdown at the end, but they came back for us and had our backs just like we had their back the whole game."

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