Coleman shines in first start for Trojans

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 1, 2001

Sports Editor

Damien Coleman never thought he’d end up at Troy State.

His original plan was to attend his home state university, the University of Georgia, but when Trojans’ offensive line coach Greg Adkins made the move to TSU during the offseason, Coleman decided to follow.

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"I wanted to go where Coach Adkins went," said Coleman, a four-year defensive standout at Swainsboro High School.

And Troy State defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt is glad Coleman did.

Last Saturday in the Trojans’ 20-17 win over Southern Utah, Coleman earned his first official start at Troy State. Coleman started at strong safety in place of junior Rayshun Reed, who was moved into the free safety slot.

"We felt that Damien was a bit more physical player and we’d need that against their running game," said Bolt. "We’re pleased with Damien’s play and he’s only going to get better the more reps he gets in."

Bolt should be pleased.

Coleman turned in a 10-tackle performance, which included five solo.

"It felt good," said Coleman about his first game as a starter. "I’m surrounded by so much talent with Rayshun, Deiric Jackson and Freeman White, that I was honored to start with those guys. Coach (Bolt) said that he thought I was one of the more physical players and he wanted me out there to help stop the run."

Coleman said the atmosphere change from high school to college was a "shock."

"There was new people I had to get to know and it was a shock," he said. "I never thought I’d get a chance to come to a Division 1-A school (on scholarship), but I’m glad I came here now."

Reed who played cornerback last season is also pleased to be playing free safety. The junior recorded his third straight interception of the season against Southern Utah on Saturday.

"Free safety was a little different, but it gave me freedom to roam around some more and that’s why I liked it," said Reed. "It gave me a chance to see a lot of things and I wouldn’t have as many blocks on me then I would at strong safety."

But Reed hasn’t ruled out making a move back to the corner. That is, if the coaches wish him to. He was an All-SFL performer at cornerback two year’s ago, despite missing the final five games of the season.

"I use my attributes better at cornerback," said Reed. "But at this point in time, I’m happy where I am. We want to get the four best players on the field at the same time and we’re thin at the safety position right now."