A Duke win would be a big boost to defensive coordinator Ted Roof, who is serving as interim head coach, but would like to have the permanent position next year. Roof, a former linebacker at Georgia Tech, took over for Carl Franks who was fired earlier this season. He is 5-8 versus the Tar Heels as a player and a coach.
Here's IC's weekly trip through the depth chart of UNC's next opponent.
Mike Schneider (6-3, 215, Fr.*), a former ACC Rookie of the Week, threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 52 yards in an earlier season win over Rice. He started six straight games before missing the N.C. State and Tennessee games due to injury. But Schneider has struggled to regain his early season form and completed just 3 of 9 passes for 79 yards, when he returned to action against Georgia Tech. He was even less effective last week at Clemson, giving way to backup Chris Dapolito (6-3, 215, Jr.), who threw for 54 yards on 5-of-11 passing. Each threw one interception in that game.
With 62 rushing yards at Clemson, tailback Chris Douglas (6-0, 190, Sr.) topped the 1,000-yard mark and became the Blue Devils' all-time leading rusher. He needs 225 all-purpose yards Saturday to surpass UNC's Leon Johnson as the ACC's career leader. Currently, Douglas is averaging 92.6 rushing yards per game, second-place behind league leader P. J. Daniels of Georgia Tech (103.4). Fullback Alex Wade (6-3, 215, Fr.) rushed for 138 yards on 25 carries in last year's game with UNC. The tandem of Wade and Douglas give the Blue Devils a potent one-two punch in their offensive backfield. Backup tailbackCedric Dargan (6-0, 200, So.) has three touchdowns and a 4.1 yards per carry average.
Tackle Drew Strojny (6-8, 300, Jr.) has started 42 consecutive games and is joined by center Luke Bayer (6-5, 290, Jr.), who has started 29 straight. Guard Daryl Lewis (6-3, 330, Jr.) is one of nine fifth-year seniors on the team. Guard Rusty Wilson (6-3, 330, Sr.) and tackle Christian Mitchell (6-7, 315, Jr.) are members of the ACC academic honor roll.
Duke has the luxury of having three quality tight ends to throw the football to in Ben Patrick (6-4, 250, Fr.), Andy Roland (6-4, 225, So.) and Calen Powell (6-5, 235, Jr.). The trio has combined on 37 catches for 538 yards and two touchdowns. In the win over the Yellow Jacktes, Patrick and Roland each had two receptions for 67 total yards, with Roland scoring on a 7-yard touchdown catch. Powell also caught a pass for 21 yards.
End Phillip Alexander (6-3, 235, Jr.), a converted outside linebacker, ranks among the ACC leaders in tackles for loss (17.0 per game) and is tied for third in sacks (6.0 per game). Tackle Matt Zielinski (6-2, 290, Jr.) recorded seven tackles at Clemson, and over the last six games he has 50 tackles – 11.5 for loss. Micah Harris (6-4, 240, Jr.) entered the season with the most sacks among returnees. Orrin Thompson (6-7, 285, Jr.) is excellent at obstructing opposing quarterbacks' passing lanes.
With ten pass breakups in 11 games, cornerback Kenneth Stanford (5-9, 180, Jr.) now has 28 for his career. He is also fifth on the team in tackles with 53, including three tackles for loss and an interception. Over his last 22 games dating back to the 2002 season, safety Terrell Smith (5-11, 180, Sr.) has totaled nine takeaways – three interceptions and six fumble recoveries. He is also the team leader in tackles this season with 133. Safety Alex Green (6-2, 190, Jr.) has two interceptions this season. Corner Brian Greene (6-1, 185, So.) recorded 44 tackles in just seven games last year as a rookie.
With one field goal versus Georgia Tech, kicker Brent Garber (6-1, 195, Sr.) remained in eighth place on Duke's career scoring chart with 159 points. He provided the winning points in Duke's OT win over the Owls, and three weeks ago he nailed a 54-yarder at Tennessee. However, Matt Brooks (6-1, 190, Jr.) might start. Punter Trey McDonald (6-2, 215, Jr.) averages 40.9 yards per punt, and has placed 13 kicks inside the opponents' 20-yard line this year. Landrum has emerged as one of the nation's top kickoff return specialists, and ranks second in the ACC and sixth in the country with a 28.5 yards per return. Against Florida State, he tallied a career-high 192 yards on five kickoff returns. Johnson has 5.5 yards per punt return, with a long of 24 yards.