Justin Coleman not dwelling on freshman mistake

Jim Chaney: What the Vols need to improve before Cincinnati

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There weren't enough stern lectures throughout spring camp and the preseason to prepare cornerback Justin Coleman for the repercussions of his first on-field blunder.

The Tennessee freshman just had to experience it firsthand.

"Coming from high school, you can make mistakes and get away with it," secondary coach Terry Joseph said. "At this level, it's going to be points on the board.

"You can say it in practice, you can say it in scrimmages, but until it goes up in front of about 95,000 and on national TV, it won't hit home for him."

In the second quarter of Saturday's 42-16 victory over Montana, Coleman was exposed and burned on an 80-yard touchdown catch by Jabin Sambrano. It was the lone big play surrendered by a UT secondary that prided itself on bending, but not breaking, all throughout the preseason.

On Monday, coach Derek Dooley put it simply: Coleman was "initiated."

It was how Coleman responded to that initiation, both in the game and at practice during the week, that's made Joseph and defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox confident that he's not dwelling on it.

"You have a short-term memory playing defensive back, especially in the SEC," Joseph said. "He's been fine in practice, he was fine in the game.

"I think what it taught him, it got his attention that hey, one minor slip-up in the details and you can give up a big play."

Junior safety Prentiss Waggner noticed the same thing. The secondary's most experienced veteran, Waggner said he would ask Coleman a question or two after every defensive series to see if his head was spinning.

In Sunday's film session, Waggner said Coleman was asked to field more questions than usual.

"I don't really like being in a player's head too much, because I think that gets them out of their comfort level," Waggner said. "He told me he was feeling good after that big play Montana made, so that's progress."

Progress is what UT's coaches have seen from Coleman ever since he enrolled in January. He made multiple big plays in the Orange and White game and he fended off a handful of veterans to earn his starting job before the season opener.

Coleman will see the field plenty against Cincinnati on Saturday (TV: ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.) and, in all likelihood, will make a few more mistakes. That's OK, Wilcox said, just so long as he's as quick to forget about them as he has been this past week.

"At that position, everybody sees it. That's just part of playing there," Wilcox said. "We're not down on him at all.

"Justin's demeanor and his make-up is such that we expect him to continue to grow and learn from those (mistakes)."

Health Update: One day after he was out because "his tummy hurt," defensive tackle Malik Jackson was back at practice Wednesday and did not appear to be limited by the stomach virus that sidelined him Tuesday and subsequently frustrated Dooley.

Defensive tackle Maurice Couch, who is nursing a sprained MCL in his knee, was "integrated a little bit better" but is still considered "day to day," Dooley said.

Pleasantly Surprised: Asked if he was particularly pleased with one of the nine players he used on the defensive line Saturday, coach Lance Thompson singled out Couch.

Couch didn't show up much on the stat sheet, finishing with just an assist before he sat out the fourth quarter with his knee injury, but his presence was felt on run plays.

"Mo did some really good things, especially for a first time out on this kind of stage, and I was really pleased with Mo," Thompson said. "He's a force in the run game. A lot of times, you don't see what a guy in there does. But if he's taking up two blockers and we've got a free 'backer or a free second-level player, that's a good job."

Pick-Six Minded: The Vols (1-0) ran back four interceptions for touchdowns last season and, after Art Evans took one back 37 yards for a score Saturday, are on pace for 12 in 2011.

Joseph said it's something he focuses on with the secondary during practice.

"We kind of feel if we can score on defense, our chance of winning goes up tremendously," Joseph said. "We do it in practice and we reward them and we make a big deal out of it."

Joseph said there are a few basic rules players must follow whenever one of their teammates intercepts a pass.

"We look for the quarterback because we want to get him on the ground first," Joseph said. "We want to get to the near sideline and then from there it's all about athletic ability."

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Comments » 17

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctors freshman mistake something like waking up in the "fat" sorority house after a kegger. Witch Doctor say same advice....dont look back.
Bones never lie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Mama_Calls_Me_Precious:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor pretty sure you never been near one unless they now have a "Cosmetology one. lol
Bones never lie.
*What happened you your other moniker? ;0

iadvol writes:

Keggers, sorority girls, drinking on the strip, running from the police, fighting on the strip..wow, those were the days..oh well, back to work and the family..GBO!

VolinCalif writes:

in response to iadvol:

Keggers, sorority girls, drinking on the strip, running from the police, fighting on the strip..wow, those were the days..oh well, back to work and the family..GBO!

Gee here I thought it was drinking and stripping.

xvolx writes:

I can't believe Dooley said that. You stick your head in a toilet all night or sit on one until your dehydrated and see if you feel like practice. If Jackson said he was sick and couldn't practice, take his word for it. He didn't come to UT to deceive. He came to UT to make himself a better man.

VOLliven2it writes:

Freshmen will make mistakes and freshmen get over it then move on. Justin Coleman will make far more good than bad plays when this season is completed. It is better to happen in a game like last Sat. than later on. Remember it big guy and hang tough.

freevol writes:

working in northern mn not much enthusasiam here about cfb although the golden gophers almost upset the kiffs not much cfb news here nice to read some posts from the WITCH DOCTOR bones never lie no matter how cold it is.GO VOLS

LJS1984 writes:

I HATE TO BE negative about a young kid, but I had an eye on Coleman from the opening play of the game. He wasn't very hard to miss, he couldn't get off of blocks on run plays and time and again was targeted and exposed by Montana. Not sure what the coaches see in him so far in his young career? Looked way too young to be on the field to me. Not to say that he won't be great, but if we are so deep in the secondary I was wondering why he was on the field as a true freshman, and after watching him almost every play I wondered why he was on the field?

VolGrad writes:

in response to xvolx:

I can't believe Dooley said that. You stick your head in a toilet all night or sit on one until your dehydrated and see if you feel like practice. If Jackson said he was sick and couldn't practice, take his word for it. He didn't come to UT to deceive. He came to UT to make himself a better man.

Wound a little tight there, eh?

civilianvol_formerly_marinevol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor pretty sure you never been near one unless they now have a "Cosmetology one. lol
Bones never lie.
*What happened you your other moniker? ;0

OK Doc, the rest of us posters are a little jealous. How do you rate having your own stalker? Did you ever think that this might be one of the girls from the fat sorority house? You must have tip-toed out (carrying your shoes and clothes) without kissing her goodbye.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

OK Doc, the rest of us posters are a little jealous. How do you rate having your own stalker? Did you ever think that this might be one of the girls from the fat sorority house? You must have tip-toed out (carrying your shoes and clothes) without kissing her goodbye.

Witch Doctor say he soo wishes he was me. lol
Bones never lie.

Volunatic writes:

in response to civilianvol_formerly_marinevol:

OK Doc, the rest of us posters are a little jealous. How do you rate having your own stalker? Did you ever think that this might be one of the girls from the fat sorority house? You must have tip-toed out (carrying your shoes and clothes) without kissing her goodbye.

I heard he had to "coyote"-- he chewed his own arm off to keep from waking the fat chick up. Then he used some sort of crazy voodoo to reattach it. I think WD herbs were involved.

Volunatic writes:

in response to LJS1984:

I HATE TO BE negative about a young kid, but I had an eye on Coleman from the opening play of the game. He wasn't very hard to miss, he couldn't get off of blocks on run plays and time and again was targeted and exposed by Montana. Not sure what the coaches see in him so far in his young career? Looked way too young to be on the field to me. Not to say that he won't be great, but if we are so deep in the secondary I was wondering why he was on the field as a true freshman, and after watching him almost every play I wondered why he was on the field?

I only saw Justin Coleman make the one mistake against MT. Coaches Wilcox and Joseph have essentially said the same thing. Maybe you were seeing a different player being targeted by the Grizzlies-- perhaps number 25?
Coleman would have been my pick for MVP in the O&W game. I see no need to bench him after one bad play.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Witch Doctor agree they change their names but still same ole passive-aggressive whines. lol.
Bones never lie.

FEARinSEC writes:

Coleman will be fine and will end up being a good one for us.
Unfortunately, not all freshman can be Eric Berry types, those are few and far between.
I hate that armchair coaches like LJS1984 have to bash on an 18 year old kid. It's actually very sad and quite pathetic!

hueypilot writes:

in response to FEARinSEC:

Coleman will be fine and will end up being a good one for us.
Unfortunately, not all freshman can be Eric Berry types, those are few and far between.
I hate that armchair coaches like LJS1984 have to bash on an 18 year old kid. It's actually very sad and quite pathetic!

Eric Berry got thrown into the fire at Cal and he, too got burned going up against Marshawn Lynch and Desean Jackson. Pretty tough adjustment from HS and don't think it won't get tougher with him having to defend guys like Alshown Jeffrey. But he didn't come to Tennessee to sit on the bench so I'm glad for him and he must be better than the rest or he wouldn't be starting.

Crutch writes:

in response to Volunatic:

I only saw Justin Coleman make the one mistake against MT. Coaches Wilcox and Joseph have essentially said the same thing. Maybe you were seeing a different player being targeted by the Grizzlies-- perhaps number 25?
Coleman would have been my pick for MVP in the O&W game. I see no need to bench him after one bad play.

Actually I have to side with LJS here. I saw Coleman get taken down pretty easy when it came to being blocked on the perimeter. I know he is a freshman, but I would hope he is able to disrupt the play a little longer to allow the backers or safties to get there. He obviously wasn't a huge liability or he wouldn't be getting the praise he is getting! Go Vols!

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