Doucet, LaFell set to fill Bowe's shoes

While former LSU wide receiver Dwayne Bowe lurked around the indoor football facility Saturday, other wide receivers still with eligibility were competing in the live scrimmage for one of the two starting positions Bowe left vacant after his collegiate career ended at the Sugar Bowl.

Although he is from Miami, Bowe returned to his alma mater for Pro Day on Wednesday, March 14 to work out for professional scouts in hopes to increase his NFL draft status, which will take place next month.


"I think the guys that come back and know how they expect us to play," said coach Les Miles. "I think there's a responsibility with each position. I think the veteran guys who play in the NFL they come back and hold that tradition and make the younger players accountable."


Bowe is one of two receivers for LSU who finished his collegiate career this past January after a 41-14 victory to Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. Craig "Buster" Davis also left a vacancy on the depth chart for younger wide receivers.


The underclassmen have spent one or more seasons watching both star receivers from the sidelines but with spring practice in full swing, receivers are hoping to change their fate and move up on the depth chart.


Receivers are led by senior Early Doucet who has not only become a key receiver even more so than last season, but has taken the responsibility of becoming a leader on the field as well as off.


"I think Doucet is going to be a leader for us," Miles said. "[He] had a big day."


In Saturday's scrimmage, the Tigers went live for 70 to 80 plays. Although Miles said the defense was further along than the offense, Doucet still managed to score a somewhat debatable touchdown.


"I think it was an official's ruling there," Miles said.  "It was a long grab and a nice run. I think the vice chancellor of officials called it back. That was me."


Doucet spent three years side by side with other receivers like Bowe and Davis.


However, with the leadership role that comes with being one of the oldest guys on the team, Doucet is now showing the reigns to younger guys like sophomore Brandon LaFell who has also caught Miles' eye.


"Brandon LaFell had a couple of catches for some good yardage," Miles said. "It appears to me that those two guys [Doucet and LaFell] are a little ahead of the others."


With months away from the start of the 2007 season, other receivers are hoping to inch their way to the same status as Doucet and LaFell before the end of spring practice.


"A lot of guys are trying to earn that starting job," Miles said. "A lot of guys are trying to step forward and be starters. I think Jared Mitchell, Chris Mitchell and Richard Dickson are all young guys waiting to emerge and competing. One thing about it if they're satisfied with standing back there then they'll be back there another year. But three of those guys in my opinion have the ability enough to compete and in my mind and at times look like guys we can count on."


Miles also mentioned sophomore Trindon Holliday's performance in Saturday's scrimmage and his ability to compete.


"I think Trindon Holliday had a couple of catches that were pretty significant," Miles said.


Sophomore Jared Mitchell may have a more difficult time than others proving himself as a starter during the spring. Mitchell spends most of his time on the baseball field for the Tigers as the starting centerfielder. However, the true sophomore receiver still makes time to take reps on the football field as well as condition with the team.


"I don't remember exactly what he's done recently, but I heard he was 4-for-4 with three stolen bases not too long ago," Miles said. "That's not a bad day huh? Did they throw him a football after he was finished?"


Miles added that he understands the difficulty of being a two-sport athlete especially at the receiver position. Chris Jackson spent two seasons balancing football and baseball but as a kicker, the balance was easier than the Mitchell's situation.


It's a little tight," Miles said. "It's not as easy [as with Chris Jackson]. We bang on him a little bit. One thing about receivers when they show up at this practice they run. When he runs during practice I'm sure it's a little…creates a problem for him when he comes over there and swings bats."


Although Bowe already made an appearance at spring practice, another significant player from the 2006 team is yet to make it out to the indoor facility. Former quarterback


JaMarcus Russell has been spotted in Baton Rouge but Miles is still anticipating his reunion with Russell who has been out of the state at training camps since his announcement in January to forego his senior year and enter into the 2007 NFL draft.


"I haven't seen him yet," Miles said. "But I can't wait until the big guy shows up here."

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