New Season, New Results Expected From Big Tez

Tez Doolittle (99)

A report is featured on Auburn football defensive lineman Tez Doolittle.

Auburn, Ala.--The night before Auburn's first preseason football practice, defensive tackle Tez Doolittle says he was so excited about beginning his junior season that he couldn't sleep.

That is a major step for a player who wasn't sure he wanted to continue playing football for the Tigers earlier in his career after getting off to a frustrating start.

That excitement about playing football is showing up on the practice field as the talented former Opelika High star looks to be on the verge of a breakout season at the college level after three seasons of disappointment. A combination of injuries and a less than stellar attitude added up to not a lot of playing time for a lineman with his potential.

"I am in the best shape of my life," the 6-3, 292-pounder says. "Coach Yox (strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall) worked us pretty hard this summer."

His position coach, Don Dunn, says he noted a positive change in Doolittle's attitude in spring training and says that has continued throughout the summer as the Tigers prepare for their Sept. 2nd season opener vs. Washington State.

Doolittle, who can play both noseguard and tackle, says that he feels good about his weight and the 2006 football team in general.

"I have gotten rid of some fat and I am ready to go," he says. "Every year we hear that we have to rebuild the defense, but we end up having the best defense in the SEC. I feel we can do the same thing this year."

Tez Doolittle played in eight games last season and made four solo tackles with three assists.

Doolittle says to look for senior Christopher Browder to step up at the vacant tackle spot where Wayne Dickens was the starter. He says to expect Browder to have his best season after moving there from end.

Doolittle can play tackle or line up over the center at noseguard, where his former high school teammate, Tommy Jackson, must be replaced after starting there the past two seasons. Junior Josh Thompson is the favorite to win that job, but if Doolittle continues to perform like he has in preseason he will have a chance to share playing time with Thompson.

In high school Doolittle played fullback as a senior and is now finally showing the type of quickness and aggressiveness that at six-foot-three and close to 300 pounds gives him the potential to be a serious SEC defensive lineman.

Doolittle says to look for the entire defensive front to be an aggressive bunch because new coordinator Will Muschamp likes that style of play.

"I love Coach Muschamp," the lineman says. "He gets us amped up to play football. I like the new system he brought in. Everybody is excited about it and ready to get out there and play."

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