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August 14, 2012OXFORD, Miss. -- Cliff Coleman, just a redshirt sophomore, has found his footing this fall.
After playing in nine games with one start in 2011, that experience has brought Coleman extra confidence. He entered the fall on the two-deep at boundary corner and has done nothing to give away that role.
Wesley Pendleton is currently day-to-day with a mild knee injury, giving Coleman first-team reps. The results have been solid, as he covered well and brought a lot of energy to Monday's practice.
"I've had a good camp," Coleman said. "(Pendleton) is leading, but he went down a little bit. I'm glad to step up so the coach can see what I can do and try to be a leader.
"We have a lot of young guys back there, with a few veterans. Everybody's just trying to compete for a spot, and we're all working hard and trying to play."
The Ole Miss secondary is adjusting to Wesley McGriff's teaching after a year with former defensive backs coach Keith Burns. The two methods are similar, and Coleman said Burns prepared them to adjust and modify to McGriff's scheme.
Obviously every coach wants the defenders to "attack the ball" and be aggressive, but technique is key to being successful. That's the daily focus.
"Really technique and working on my craft," Coleman said when asked about the difference from last year. "Just listening to everything Coach McGriff says and following everything he tells us. Coming in, watching film, that's really it.
"I wouldn't say it's a big difference (from last year's system. Everything is very simple. It's just man-to man-technique. Every coach wants you to attack the ball. But you've got to have your technique down, have your skills right before you attack the ball."
Coleman has a friendly rivalry with fellow redshirt sophomore Vincent Sanders. The two came in together and have pushed each other recently. With Sanders emerging as a viable playmaker and complete receiver, Coleman has stepped up, as well.
The receiver-cornerback competitions have been some of the more intriguing of fall camp.
"We just try to compete very hard, get out there and talk a little trash to each other," Coleman said. "We're just trying to make each other better."
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