Doucet, Tiger wideouts poised for big year

Some say "Doo-say." Others say "Doo-set." LSU wide receiver Early Doucet said he doesn't care how people pronounce his last name, just as long as the word "TOUCHDOWN" is being screamed in front of it.

"Right, right, right," Doucet laughed. "That's it."

"Back at home, the announcer used to call me ‘Doo-say,' but I would always have to kind of correct him and tell him it's ‘Doo-set,'" Doucet said. "But it really doesn't bother me at all. They can call me whatever they want to call me."

For two years now, Doucet has been the third or fourth option among LSU wide receivers. As a true freshman in 2004, Doucet had his moments. But the former quarterback turned wide receiver from St. Martinville was buried on the depth chart behind Skyler Green, Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis.

As a sophomore, Doucet, which he pronounces "Doo-set," became more involved in the offense when Les Miles chose to use Green less as a receiver and more as a kick return specialist. The 6-0, 206-pound Doucet found himself as an every down receiver and came up with arguably the season's biggest highlight. In the season opener at Arizona State, Doucet hauled in a 39-yard touchdown pass from JaMarcus Russell, which gave the Tigers an improbable 35-31 victory.

But as the 2005 season progressed, Doucet remained overshadowed by Bowe and Davis. Even seldom-used track star Bennie Brazell was getting noticed.

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Wide receiver Early Doucet

But now, as a junior, Doucet is older, more experienced and aching to make a bigger impact on offense for the Tigers. He said he hasn't been disappointed with his career at LSU so far, but he knows he can always get better.

"There is always room for improvement," Doucet said. "You can't just sit back and get satisfied with what you have accomplished already. I just try and go out there and get better, make myself a better receiver. And I am out there not only to improve myself, but to make our whole group (receivers) get better as a whole. I try and improve on one thing each day and get better from there."

Fans have been impatiently waiting for Doucet to have an explosive season. However, that has yet to happen just yet. While Doucet said he wants to have the big year everyone has been expecting, he also hopes for the entire wide receiving corps to have a big year as well.

"Hopefully, but I don't want it to be a breakout year just for me, but for the whole group, the team as well," Doucet said. "I want the team to win the big games, play hard every game. We have worked so hard and out in so much effort, hopefully we can have something to show for it this season."

The former high school quarterback star has a body of a running back playing wide receiver with the mentality of a safety. Offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher compared Doucet to a former great LSU wide receiver from the recent past.

"Early Doucet is a great athlete," Fisher said. "Big, tough, strong. He is a lot like Josh Reed was when he was here."

Speaking of big, tough and strong, redshirt freshman Brandon LaFell has stepped up as the Tigers' fourth receiver and will prove to be a big-play threat.

"A long way," Fisher said. "Brandon LaFell just being at practice knows what to expect. He has been in the offense for a year already. He comes out there everyday and makes plays. He has jumped right in and doesn't look like we missed a beat."

And while the Tiger wide receivers were extremely deep coming into the season with Doucet, Bowe, Davis and LaFell, the unit got so much deeper with the addition of a host of talented freshmen.

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Wide receivers from left Trindon Holliday (8), Chris Mitchell (partially covered), (kicker) Colt David (6), Jared Mitchell (87) and Ricky Dixon (10).

Trindon Holliday, Ricky Dixon, Jared and Chris Mitchell all have the chance to play and contribute as rookies.

"It is a great addition," Doucet said. "All of those guys are talented. Although they all didn't play too much receiver in high school like a lot of the guys, they are learning the game, taking it day by day, absorbing as much as they can from the coaching staff. They are listening to the older players out there, asking lots of questions and are coming along really well."

Fisher agreed.

"I think they are all going to be good, very talented," Fisher said. "They all work hard, learning as much as they can, and how much they help us will be determined by how much consistency they show in not making mistakes. They all have the talent, but it can get overwhelming and they can get tired. But, as a whole, they are doing great right now."

The Mitchells, although not related, might as well be on the football field. Jared Mitchell turned down big money in Major League Baseball (10th Round, Minnesota) to play for the Tigers.

"They are really special," Doucet said. "They both can run. They are catching on a lot faster than lots of freshmen usually do. I think personally they are going to be really special players here at LSU."

As a whole the entire freshman class of receivers is a special group, Doucet said. "I think they all have (impressed him)," Doucet said. "They each have their own special talents that they bring to the table. Trindon is a real speedy guy. Jared and Chris Mitchell are fast with good hands. Ricky Dixon is kind of big, physical guy that can catch the ball. They each are unique."

With that much talent at wideout, one would think Fisher will go five-wide a couple of times this season.

"If it is the right thing to win the game, we will do it," Fisher said.

Doucet's eyes lit up at that idea.

"Hopefully," Doucet beamed.

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