Former Opelika High and Auburn defensive linemanTez Doolittle
(6-3, 310) signed with the Columbus Lions this week, and I had a few minutes to talk with him over the phone today about how he's preparing for his debut on Saturday at the Fayetteville Force (3-0).
Sounds like he's pretty excited to get back on the field almost a year after he last played his only game for the AFL's Arizona Rattlers. He signed a preseason camp contract with the Lions but could not participate because of a hamstring injury.
"It took a minute for me to get back in the groove," Doolittle said of returning to practice. "I feel like I'm getting old now. I feel practice the next day, and I feel it a lot. But I feel good, too, and I want to play again."
Doolittle played at Auburn from 2003-08, where he redshirted his first year and sat out all of 2007 with an Achilles tear. He briefly signed a deal with the Seattle Seahawks but never saw any NFL action. For more on his return, check out my preview story in Saturday morning's edition of the Ledger-Enquirer.
Doolittle might have been feeling well - sore, but well - but Lions coach Jason Gibson said he's seen better weeks for his team. Leading into tonight's game, the Lions (2-1) are still struggling offensively.
"I've had better practices," Gibson said. "I don't know how this team will respond (to last weekend's 46-36 loss at the Albany Panthers) until they kick off the ball. Our defense just keeps getting better and better, but our offense hasn't yet."
On the up side, Gibson said this will be only the second week since camp started that the Lions will have the exact same offensive line in place, adding some much-needed consistency.
"We're finally getting some continuity on offensive line," Gibson said. "We're already getting better there, but they can still get a lot better than what they are. I'm looking forward to (Saturday) so I can see how it goes from an offensive standpoint."
LB Leon Foster is back from an undisclosed minor injury and will return this week, Gibson said.
WR Deleon Hollinger will see action for the first time this week, Gibson said.
If you're not willing to drive to Fayetteville, N.C., to watch Saturday's Lions game, check it out streaming live at columbuslions.net. Coverage begins at 7:20 p.m. and kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.