Your Daily Fix, 7/18
Wadley has not been cleared to practice and likely will miss at least the first portion of two-a-days.
``We're just going to keep a close eye on him and try to figure out what's going on," Tuberville said. ``The doctors have a lot of tests to run. He'll be fine, but two-a-days will be pushing it. I don't think he'll be cleared by then."
Hey everyone. There isn't much going on right now -- everything explodes next week at Media Days -- so I thought this might be a good opportunity to discuss Ben Tate.
I made some comments about him recently that stirred some email and blog responses. Most of those comments were not in support of my contention that Ben Tate is an overrated player who should play second fiddle to Brad Lester.
Maybe that was too harsh. Let's take a gander at Tate's curriculum vitae, shall we?
Size: 5-11, 215
High School: Snow Hill, Maryland
Age: 19 (DOB: 8/21/88)
Rivals.com prospect rating: 4/5 stars, No. 6 TB overall
Scout.com prospect ranking: 4/5 stars, No. 22 TB overall
Signed Letter of Intent in December 2006
2006: 54 carries for 392 (7.3 avg), 3TDs; 2 catches for -3 yards
2007: 202 carries for 903 yards (4.5 avg), 8 TDs; 16 catches for 144 yards
On the plus side
*Willing and able to fight for extra yards
*Runs low, makes tackling more difficult
*Consistent production from game to game
*Still only 19 with two seasons of experience
On the minus side
*Speed not remarkable for a tailback; not a home-run threat
*Needs 10-15 carries to "warm up"
*Blocking can be inconsistent
*Missed most of spring ball with leg/hip injury suffered two months earlier
The situation: Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin has said Tate and Lester will share carries this season. In the Tigers' new spread scheme, though, laterals are considered runs. That favors Tate, who is a truly gifted receiver. I always saw Tate as a Power-I guy who needed a few steps to really get going. He won't get much of that in Franklin's run sets, which are quick read plays that require the back to hit stride quickly. That seems to fit Lester's skill set more snugly.
It's notable that Tate's average last year (4.5 per carry) was higher than Lester's 4.2. If Auburn still was in a pseudo-power package, I would value Tate differently. Remember that Enrique Davis is similar to Ben Tate. You remember what happened to him, right? He ditched Auburn to play in Houston Nutt's power system at Ole Miss.
Still, I see Tate getting 12-15 carries per game and 3-5 receptions out of the backfield/slot in 2008. He'll be useful. A star? We'll have to wait and see there.