Swezey: Duke no pushover

A friend who covers Air Force football was talking about the team's loss to San Diego State a couple weeks ago. The Aztecs looked flat from the outset and Air Force moved the ball down the field on its first two possessions. Yet the drives resulted in a missed field goal and an interception. It gave San Diego State confidence, and the Aztecs pulled off the upset.

Navy is in a similar boat against Duke. The Blue Devils are 0-8 and, after playing Navy, they finish with No. 16 Boston College, No. 19 Georgia Tech and a rivalry game against North Carolina. It is very obvious that Duke wants to avoid its fourth winless season in 11 years, and it is looking at the Navy game as its best chance to do that.

There is always the feeling that anytime a team has no wins and hasn't had much success, they will pack it in if you get on top of them early. To a certain extent I think this happened in the Stanford game. They looked completely dispirited after Navy's strong start.

Yet because this is Duke's best chance for a win, I don't think a fast start will put them away.

They have plenty of athletes. They guy who began the season as the starting quarterback was benched and is now a wide receiver. They have a running back who has played a few series at quarterback in each of the past four games. He hasnt attempted a pass yet, though I would imagine we may see him put the ball up on Saturday.

Duke is going to pull out all the stops. They are 0-8, but only the Richmond and Virginia losses were galling. The Blue Devils have been shutout three times, yet all three came early in the season. More recently, they nearly beat Miami (Fla.) and their running back, Boyle, scored three touchdowns in 3 minutes 20 seconds last week against Vanderbilt.

We will get a good look at Navy's future on Saturday. McGinn, a sophomore, is going to start at tackle for Meek; Kaipo and Bryant are getting their chance at quarterback a year earlier than expected.

And I imagine the coaches will try to get Kettani in the game. The past two games have been tough, since Rutgers and Notre Dame really ate up the inside and forced Navy to try and get its yards on the outside. Not the sort of game for Kettani to get his first real playing time.

Kaipo looked like he made the right decisions on the option most of the time against the Fighting Irish, though there was a play on the opening drive when he gave it to Ballard when it looked like Notre Dame had few defenders on the outside and the blocking slot back--I think Singleton--had gotten his defender to the ground.

But he will only get better; we will see on Saturday how much progress he has made. I think we also will see more of Bryant than we did against Notre Dame. The way that game unfolded, it was hard to find the right time to put him in.


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