One of the most explosive players in Louisville history, Douglas is coming off a monster junior season which saw him set the single-season school record with 1,265 reception yards. A first team All-Big East selection last year, Douglas finished the season strong, topping the 100 yard reception mark in four of Louisville's last six games, including a 10 catch, 165 yard performance against Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl.
This year, Douglas plans to pick up right where he left off in Miami as quarterback Brian Brohm's favorite receiving target. And while making plays for the Cardinals is one of Douglas' top priorities, his main focus this season is providing leadership for a team that expects to compete for both the Big East and national titles.
"My first role is to be a leader and guide players that need guidance and then I have to make plays," Douglas said. "I take one approach to the field always, that's to win football games, handle business and help my team do the best we can. I want to lead by example and I can't do that if I don't take care of my responsibilities first."
One of the big lessons Douglas hopes to share with his younger teammates was a particularly painful one that he learned in a tough, three-point loss at Rutgers that cost the Cardinals a shot at the BCS championship.
business on the field.
"I learned not to take anything for granted and take it one game at a time," Douglas said. "The little things matter – details matter. We didn't finish a couple things in the second half, we didn't do a lot of the little things right and that hurt us at the end of the game."
Douglas said the sting from that loss brought the team even closer together late last season. After falling to the Scarlet Knights, the Cardinals won their last four games, including the win over Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl. The feeling Douglas felt in Piscataway, NJ last November is a feeling he doesn't want to experience again.
"After that game we became a stronger, much more bonded team," Douglas said. "We learned lessons and we learned to never give up. Once we had that feeling from the one loss, we didn't want to have that feeling of disappointment again."
Now, there's a new coach, a new offensive coordinator and a new philosophy in Louisville. Bobby Petrino is gone and Steve Kragthorpe is now at the helm. Despite the changes, Douglas expects the Louisville offense to keep on humming at top-speed.
"I think it's going to be the same way," Douglas said. "Coach Kragthorpe is a great coach. We can pretty much score on who ever. We have a lot of playmakers on our team."
As Douglas and the Cardinals prepare for their season-opener August 30 against Murray State, Louisville's senior leader said that he and his teammates are hard at work trying to focus on and perfect the "little" things that help win ball games.
"I think our effort and how hard we're going is real good," Douglas said. "During camp you're always trying to work on the small things on both sides of the ball. So far, we've started off good the first (week)."
His goals for this season? As a leader, Douglas is always thinking about the team first.
"First, we want to win the Big East championship, take it one game at a time and play for the national championship," said Douglas. "Me as an individual, I want to work real hard to become the best receiver in the nation."