August 21, 2007

Notebook: A.C. shines; Fairley gets news

Sophomore Antonio Coleman was primed to earn a starting spot this season.

After backing up All-American Quentin Groves at weakside d-end last year, Coleman moved to strongside end, where he began spring drills as the starter.

But just when Coleman was ready to take a couple of steps forward, he ended up taking a step back.

Coleman, who put on 20 pounds in anticipation of his move, was sluggish during spring drills, not showing the same quickness that made him such an effective backup last season. By the end of spring, Coleman was back behind Groves on the weakside and sophomore Sen'Derrick Marks was moved from d-tackle to the starter at strongside d-end.

That was a frustrating time for Coleman but he's turned it around this fall. Gone are the 20 excess pounds and back is the Coleman of old.

"I've just been flying around having fun," said Coleman. "I've lost some weight and I'm back to my old self."

Back down to 245 pounds, Coleman has reasserted himself as AU's second-best pass rusher behind Groves. It's a position familiar to Coleman and one he doesn't mind one bit.

"Q's one of the best out there so if I had to play behind somebody, I'm glad it's Quentin Groves," said Coleman. "I just try to work hard and when I get out there I just have to make plays."

Coleman has made plenty of plays during preseason camp. He's certainly caught the eye of defensive ends coach Terry Price.

"He's had really the best camp since he's been here," said Price. "He's really improved his speed and quickness off the edge..

"A.C. is a great football player," said Coleman. "Those days that I was hurt, he stepped up and made plays. He's going to be a good player here at Auburn.

"A.C. works hard and like coach Price says, 'If you work hard good things come to you.' He's going to be a great football player also."

***Auburn practiced for two hours Tuesday morning. Tuberville said he was pleased with the leadership of this year's team and how well the offense ran the ball Tuesday.

***The team had to run extra sprints after practice Tuesday after Wes Byrum missed a long field goal.

"He didn't hit it good at all but that's the only one he missed the whole practice," said Tuberville. "We had to do some extra running at the end but that's part of it."

***The Tigers will return to the practice fields Wednesday afternoon at 4:15 p.m. CT when they will hold a short scrimmage.

"It's going to be a game situation," said Tuberville. "We're going to run 60 or 70 plays, be out here on this field. A lot of substitution, a lot of intermingling of short yardage, long yardage situations, kicking, punt team, punt return.

"It's going to be live other than tackling the backs."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!