The season moves along with more rivalry games and games that will decide who goes to the conference championships.
Auburn vs. Alabama (3:30 PM EST CBS)
Another year, another Iron Bowl. They say throw out the records when these two meet, but one wonders how the very mediocre 5-6 Auburn Tigers can keep up with #1 in the nation Alabama. If they can, it would be the upset of the year.
Auburn DT Tez Doolittle (#99)
Doolittle is a 294 lb. defensive tackle who is remarkably back starting for Auburn after snapping his Achilles in August of 2007. Doolittle was a highly-recruited defensive end who hasn’t played much until this year, along with suffering the major injury. He plays inside for Auburn. This year, in his first extended time, he has held up well. He has 7 tackles for loss. He has some potential and is a hard-worker who overcame a lot to come back from injury. He has talent. He just lacks experience and in a Patriots system, would be better suited as a defensive end. Still, in the last round or as an undrafted free agent would make a good project for the Pats.
As far as evaluating a center, the one thing that can jump to the eye watching Caldwell is he is the clear leader of the line. You have to focus on him to see it, but you can just tell this 4-year starter is a special lineman and the type of smart, tough technician you need at center. He’ll likely be a first day pick and with Dan Koppen’s inconsistent play this year as well as Bill Belichick’s ties to Alabama coach Nick Saban, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Patriots take a run at the All-American candidate Caldwell.
Kentucky at Tennessee (6:30 PM EST ESPN2)
Kentucky actually probably has a better team this year than Tennessee, their traditional rival who usually dominates them. Kentucky has lost 23 in a row vs. The Vols. This year could be their shot to end that streak.
A good sized, 6’3″ 242 lb. linebacker who can play outside or in. Has potential as a pass rusher and plays hard, but the production hasn’t quite been as good as you’d like. Has had some foot injuries. Does have 5 sacks this year, so he appears to be developing those skills. This is a player with good athleticism who has played sporadically at Kentucky, but is talented and perhaps a good sleeper. Could play outside in a 3-4 for the Patriots and might be worth a look as a late-round pick. Look to see how #51 does today as the Vols like to run outside.
Good-sized corner who has had a solid year. Came to Tennesse last year from junior college, so his time against big time competition is somewhat limited. Was solid last year and has improved. Good foot speed and plays physical. Had his first 3 career interceptions this year. This is a guy who came into the year without a lot of hype, so also could be somewhat of a sleeper. Likely more of a mid-round choice. Is a bit green and probably needs some NFL coaching and development time, but in the mean time he can play special teams.
Others to watch
Oregon State’s Patrick Chung (#15) is a hard-hitting safety with 210 lb. size and who was 1st Team Pac-10 as a junior. They match up with Oregon State today at 7:00 PM on Versus. A game-changer in that he makes a lot of big plays. Good coverage skills but also will come up and play run defense. Also thought of as a smart, team-leader. Should be a high pick.
Greg Doyle’s ‘College Scout’ appears weekly on Patriots Daily. He can be reached at [email protected].