Last year at this time, one of the hottest names in Michigan's receiving ranks
was Doug Dutch. After turning in an outstanding spring in 2005, it was
thought that the former Army All-American would made a serious push to add
his great speed to the rotation the following fall. Unfortunately, a
slow start and an early season illness limited his production and he finished
the year having caught only four passes for 34 yards. Despite his disappointment
over his lack of playing time last season, Dutch has chosen not to hang his
"It was all a big learning experience for me," he said. "Everybody
goes through ups and downs. I went through some downs last year. I'm
just looking to go through some ups this year. That's basically it. I
worked hard in the summer time so I'm just looking to compete once again to
earn a spot in the fall.
Maintaining that positive outlook isn't something Dutch achieved on his own. He
had a strong support system to lean on when times got rough.
"God was number one in my life," he said. "Second came
my family and my friends. My teammates helped pull me through it too. Everybody
knows that I can play. It's just a matter of me building my confidence
back up and playing like I know I'm capable."
The D.C. native has flashed big play potential in practice over the years,
but he hasn't done it on a steady basis. Now his coaches are looking
for more consistency and for him to carry that practice-field explosiveness
over to the Big House on Saturdays."
"Doug Dutch is a guy that has a lot of ability," Michigan head coach
Lloyd Carr said. "He just hasn't brought it to the field yet, and
we need him to do that."
"I had to improve on certain aspects of my game," Dutch added regarding
why his practice exploits haven't translated to game day success. "Coach
Campbell coached me through that. I just had to realize what I
had to do so I can play more. I just have to put all of my mechanics
together and put all of the things that I do well together at one time so I
can be consistent."
Dutch knows that he still has a lot to prove during a fall in which there
are clearly openings in the receiver rotation, but also a great deal of talent
competing for them. At this point, however, Dutch's primary concerns
center around making sure he continues to work hard and that the entire corps
is the best it can be.
"The starting positions are always up for grabs, but we're not worried
that right now," Dutch said. "We're just all worried about
tried to get better a whole. We're all ready to compete and we're trying to
work to be the best crew in the nation. We were all pushing each other
out there in workouts in the summer time. Going into camp we just want
to compete and be the best that we can be as a whole so we can go out there
and go for our goals of winning a national championship and a Big Ten championship."