Auburn, Ala.--After years of frustrating injuries, defensive tackle Tez Doolittle is looking for everything to come together personally for a breakout senior season on the football field.
A good performance in the winter workouts was followed by far his best spring training. He showed his quickness and natural ability that made him a highly regarded recruit at Opelika High School.
His summer highlight will take place on Saturday when Doolittle joins teammate Zach Gilbert at graduation ceremonies at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum.
“Tez and Zach are two guys who have worked hard,” Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville says. “They are two guys who have paid the price on the field and in the classroom. They join a long line of our players who have graduated for us before their senior season. I am looking forward to their families having a good day.”
Doolittle says he is excited about being a graduate. “It means a whole lot to me,” he says. “I worked hard for four years in the classroom and I finally accomplished my goals.”
On the field, Doolittle and the Tigers have gone through two days of workouts. They put the full pads on for the first time on Monday.
Doolittle notes that he played at 285 pounds in the spring and really felt good at that weight. “It was my first spring actually being healthy,” he says.
Now up to 295 after two days of preseason drills, he says he hopes to get closer to 285 by the start of the season when the Tigers play Kansas State on Sept. 1st.
Doolittle is shown at Auburn's A-Day Game earlier this year.
Tuberville says he is hoping that Doolittle will finally be able to play a major role in the defense this season. Doolittle says that is the game plan and he wants to finish with a special season.
“If we work hard, we can be the number one nation in the defense,” he says. “We just have got to work at it.”
As a fifth-year senior, Doolittle has been a part of some solid defensive fronts, but he says none of those have as much talent as the 2007 group. He notes that this is the best group, “hands down,” that he has played with in college.
At the two inside defensive line spots, the Tigers return starters Josh Thompson at noseguard and Sen’Derrick Marks at tackle, although Marks may spend more time at end than tackle.
Doolittle says even with Marks lined up at end the Tigers should be strong inside with Thompson, Pat Sims and redshirt freshman Mike Blanc joining him in the playing rotation.”I feel, by far, this is the most athletic defensive line I have been around,” he says.
2007 Auburn Football Guide
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