Coman Expects Improved Safety Play

Kivon Coman has played in every game of his two year college career at Mississippi State. Now a junior, Coman is competing for a starting position as one of the Bulldog safeties. The Mississippi State secondary had some issues a season ago, but Coman believes that with some quality reinforcements the pass defense will be much improved in 2015.

"The coaching staff has really put an emphasis on looking at football in a totally different perspective," Coman said. "We're learning a lot more about the offensive side of the ball now. We look at splits and really everything that the offenses try to do. That's helped us a lot, because it's helped us see a lot more."

Mississippi State fans are excited about some talented young safeties rising up the ranks, namely Brandon Bryant, Mark McLaurin and high school All-American Jamal Peters. Coman reports that the youngsters are developing at a rapid pace.

"They're learning," Coman said. "One of the things you know about Coach (Tony) Hughes is that he is going to recruit a great group of guys. He is going to bring in hard workers that want to learn. All of the young guys are getting better every single day. They just have to be patient with their time and they are going to be fine."

A season ago, senior starter Jay Hughes was responsible for a lot of the checks and audibles in the defensive backfield. With Hughes now working towards a roster spot with the NFL's St. Louis Rams, a new leader must emerge in Starkville.

"I feel like me and PokeDawg (Kendrick Market) are doing a lot of that now," Coman said. "We try to go out there and set a standard everyday, because we know we have young guys looking up to us. We're trying to help the young guys on and off the field and we're all working hard to be better students of the game.

"What the coaches have taught us, we are trying to relay to all of the younger guys. We feel like if we can teach the plays and the defense to some of these other guys, we can sort of be like coaches on the field."

Speaking of coaches, Coman and the rest of the Bulldog defense is having to adjust to new way of doing things as Coach Manny Diaz has taken over for Geoff Collins who is now at Florida.

Coman reports that many of the same foundational standards are still in place, but the play calling should be a lot different this fall once the Bulldogs take the field.

"I think we're just more aggressive this year," Coman said. "We're more aggressive and we're playing with a chip on our shoulder. As far as the scheme goes, we're just playing our keys and going out there and just playing football."

The job of a Bulldog safety this year is aided by a pair of NFL prospects at corner, Taveze Calhoun and Will Redmond. Coman reports that the pair of future pro players sets the tone for those responsible for defending the deep third.

"Playing with Will and Taveze is a great honor," Coman said. "I have never seen two guys work so hard for what they want in life. Seeing that every day, just pushes you harder to get the things you want in life.

"Playing with them makes everything so much easier. They aren't young guys, so they think like I think. We're all on the same page."

Some of the issues with pass defense that were uncovered early in the 2014 season persisted late into the campaign. Coman reports that the Bulldog defensive backs have something to prove this season and they are eager to show that those problems are behind them.

"Every time we talk about pass defense, we talk about some of the things that happened last year," Coman said. "We talk about that UAB game a lot, because we got shredded in that game.

"We have put that behind us. We know what kind of defense we were and we know what kind of defense we want to be. We are going to be a better defense against the pass this year, way better."

Kivon Coman is entering his junior season and in the mix for a starting position at safety after recording 54 tackles primarily as reserve his first two seasons in Starkville. Coman is working towards a degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology.

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