Depth Chart Notables: Week 5

With the slate of preseason games now in the books, the Blue Devils are ready to open up the 2009 ACC regular season. The first match up will easily be Duke's toughest test to date as the Virginia Tech Hokies come calling to Wallace Wade. TDD runs down the depth chart and injuries.

Injury Report: After missing the game against NC Central for what could be called "preventive maintenance", the Blue Devils are going to get a proverbial shot in the arm as starters Vince Oghobaase and Re'quan Boyette will be ready to go against the Hokies. Oghobaase hasn't played since the second game of the season and will have enjoyed nearly three weeks of rehab time on his leg.

Similarly, Duke will get backup running back Jay Hollingsworth and OG Mitchell Lederman back after both were inactive for the Central game.

The news wasn't all good, however, as the coaches list started right tackle Jarrod Holt as questionable after he suffered a concussion. Given that Duke has used just six players with any regularity on the offensive line so far this season, the potential absence of Holt - especially against Virginia Tech's pass rush - is a concern. Thus the importance of the two running backs returning to action. Having veteran backs who understand the blocking scheme will be key.

Other potentially bad news came when star freshman tailback Desmond Scott, who rushed for 100 yards in his collegiate debut, was listed as questionable with a leg injury. Classmate and one of Duke's steadiest receivers, Tyree Watkins will not play due to a leg injury.

Depth Chart Shakeups:

  • The official depth chart doesn't list Boyette as being available for this game. Instead it has Jay Hollingsworth as the starting tailback with Desmond Scott as the backup. Redshirt freshman Patrick Kurunwune is listed as the second backup to Hollingsworth after his strong performances against Kansas and Central.
  • Freshman Conner Vernon, sophomore Johnny Williams, and sophomore Donovan Varner are listed as the three starting wideouts. Fourth year junior Sheldon Bell has moved up to the top backup role while Josh Trezvant is the second backup.
  • The offensive line has been shaken up again with the return of Lederman and the potential loss of Holt. Lederman appears to have lost his starting spot at left guard to Brandon Harper while Holt's status will determine if third year sophomore Jon Needham will get the call at right tackle.
  • The starting defensive line returns with Oghobaase's clearance to play, though freshman John Drew and reserve tackle Kinney Rucker are both likely to see a high number of snaps.
  • After starting the season with the two potentially starting backs (Boyette and Hollingsworth) handling kick off duties, Duke has abandoned that strategy and will, instead, tag Johnny Williams and Desmond Scott to return kicks. Williams will also handle the punt return duties, backed up by reserve safety Walt Canty.

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