Replacing the Seniors in 2004 Pt III

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.

Special Teams:

Long Snapper:

Graduating: Seth Carter - One of the most overlooked positions on the football team is long snapper. The reason Carter wasn't noticed is because he was doing his job well. Dependability is the key here. Not having quality long snapper can really put the kicking game at a severe disadvantage.

Likely 2004 starter: Tyler Krieg: Kreig would be an ideal long snapper, one who is good enough to snap, and big enough to act as a regular lineman. Despite what one might think, this combination is somewhat rare at any level of football. If he has the consistency, he will handle the long snapping chores.

Darkhorse: Mark Thompson – Thompson is a walk-on safety with the ability to long snap. Of course, your ideal player at this position would be big enough to block, but in college, the defensive linemen can't hit the snapper after the snap. That makes his limited size less of an issue, but on the line size still would help. Kicker:

Graduating: Brent Garber – Garber struggled with injuries during his Duke career, but had a great leg and made some really long field goals. He was also an asset on kickoffs as he could usually get the ball near or in the end-zone.

Likely 2004 starter: Alex Feinberg – Feinberg could be called Garber Jr., as both hail from the same high school in Thomasville, Georgia. Feinberg will have the task of improving the conversion rate on field goals. Garber had a great leg but was erratic. Nailing the 40-yarders will be crucial for Duke's success in 2004.

Darkhorse: Darkhorse: Matt Brooks - After splitting time with Garber in 2003, walk-on Matt Brooks will look to try and win the placekicking duties full-time in 2004. He does not have the leg strength of Garber or Feinberg for that matter. He is, however, fairly accurate inside the 40-yard line.

As an aside, he will most likely see time again as the "pooch" punter, this season. A role Brooks fills very well.


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