Meet The Blue Devils

Next up for North Carolina is yet another team with the luxury of a bye week to prepare for the Tar Heels. Duke (1-9, 0-7 ACC) is in rebuilding mode, currently playing 14 true freshmen for the second consecutive year. Nothing would be finer for the Blue Devils than to bring the Victory Bell back to Durham on Saturday.


"Hard to believe it's the end of the season already. It's gone fast. It's come and gone. But glad we have a game left, and obviously it's a big ballgame for us. The thing will be for us to put 60 minutes together in all phases. And that's something that we haven't done this year, but that we need to do to have a chance to beat North Carolina."

"I've been really proud of this team to hang together through the rough times that we've had. As far as hanging together, I'm not worried about that. This team's done that. But, you know, we certainly used (the open week) to our advantage last week.

"UNC has depth and some athleticism up front. They've done a good job putting some pressure on the quarterback, and you certainly saw examples of that against Maryland. So they're doing a good job there, but this comes down to doing your assignment as hard as you can do it, and as well as you can do it. And it doesn't fall on any one particular group; it doesn't fall on just the offensive line; it falls also on the tight ends and the backs, because at times they're involved in the protection of our quarterback, and also the quarterback, to get rid of the football."

"I think we're going to be successful over the long haul, but you know when you're playing a rivalry game and it's the last game of the season; there's a momentum that it can give you going into the off-season, momentum going into the off-season program, momentum that carries you into recruiting. There's a lot of factors involved with that, and at the same time it's the next game. We want to win every game we're playing, but the last game leaves you with this taste, because for some guys it's the last game of their career. And like you said, it does have an impact with the momentum that you can possibly carry into the off-season."


At Clemson two weeks ago, Zack Asack (#13, 6-4, 190, Fr.) threw for a career-high 328 yards, completing 26-of-43 passes, in what was easily his best performance since taking over the starting position in Week Five versus Navy. He has 811 passing yards and five touchdowns so far this season and is looking to become just the third true freshman to lead the team since Steve Slayden (1984). Asack's father, Phil, a former fullback and linebacker, lettered three seasons at Duke (1968-70) before graduating and playing professionally with the San Diego Chargers. Although he's been demoted to backup, Mike Schneider (#7, 6-2, 215, Jr.) has seen quite of bit of action this season. In seven appearances this year, he's thrown for 343 yards and no touchdowns.


Justin Boyle (#20, 6-1, 225, So.) leads the Blue Devils ground attack with 412 yards on 124 carries (3.3 yards per attempt). He has eight rushing touchdowns – fourth-best in the ACC, and is second on the team behind Asack in total offense. His 113-yard outing against VMI earlier this year was his first 100-yard rushing game. UNC football recruiting enthusiasts may remember former Wilson Fike standout Re'quan Boyette (#21, 5-10, 190, Fr.), who was once considered the third-best running back prospect in the state by Boyette has played in eight games and is third on the team with 227 yards rushing. He's listed just ahead of the dangerous Ronnie Drummer (#40, 5-9, 175, So.), who has played in every game and averages 10.5 yards per rush. He has 305 yards on just 29 attempts, but three of his runs have been for over 50 yards. The starting fullback is Malcolm Ruff (#22, 6-0, 255, Sr.), who is rarely in for any other purpose other than to block.


In the loss on the road to the Tigers two weeks ago, Eron Riley (#15, 6-3, 185, Fr.) had a career-high 130 yards receiving, the second-highest single-game total for a true freshman in school history. Figuring out the yards per game average for Deon Adams (#9, 6-1, 190, Jr.) is simple, 10 games, 100 yards, 10.0 per game. Slotback Marcus Jones (#6, 6-3, 210, Fr.) has one of just five of Duke's touchdown receptions this season.


H-Back Ben Patrick (#8, 6-4, 270, Jr.), a John Mackey Award candidate, caught 10 passes versus Clemson for an even 100 yards. His 28 catches lead the Blue Devils. Veteran Andy Roland (#89, 6-4, 235, Sr.) has played in every game and is third on the team with 11 receptions.


Duke's abysmal won-loss record doesn't prove it, but right guard Tyler Krieg (#66, 6-4, 300, Jr.) and left tackle Lavdrim Bauta (#75, 6-5, 280, Jr.) "have had solid seasons," according to News & Observer columnist Caulton Tudor. With the emergence of Bauta, former starting tackle Jim Moravchik (#55, 6-6, 305, Sr.) has moved to left guard. He is the team's most experienced offensive lineman having played in 37 game during his tenure. Center Matt Rumsey (#68, 6-4, 280, So.) played as a true freshman and is an ACC Academic Honor Roll selection. Right tackle Demetrius Warrick (#79, 6-7, 300, Sr.) is playing offense this season for the first time since spending four previous seasons on the defense.


End Eli Nichols (#52, 6-4, 260, Jr.) leads all Duke linemen with 45 tackles, but that's just good enough for fifth on the team – a sure sign of a rebuilding defensive line. Nichols is easily the most productive of the group with seven tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries and a team best three sacks for minus-16 yards. He has also been named Academic All-District for the second consecutive season. Veteran Phillip Alexander (#48, 6-4, 265, Sr.) and Justin Kitchen (#41 6-4, 240, Sr.) will split time at the other end position. After suffering a season-ending leg injury against Connecticut in the second game of the season last year, Alexander decided to return this year for his final season of eligibility, although he has clearly not been as effective as in past campaigns. Tackle Casey Camero (#51, 6-5, 280, Jr.) has four tackles for loss and a sack to his credit, while the other starting interior lineman, Brian Sallee (#93, 6-4, 285, Jr.), has 3.5 and 1.0, respectively.


The majority of the statistical defense occurs here. Brendan Dewan (#30, 6-1, 205, Sr.) and DeAndre White (#29, 6-0, 210, Sr.) are separated at one starting position on the depth chart by the obligatory "OR" classification. Dewan has been a mainstay in the lineup since starting the season opener against ECU in 2002 and is Duke's second leading tackler with 65 stops and two sacks. His 8.5 tackles for loss is a team-high. Due to an injury to Codey Lowe, Michael Brown (#34, 5-11, 225, Fr.) has earned the starting nod in the middle in each of the past nine games. He leads the Blue Devils with 78 tackles. Jeramy Edwards (#25, 6-0, 215, Jr.) and Alex Williams (#43, 5-11, 210, Jr.) will platoon at the other linebacker position.


Duke sports information is campaigning one player for All-ACC consideration and its cornerback John Talley (#11, 5-11, 180, Jr.), who is tied for first in the ACC and tied for fourth in the NCAA with five interceptions. He is averaging an interception every two games. Talley, who was named second team all-conference last season, is tops among active ACC players and the most by a non-senior nationwide with 11 career picks. The other starting corner is Deonto McCormick (#10, 5-10, 190, Jr.), one of the most versatile players in the league. He returned to the secondary just recently after contributing as a wide receiver in the first nine games of the season. He caught 14 passes for 113 yards, including a season-best 40 yards versus Connecticut. Safety Brian Greene (#23, 6-1, 200, Sr.) is third on the team with 56 tackles, to go with his three tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions and one pass breakup. Safety Chris Davis (#27, 6-1, 195, So.), who also has two interceptions on the season.


Kicker Joe Surgan (#26, 6-4, 210, Fr.) waited until the fifth week of the season to attempt his first field goals of his college career, connecting on two of three attempts against the Midshipmen. His career-best is a 47-yarder he hit in the game with Florida State. Punter Chris Sprague (#49, 6-1, 205, Sr.) ranks fifth in the league with a 41.3 yards per punt average. The punt return specialist is Davis, who ranks eighth in the conference with 7.7 yard per punt return. Davis takes back kickoffs as well, along with Drummer who has a 100-yard return for a touchdown this season.

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