Big Shon Coleman is ready for Auburn's A-Day and beyond
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- Shon Coleman's remarkable Auburn journey will continue at A-Day on Saturday, now as an established starter in the offensive line, again as a young man who overcame cancer to play college football.
"It really is crazy," he says, "I was actually thinking about that the other day, where I am and where I was about five years ago. Just to be here at Auburn is a blessing. To be playing football is just extra as is getting a degree and being able to go out there and compete with my teammates."
Auburn will kick off the A-Day Game at 1 p.m. in Jordan-Hare Stadium and Coleman says the Tigers are ready to put on a show.
"I think A-Day is especially big for the fans to let them come in and see how much better we've gotten. It's just like a sneak peek of what to look forward to this fall."
Coleman signed with Auburn in 2010 and doctors soon discovered he had leukemia. Auburn honored its scholarship and promised he'd have a place when he could play. He started all 13 games last year and says he can build on his experience.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said Coleman can do it because he's "a very smart individual, he's very strong, he's very talented."
"Shon did some very good things last year, but it was his first real football in four years," Malzahn said. "We truly believe after he's got that year under his belt and the experience that goes with that he'll be able to loosen up and play. We really believe he has a chance to be a really good left tackle in this league."
Coleman says this spring is already different thanks to his experience in the offensive line.
"I'm taking a whole new approach," he says. "Sometimes I go back and look at film from last year and just check out the things I need to get better at. I have been working before spring practice and I plan on working this summer on things I can get better at."
Coleman talks of improved footwork and adjusting to the speed of the game. "And just being more physical than last year."
Coleman is physical at 6-foot-6, 313.
Coleman said spring practice has been a new experience.
"It's fun getting to go out there and go against Coach Muschamp's defense. We're just getting better going out there grinding every day," he said.
Coleman said Will Muschamp's defense has been full of surprises.
"I'm still curious to see what else he's going to put in for the defense," Coleman said. "He's a great coach and a lot of people are going to be here just to see the new defense. It should be something to look forward to."
Coleman said he couldn't name a leader on the offensive line, a job that departed center Reese Dismukes held.
"All of the older guys are speaking up, so it's kind of like a democracy. A lot of guys are out there pushing each other, but I'm pretty sure the leaders will emerge this fall.
"We're just about getting better every day."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine