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Falcons rookie running back Tevin Coleman just focused on himself

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Although the running back battle between second-year player Devonta Freeman and rookie Tevin Coleman is sure to be a storyline throughout training camp, Coleman downplayed the significance following Friday's first day of camp.

Freeman remained with the first team, while Coleman and Antone Smith worked behind Freeman. Coleman is focused on adjusting from the college to the NFL game .

He's already gotten some advice from two established players he worked out alongside this offseason at Bommarito Performance Systems (South Florida): Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears and Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

``It was real good just learning from those guys,'' Coleman said. ``It was real nice to have someone who has done great in the league to learn from.''

Their advice?

``Just have confidence on your back and keep on finishing, and working hard every rep,'' Coleman said. ``That basically what you've got to do.''

Coleman talked about the offense, particularly the offensive line and adjusting to the outside-zone blocking system that relies on running backs making one cut and exploding through the hole. The running game really won't get going in full until the Falcons put the pads on, possibly as early as Monday.

``There's going to be some bumps and bruises, but they're going to pick it up and they're going to get it right,'' Coleman said. ``I'm just here to help them do that.''

Here are a few quick-hitters from practice:

  • Wide receiver Julio Jones said the sight of him getting medical attention midway through practice was nothing to be concerned about. He said he simply was getting his left ankle re-taped. ``You saw me running out there,'' Jones said, indicating all was well.

  • Rookie pass-rusher Vic Beasley was a little gimpy at the start of practice. Beasley said he cramped up while on the kickoff coverage unit. ``It was rough,'' Beasley said with laugh, referring to his special teams work. ``[Returner] Eric Weems, he ran across the field, so I had to open up a little bit.''

  • Cornerback Robert Alford continued his inspired play at cornerback. He was all over the field making plays and showed discipline in the process. At one point during practice, a pumped up Dan Quinn ran over and celebrated with Alford to show how much he appreciated the effort.

  • The unheralded player of the day was cornerback Phillip Adams, who made a nice read and intercepted a T.J. Yates pass during 7-on-7 drills. Adams looks more than capable of adding quality depth to the cornerback position.

  • Safety William Moore (shoulder), left tackle Jake Matthews (foot), cornerback Jalen Collins (foot), center Joe Hawley (MCL/ACL), right guard Jon Asamoah (ankle), linebacker Brooks Reed (groin), defensive end Malliciah Goodman (knee), guard Peter Konz (ACL), cornerback Dez Southward (knee), linebacker Marquis Spruill (knee), and Coleman (groin) all practiced coming off surgeries or injuries, though some were limited.

  • Quinn's musical playlist for practice included House of Pain (Jump Around), N.W.A. (Express Yourself), and Michael Jackson (Beat It).