At running back Desmond Scott is once again named the starter backed up by junior Jay Hollingsworth. Both players had their highlights a week ago with Scott taking off on a big 34 yard scamper to open the season's scoring and Hollingsworth finding the end zone for Duke's final touchdown. And while both players will continue to headline the depth chart, head coach David Cutcliffe has indicated that true freshmen Juwan Thompson and Joshua Snead will see a number of carries as well after combining for 15 carries resulting in 55 yards and a touchdown.
The receivers will also remain consistent with Conner Vernon and Donovan Varner as the top two wideouts. Joining them on paper is Austin Kelly who missed a start last week due to being banged up for extended portions of the preseason. In his place was Tony Foster, though it would appear Kelly has practiced well enough to piggyback his three catch for 27 yard performance last week and earn the start in Winston Salem.
The two-deep along the offensive line remains the same with Kyle Hill, Brandon Harper, Bryan Morgan, Brian Moore, and Perry Simmons as the first team. The second wave also remains the same with John Coleman, Joey Finison, Conor Irwin, David Harding, and Jon Needham. The line did extremely well in pass protection a week ago allowing just one sack and two hurries of Renfree, while also showing an improved ability to open holes for the running backs.
On the defensive side of the ball the switch to a 3-4 defense allowed Duke to apply pressure to the opposing quarterback, but also put additional responsibilities on the Blue Devil defensive backs. The results were somewhat mixed in that regard, but the rotation on the front three and the back four remain mostly consistent.
Patrick Egboh continues to hold down his starting defensive end position opposite of last week's starter Wesley Oglesby while third year sophomore Kenny Anunike is the first reserve. Redshirt freshman Justin Foxx will also get several snaps after a big debut last week in which he registered one of Duke's two sacks. At nose guard the Blue Devils once again start Charlie Hatcher who is backed up by Curtis Hazelton.
The defensive backfield will be looking for an improved performance in coverage from the same group. The cornerbacks will once again be redshrirt freshman Ross Cockrell opposite Chris Rwabukamba. Converted receiver Johnny Williams will be the top backup at corner followed by redshirt freshman Garrett Patterson. In the middle Duke will once again go with safeties Matt Daniels and Lee Butler. The duo is backed up by Jordon Byas and Walt Canty. That foursome combined to record 22 tackles, three pass breakups, and one interception against the Phoenix.
At linebacker there are a few changes to the depth chart. After starting at MLB last week, Abraham Kromah moves into the WLB position for August Campbell. Filling the MLB slot is Tyree Glover while Adam Banks and Damian Thornton once again man the Devil and SLB spots for Duke.
The special teams rotation appears to be settled with kicker Will Snyderwine as the top option for both field goals and kickoffs. The returners will once again be running backs Thompson and Patrick Kurunwune while defensive backs Williams and Butler handle punt returns.