From time to time, I'll start thinking crazy, folks, and I'll need someone to talk me out of it.
Topic 1: I don't think Dominique Douglas should start.
Now. He's the best route-runner on the team, and he's got the most starting experience of any of the receivers we've got (read that again and think about it). He rewrote the freshman record books last year, leading the team with 49 catches and coming in second with 654 yards. Both numbers were also the best for any freshman last year.
All that said, he was passed over by Michigan and Michigan State for a reason, and that's because he lacks top-end speed. While there's clearly more to being a receiver than 40 times, the fact is that he only averaged about 13 yards per catch. His longest reception was 37 yards, on a pass that a burner could have run under and taken to the house. Don't believe me? Observe:
Was it a great play by Douglas? Absolutely. No doubt about it. But if he had one more step on the play (a step that sprint champs Trey Stross and Andy Brodell would have), that's a 91-yard touchdown.
Further, let's talk about why it'd be a 91-yard score: There was no deep safety help. Safeties don't have to fear him, and as a result they can cheat toward the line of scrimmage most of the time. You think Young and Sims are happy whenever there's 8 guys in the box?
I'd like to see Douglas used primarily as a slot receiver in 3-WR sets. As long as there's two guys pushing the safeties deep (or at the very least more than 10 yards off the line), he'd be great to wreak havoc underneath. Like I said, he's easily the best route-runner on the team.
It seems, on its face, to be utterly insane to suggest demoting a 3rd string Freshman All-American who is arguably your most experienced and productive returning receiver. But he seems to be at his limit physically, and I don't see room for a ton of improvement. Thus: could anyone please talk me out of thinking this way?