Coleman Continues to Excel in New Role

Duane Coleman has been at cornerback almost exactly a year, and in that time, the former running back has taken to the position like a duck to water. It makes you wonder if he should have made the move much sooner.

"The timing was just right," Coleman said. "Maybe if I came out (of high school) playing that position, I'd like to have seen what kind of player I could have been. But you can't dwell in the past. …

"I probably would have been behind Justin Miller and Tye Hill, anyway."

While a year in real life is long time, in football life, it's relatively short, especially when you're learning a brand new position on the opposite side of the ball.

But the learning curve has been small. Coleman has totally grasped a difficult position is a very short time, although by his own admission, he's still learning on the job.

Surprisingly enough, though, offenses have shied away from challenging him. They even stayed away last year even though Hill, a future first-round draft pick, was on the opposite side of the field.

Oddly enough, it hasn't even happened this season, even with most of the secondary being new starters.

"Last year, I thought I was going to see a lot of balls coming my way, and for some reason it hasn't happened," Coleman said. "It's really surprised me. This year, just being a young secondary, I thought you'd see a lot of deep balls and that teams would try to win it through the air."

Coleman figures it's just a matter of time before teams go after him and the others in the defensive backfield.

"I don't go to sleep out there because I know it's coming," he said.

However, to date it hasn't happened and as a result, Coleman has helped pace the Tigers to 12th in the nation in total defense, 20th in run defense and 24th in pass defense.

"I told you after the Boston College loss, just by playing younger guys it's going to get better," Coleman said. "Each game that they play, they're going to get more experience and start to jell. …

"Our ultimate goal is to be the No. 1 defense in the nation."

But it's still Coleman leading the way in the secondary as he is second on the team in tackles to linebacker Nick Watkins.

Wins are most important to Coleman, but from a personal standpoint, there's one thing that he dreams about.

"I just want to see what it feels like to have an (interception)," he said. "I've never had a pick before. If I ever get one, watch out, because I don't know what I'm going to do." Top Stories