Cornerback Wesley Pendleton is out for a bit with a tweaked knee, not thought to be serious in nature. But it's allowed others to step in, like Coleman.
"I've had a good camp," said the 5-foot-10, 188-pound sophomore of the first week-plus of August practice. "Wesley 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."
Coleman said it's the attitude of all the defensive backs as they try to play their way into some time on the field in a game.
"Yes we are (competing)," he said of the competition back there among several. "We have a lot of young guys back there, and a few veterans. Everybody's just trying to compete for a spot. Everybody's working hard and trying to play."
Coleman said it's all about following the lead of the coaches and working to improve on what they say, especially his position coach, Wesley McGriff.
"Really technique and working on my craft," he said of what's been happening with him since camp started Aug. 4. "Just listening to everything Coach McGriff says and following everything he tells us. Coming in, watching film, that's really it."
Coleman, in his second season after a year under assistant coach Keith Burns on last year's staff, said there are differences and similarities in both situations.
"I wouldn't say it's a big difference," he said of what was taught last season. "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."
And he expects to see results.
"Listen to Coach McGriff and what he says and following behind his techniques, we'll have a few interceptions this year," Coleman said. "More than a few."
Publisher Chuck Rounsaville evaluated Coleman's camp like this in a Monday report, along with other aspects of the situation currently:
"A cornerback who has worked himself into the picture of the rotation is Cliff Coleman. While he doesn't possess the short cover quickness of Senquez Golson, Pendelton or (Dehendret) Collins, Cliff has good deep speed and he rarely makes mistakes in his short route coverage. So far, good fall camp for Coleman. Another player who has a chance to help at CB in a few more weeks is recent transfer Louis Covington. He's got good short area quickness, speed and he's gritty. Look for him to get a shot around the third or fourth game for some PT as well."
Coleman is impressed with the Rebels' receivers corps, which he goes up against every day.
"All of them are tough," he said. "You have like Korvic Neat, Philander Moore, Tobias Singleton, Vincent Sanders, Donte Moncrief. They put in a lot of work. They work us very hard, and we just go out every day and compete and try to make each other better."
Sanders, the sophomore wide receiver from Macon's Noxubee County High School, has especially impressed this month, and the coaches have commented on it. Coleman concurs.
"What I can say about Vincent Sanders? He's been working very hard ever since he came in as a freshman with me," said Coleman, who is from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. "But his hard work is really paying off right now."
As it seems to be for all the receivers on one side of the ball and the defensive backs on the other. As a matter of fact, they challenge each other, according to Coleman.
"We just try to compete very hard, get out there and talk a little trash to each other," Coleman said of practices. "We're just trying to make each other better."
The Rebels held their first of two practices Friday morning and had what Coach Hugh Freeze called a …