College Coach’s Take: Doss A Big-Game Player

New Ravens wide receiver Tandon Doss had huge games against Big-10 rivals.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Thursday, May 19th, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

The Ravens are looking for playmakers that will get them over the hump against their toughest foes, namely the Pittsburgh Steelers.

That’s exactly the kind of player former Indiana Head Coach Bill Lynch believes Baltimore got in the fourth round of this year’s draft with wide receiver Tandon Doss.

“Great competitor,” Lynch said. “In big games, against traditional powers in the Big 10, it seemed he always played his best.”

In two career games against rival Michigan, Doss notched 20 receptions for 325 yards, including a 15-catch, 221-yard performance last season.

There was also a seven-grab, 90-yard showing against Penn State while playing at the Washington Redskins’ Fed Ex Field, a 130-yard game against Illinois and three-touchdown show in his career finale versus Purdue.

It all speaks to a competitive drive that Lynch raved about with Doss.

Doss played the 2010 season through two sports hernias, in which each groin muscle had ripped off the bone. Lynch said he couldn’t comprehend how much that affected Doss, but “we know that he went through great pain.”

Doss missed just one game, the season-opener, and never took a practice off after that, Lynch said.

“There were a lot of times where our training staff would have liked for him to rest and he wouldn’t,” Lynch said. “That’s why I have so much respect for him, because he knew practice was really, really important. Sometimes guys with that kind of ability may rest for game time, but he practiced the way he played.”

When it comes to Doss’ talents, Lynch raved about his hands and football awareness, saying he’s adept at knowing how to find holes in zone coverage and beat man coverage and routinely finds first downs.

But the one thing that stood out to Lynch is in another area the Ravens are looking to improve.

“I think it’s the ability to make plays after the catch,” Lynch said. “He’s really, really good at that. He’s got really good ball skills, he can make all the catches, but he really has the ability to run with the ball after the catch.”

The Ravens ranked last in the AFC North in average yards per catch last season (3.0). Derrick Mason posted a career-low 2.1 yards after the catch and Anquan Boldin dipped below 4.0 YAC for the first time in the past six years.

Lynch believes Doss can immediately step into Baltimore and make a difference because he saw it happen in college. Lynch was originally planning to redshirt Doss, but ended up using him as a true freshman.

“We weren’t going to keep him off the field because he came in prepared and competed and he was obviously a great talent,” Lynch said. “He adjusted to the speed of Big 10 football right away.”

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