At this point, if you’re a football fan, you’re  probably in one of several camps.

1. Your fantasy team is crap, but your favorite NFL/college team is rolling, and you’re pretty excited.

2. Your fantasy team is rolling, but your favorite NFL/college team is crap. You’re still pretty excited.

3. Your fantasy team AND your favorite NFL/college team are rolling, so you’re pretty excited.

4. Both your fantasy team AND your favorite NFL/college team are crap, so you’re focused on basketball.

Unless you’re in the fourth category, you’ve got probably got one eye on what’s going on now, and one eye on what’s coming in the winter months, i.e., bowl season, all-star games, the combine, etc. For scouts, however, it’s very different, as the next few weeks represent the end of a long grind.

I asked a longtime friend of ITL, Ken Moll, to give me his thoughts on what’s going on if you’re a road scout with a couple weeks left before Thanksgiving. He’ll present his thoughts across the next couple days, giving us insights on what goes on with the game inside the game.

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All of this information is based on first-hand knowledge and experiences that I have had through 37 years in the industry. Competing as a linebacker at a major university, 15 years of college coaching, 13 years in NFL personnel (Jaguars and Browns), four seasons in the CFL (as a personnel director) as well as five years with ESPN (writing game matchups and free agent reports) has given me a unique perspective on professional football.”

What college area scouts are doing down the stretch:

Each NFL team is structured differently and therefore approaches its evaluation process in a variety of ways. Most (if not all) have area scouts that are responsible for a specific geographical area which has been mapped out well before the season. Understand that each of these scouts are feeling like “dish rags” at this time of year after traveling hard for approximately 22 out of 30 days the past four months, with 10 days to go before Thanksgiving. Often, they’re sleeping in four hotel rooms in five nights and sometimes not knowing (or remembering) if they are waking up in Atlanta, Georgia or Auburn, Alabama.

Down the stretch of the college season, scouts are usually doing a couple of things. They’re either “cross-checking” another area (grading players that need several looks) or tweaking their grades on players that needed a later school visit due to early-season injuries (that limited their playing time), “late bloomers” or so-called “diamonds in the rough” that are getting a lot of attention. There are several reasons why second and third looks are needed, but the main thing for a scout is to “not miss” on a player. Being the expert in your particular area is extremely important and contributing your own opinion on players in another cross-check area that may be different, or that may confirm another scout’s opinion on a player’s value to their club is equally important. Staying mentally sharp and finishing strong in regards to how efficient your travel is, as well as being extremely focused, is a tough challenge for those road warriors.

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More thoughts tomorrow. Don’t forget, if you’re in the Houston area, stop by our event tonight at 7:30 at Rice University.

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