Despite being undersized for the defensive tackle role in the Buffaloes' defense, Coleman was given an opportunity to practice on the defensive line this spring, and he immediately began making plays.
Between spring ball and the start of camp, Coleman put on 10 pounds of good weight to ensure his status as a down lineman on the roster. He now stands 6-foot-3, 255-pounds.
“I feel like I am at a good place. I want to put on five more pounds, though, just so I can bang a little better in there. Guys are huge (laughing),” Coleman said. “I do think I bring a change of pace in there with some of our defensive linemen. I bring a good speed element so it balances with their size and strength very well.”
Said Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre: “Tim has done really well in there. He is holding the weight well and running well. He has had a good fall camp. He has found a home in there.”
Being able to stay out of the training room has also aided Coleman as he prepares for his redshirt junior season. Dating back to his senior year of high school, Coleman has had to deal with a long list of injuries, including a torn ACL, ruptured Achilles and a pulled hamstring.
“It is really nice to finally be 100 percent healthy,” Coleman said. “This was honestly my first off-season where I got to get better instead of recover from an injury. To spend my time improving instead of just getting back to where I was at was very refreshing.”
Coleman has rotated in with the first-team and second-team defenses throughout the preseason. After playing a total of 225 defensive snaps as an underclassman, he should exceed that number of snaps played during his junior campaign, if he stays healthy.
Tuesday practice notes -
*** Colorado State knows who their starting quarterback is going to be against the Buffs on Sept. 2, but Rams head coach Mike Bobo is not willing to announce it publicly. Junior Nick Stevens, the returning starter, has competed with Georgia transfer Faton Bauta and true freshman Collin Hill this preseason.
“I am pretty sure they are going to start their second-team all-Mountain West quarterback (Nick Stevens). That is what we plan on seeing,” MacIntyre said. “If they start [someone else], I am pretty sure the offense will be very similar to what it was because [Bobo] ran the same thing at Georgia. The first game you prepare for everything but I am pretty sure they are going to start their guy that took them to a bowl game, I would think.”
*** MacIntyre said the biggest challenge his staff faces in preparation of the first game is “all the logistics of game day management.”
“We have done it a lot [in practice] but you have new people in new roles, special teams, different situations,” he added. “So practicing that enough that the kids feel comfortable [is important].”
And of course every opponent throws in new wrinkles that can be hard to prepare for.
“There is always an element of surprise in the opener,” MacIntyre said. “We've got new players at new positions. They have new players at new positions. So you have to get used to different talent out there, too.”
*** Junior safety Ryan Moeller was limited recently with an ankle injury but after Tuesday's practice, MacIntyre said “everything keeps going smooth. … He is ready to go.”
*** Redshirt freshman J.T. Bale, a walk-on from La Mirada, Calif., is set to be the Buffaloes' long snapper on special teams this season, barring any issues the final week-and-a-half before the opener. Tight end Chris Hill will serve as his back-up.
“Chris is also a very capable long snapper,” MacIntyre said. “He has been our back-up the last two years.”
*** Unprompted, MacIntyre brought up Colorado State punter Hayden Hunt during his post-practice address with the media. Hunt was one of three finalists for the Ray Guy award last year and he earned second-team all-America honors.
“Watching him yesterday, whew! That sucker can punt it. I was very impressed with him. He is a weapon,” MacIntyre said. “He is from Colorado also, and Alex Kinney knows him really well. So that will be a good competition watching two great legs from our own state.”