Lafayette Daily Advertiser USA TODAY NETWORK
As a junior, Iota’s Luke Doucet rushed for an area’s best 2,367 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Doucet accomplished that feat with a simply running approach: bowl over any and all would-be tacklers.
“Luke had a good season last year,” Bulldogs head coach Josh Andrus said. “He had a very good season. He’s a bruiser and when he got the football, he just tried to bowl over everyone.”
And this year, he’s still bowling defenders over — when he has to.
However, he spent the summer improving his weaknesses, and now the 5foot-9, 220-pound Doucet has improved both his speed and agility.
“I worked every day in the summer to get faster,” Doucet said. “I knew that by the end of the season, all of the hits were taking a toll on my body, so I wanted to try to not get hit as much. But when I need to lower my shoulder, I’ll do it.”
Yes, there was comfort in 2018 in knowing Doucet wouldn’t outrun defenders, but that is no longer the case.
“He really worked on his speed, jump cut and spin moves,” Andrus said. “He’s always had the stiff arm and power running style, but now Luke can run away from people. He really put in some work this summer that resulted in him becoming faster and more agile.”
Doucet remaining strong and powerful, but now being faster and more agile is a scary thought.
“I like the new aspect of my running style,” Doucet said. “I still have my old running style, but now defenses don’t know what to expect. Before, I would just run over people. But now, they don’t know if I’m going to run them over, run past them, juke to make them miss or jump over them.”
And through two games this season, Doucet has been every bit the nightmare for defenses.
Doucet has rushed for 396 yards and six touchdowns on 41 carries. In Week 1, Doucet rushed for 211 yards and three touchdowns against Iowa en route to being named The Daily Advertiser’s Football Player of the Week.
Thursday against Welsh, he recorded 185 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.
“Really, nothing surprises me anymore with Luke,” said Andrus, whose Bulldogs improved to 2-0 on the year after defeating Welsh, 34-0. “But the speed stuff has been a surprise. Last year, I think he only had long runs against Northwest, North Webster and Baker the entire season. But against Iowa, he broke a long 70- to 80-yard run up the middle, bounced it outside and outran the secondary. Last year, Luke would try to anchor down and get lower than the tackler. This year, he’s making moves and more cuts. This year, he’s making people miss.”
Those improvements were on display against Welsh, when Doucet broke free for an 86-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
“Luke has great vision,” Andrus said. “Vision isn’t something you can teach. You either have it or yo don’t. We saw it last year He has the ability to bounce it outside. I can’t take credit for that.”
Even with the improvements to his ability, Doucet still relishes the opportunity to bulldozed past a would-be tackler.
“It feels good to run past someone or to make someone miss,” Doucet said.
“But there is nothing like running over someone. It’s just awesome to hear the crowd go crazy or see the offensive line pumped up. Everyone gets fired up. But also, when you run over someone badly, every time they see you they are like ‘forget this.’” Although many are eager to see what Doucet will do for an encore this season, Andrus has avoided establishing expectations for his star back.
“For me, expectations are the same as potential,” Andrus said. “It’s things that looks good on paper. But honestly, expectations don’t get W’s. The only expectations we have is to win. We just want to win and if we have to do that with Luke running 30 times or we have to throw it 30 times, we just want to win.”
Eric Narcisse covers high school sports for The Daily Advertiser. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @eric_narcisse.
Iota High’s Luke Doucet has rushed for 396 yards and six touchdowns on 41 carries. BUDDY DELAHOUSSAYE/SPECIAL TO THE ADVERTISER