Replacing the Seniors in 2004 Pt 1

As Duke football embarks on a new era under Ted Roof, we must not forget the players that gave their heart and soul to the Duke program for the last 4-5 years. With the departure of this year's seniors, the coaching staff will have many big holes to fill before the 2004 season.

The talent might be there to replace them physically, but there were some real leaders in the class of 2003 that will be missed sorely. Lets take a look and how their departures will affect the depth chart, and who will step up and replace them.


Running Back:

Graduating: Chris Douglas and Alex Wade – Both players garnered all-ACC recognition during their playing careers. Douglas leaves as Duke's all-time leader in rushing and all-purpose yardage, and merited 1st team all-conference in 2003 for his efforts. When Douglas was slowed with injury in 2002, Wade picked up the slack with 5 100-yard performances, which garnered him 2nd team honors. Depth at RB will be severely tested in 2004.

Likely 2004 starter: Cedric Dargan – Dargan has seen limited action the past 2 seasons and has performed admirably when called on. His two touchdowns against UNC this season helped Duke end a 13 game losing streak against the rival Heels. Dargan is a tough, slashing runner who excels in short-yardage situations. He also has enough speed to break the long one. Durability is a question as he took a medical redshirt in 2002 after suffering a broken ankle.

Darkhorse: Aaron Fryer - Fryer was the top touchdown scorer in the state of Florida his senior year of high school, but saw very limited action this past season. When he played, he showed good change of direction as well as good acceleration through the hole.

Left Tackle:

Graduating: Drew Strojny- Despite not receving any post-season conference accolades, Strojny might have been Duke's beat player over the last few seasons. He should, in all likelihood, be Duke's first NFL draft pick since Lennie Friedman in 1999.

Likely 2004 starter: Jim Moravchik: Moravchik can be considered a veteran, despite only having 2 starts in his college career. He spent most of the 2003 season as the primary backup at both tackle and guard. In several games this season, he graded out as the best overall OL on the team. He will probably end up being in the same

Darkhorse: None – The biggest personnel surprise of the offseason will be if Moravchik is not the starting left tackle in 2004.

Left Guard:

Graduating: Daryl Lewis – Lewis was a 3-year starter alongside Strojny and was one of the driving forces behind Duke's solid rushing attack of the past two season. He was a solid straight-line run blocker, using his size to push defensive linemen off the ball.

Darkhorse: Chris Best – As Duke's lone player from Canada, Best came to Durham as a 250 pound tight end. He has switched positions twice since his arrival, first from TE to defensive line, then from DL to offensive line. He has also put on 75 pounds at last count and is up to 325. As one of the stronger Blue Devils, he should be able to push people around up front.

Darkhorse: Lavdrum Bauta – Bauta is a young, strong player, eager to win a spot. He has gained significant weight since his arrival at Duke and as a rising sophomore, will get his chance to contribute in 2004.


Graduating: Luke Bayer – Anytime a player starts for two seasons you will miss them. As the anchor of the 2003 offensive line, Bayer falls into this category. He was a solid combination of power and athleticism, and his game experience will be tough to replace.

Likely 2004 starter: Dan Mooney – As a 4th year player, Mooney has seen spot duty on the offensive line the past two seasons, so he is not stranger to the field. He has not had the pressure of a starting assignment, however, as Bayer didn't miss a start over the last two seasons. Still, Mooney will be a 5th year senior in 2004, so inexperience shouldn't be an issue.

Darkhorse: Tyler Krieg – Krieg can inject athleticism into a unit that has, in the previous few seasons, been more of a power blocking crew. That could allow for more angle and pull blocks from the middle, which could give the running game a new dimension. Lack of experience is the biggest concern with Krieg.

Right Guard:

Graduating: Rusty Wilson – Similar to Lewis, Wilson was a very large, pile-driving guard who was best at straight line blocking. He received the ACC offensive linemen of the week award after the Georgia Tech game, so he definitely could play.

Likely 2004 starter: Tyler Krieg - If Krieg is not played at center, he will most definitely end up at guard. His athleticism needs to be utilized somewhere on the offensive line.

Darkhorse: Chris Best – Best's size and strength will allow him to see the field this season, most likely at guard. If he doesn't start at left guard, he could very well start on the other side of the line.

Check back tomorrow for a look at the defense

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