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Friday, August 16, 2013

Brandon Coleman in on 7-on-7s as Fresno State looms, needs to find "next gear"

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: Tyler_Barto

Brandon Coleman participated in 7-on-7s on Thursday for the first time in training camp, another sign Rutgers' top receiver is making progress for a season opener less than two weeks away.

The junior, rehabbing from offseason knee surgery, said he likely would not be able to play a full game if the opener were Friday. Coleman says he plans to see the field for 7-on-7s again during Friday's practice.

"I'm comfortable physically, moving in the right direction," Coleman said Thursday after a half-hour tub treatment at the Hale Center, the team's indoor facility. "I don't have any doubts."

Coleman again wore a red non-contact jersey and black spandex leggings Thursday, spending most of practice watching with the team's backup quarterbacks. He stood farthest away on Rutgers' F2 field during 11-on-11 drills.
Brandon Coleman participated in 7-on-7 drills for the first time Thursday, his longest appearance since undergoing knee surgery in the offseason. (AP Photo)

His 7-on-7s appearance was the most field work he's done since the end of the 2012 season.

"I just have to get back to the point where I can just get that next gear," Coleman said. "I haven't opened up that next gear yet. That's probably the last thing: that full stride after I make the catch, being able to separate from the defense and take it the distance."

RELATED: Ruhann Peele's difficult journey to first-team reps

He insists that point will come.

For now, Coleman will stick to a pre-planned practice regimen: pre-practice routes, positional warm-ups, a few individual periods with quarterbacks and one-on-one reps before moving to a conditioning bicycle.

RELATED: Breaking down Brandon Coleman's most productive route

Coleman seldom has to stretch his knee out because of tightness, he said.

He says he's gotten enough communication with Rutgers' offense despite his on-field absence.

On days with one practice, the offense meets in the morning with coordinator Ron Prince before night meetings with position groups. Sometimes they fit in a mid-day receivers meeting.

"I'm spending all day with them," Coleman said. "It doesn't have to just be meetings. We can be in lunch talking about it on our own free time."

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