2007 ACC Preview: Duke

There seems to be plenty of reasons for the Blue Devils to be optimistic this season. There are 11 starters returning to an offense that was pretty decent by last season's end, including Thaddeus Lewis, who ranked as one of the top freshmen quarterbacks in the nation last season.

2006 RECORD: 0-12 overall, 0-8 ACC (6th in Coastal Division).

HEAD COACH: Ted Roof 5-34 overall in three-plus seasons at Duke.

RETURNING STARTERS: Offense 11; Defense 5.

KEY SIGNEES: C Bryan Morgan, CB Randez James, TE Danny Parker, OT Kyle Hill, CB Tony Jackson, OT Chris Shannon.

KEY LOSSES: DE Eli Nichols, DT Casey Camero, CB Deonto McCormick, CB John Talley.

OFFENSE: There seems to be plenty of reasons for the Blue Devils to be optimistic this season. There are 11 starters returning to an offense that was pretty decent by last season's end, including Thaddeus Lewis, who ranked as one of the top freshmen quarterbacks in the nation last season. Lewis took every single snap during spring practice because there was no one else to do so, but 2005 starter Zack Asack returns from suspension and will compete for the job. Also new to the quarterback scene is new offensive coordinator Peter Vaas, who was Brady Quinn's quarterback coach at Notre Dame last year. Duke has some of the best young receivers in the league in Raphael Chestnut, Eron Riley and Jomar Wright, all of whom had at least 30 receptions, with Riley and Wright ranking in the top 10 in the ACC. The offensive line should be much better. Last season, it was the youngest in the nation. This year, they have experience and plenty of depth. There has to be improvement at running back, which has the three leading rushers returning. But none of them showed much of anything last season.

DEFENSE: Duke lost two key players up front from a year ago, but the good news is that tackle Vince Oghobaase and end Patrick Bailey are very solid and will anchor the line. Clifford Respress and Ayanga Okpokowuruk appear to have the necessary qualities to step in and take over the vacant spots. Michael Tauiliili is a good middle linebacker, but he will be surrounded by inexperience. It remains to be seen which two of the four battling for the spots will be the starters. Regardless, this could be a trouble spot. In the secondary, All-American John Talley is gone from one cornerback spot, and Deonto McCormick is gone from the other side, as well. The two new corners look to be Jabari Marshall and Leon Wright. The safety spots look to be OK. The worst part of the team last year was kicking – punting and field goal kicking. Kicker Joe Surgan was the worst in the ACC, making just three of 10 field goals. The Blue Devils also ranked last in the ACC in punting. This better improve.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – Number of conference games the Blue Devils lost by one point last season.


Ted Roof



QB Zach Asack


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